The NAM (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij), headquartered in Assen, the Netherlands, is an oil and natural gas exploration and production company. The company, half owned by Shell and half by ExxonMobil operates on the Dutch mainland and the Dutch continental shelf. In their industry, the NAM is seen as a front runner in the transformation towards a data-driven company. Applying knowledge and experience in digitalization and advanced analytics to its current and future business is regarded as a major driver for continuous success. Digitalization is seen as a key factor in supporting the NAM’s ambition of becoming a net-zero emissions energy business. To ensure the wide-spread adoption of data driven principals, the NAM partnered with The Analytics Academy (TAA) to expand and improve the mindset, skillset, and toolset for advanced analytics in all layers of the NAM’s organization.
The NAM and The Analytics Academy (TAA, a joint venture between ORTEC and the University of Amsterdam), co-designed a one-year Data Capability Building Program to grow and sustain knowledge at each stage of the NAM’s data driven transformation. To set a baseline, participants completed the ‘TAA capability scan’ to identify capability gaps and tailor the curriculum. The program was based on TAA’s best practices and was aimed at a core group of data scientists, analytics translators, and higher management. Technical topics included Python programming, data analysis, visualization, optimization, predictive analytics, database building, and cloud computing. In order to ensure that these technical subjects create value, a strong emphasis was put on the business aspect: how to find the real business questions that create value, how to run a successful data science project, and how to effectively communicate your findings to stakeholders. To apply these learnings, throughout the program, participants developed 15+ (proofs-of-concept) Data Science projects while being coached by TAA professionals. The program was carried out right from the hands-on data scientists to board-level management where the executive bootcamp ensured understanding, alignment and support for data driven improvements.
“Digitalization is key in order to be
competitive in the market,
and this program was a perfect
fit for our ambitions”.
Managing Director NAM
Midway through the program a national quarantine was invoked due to COVID-19. Within a few weeks the entire program was transformed to be held remotely, including on-the-job-coaching and community building activities. The classroom courses were held via Teams and participants received a parcel at home containing objects which enabled them to still do all the (interactive) exercises during the course. Full-day online sessions quickly proved to be ‘too much’ for the participants and lecturers, but quick planning changes allowed for twice as many half-day sessions to ensure focus and quality.
To make data capability building effective, it is vital to put newly acquired skills and tools into practice. During the program, hands-on data scientists were coached on a regular basis while going through new ‘real life’ projects. These projects ran from finding a business question to be solved to delivering a proof-of-concept on NAM’s business and data, taking the new capabilities ‘out of the classroom’. Several of these projects have continued after the program and are currently being embedded in NAM’s operation.
“ORTEC really helped us by shaping their curriculum to our needs, spending the time to set up the program and interviewing the participants. ORTEC was flexible and creative in making the adjustments that where necessary to make the program even better along the way. The quality standard was very high. A broad range of trainers, each having their own area of expertise, made the program very interesting to follow. The combination of community building and the availability of an on-the-job coach for proof-of-concept support led to great success. I look back to a successful program, and I know for sure the participants feel the same way!”
Technology Manager NAM
In a large organization like NAM, it is important to create a data science community for internal support, knowledge sharing and continuous learning. During the course of the program an activity was organized every two months in order for the participants to get to know other data science professionals and share knowledge. A data science pubquiz was held were participants were competing in small groups to show off their newly acquired knowledge. To involve the broader company in the program, an Analytics Market was organized were participants presented the results of their projects to those interested.
There is a clear alignment between the Data Capability Building Program and the ambitions and goals of NAM. A large group of participants worked hard to improve their skills and knowhow to make a positive impact on their daily business using data analytics and provide a fertile environment for data driven improvements in the future.