Situation and Challenges
Tullow Oil PLC is one of Europe’s largest independent oil- and gas-exploration companies, with licenses and operations in 22 countries on 4 continents. Headquartered in London, Tullow employs around 800 people worldwide. With operations scattered in so many time zones and remote locations, Tullow found it difficult to exchange large and crucial files among its offices and its partners in the oil-exploration business. Exploration teams needed to send complex geological maps to colleagues. Engineering projects required the sharing of large CAD files. Geologists and geophysicists looking for oil and gas needed to receive data files for their exploration applications.
The company typically sent these very large files—sometimes consuming hundreds of megabytes and so impossible to send by e-mail—by burning them onto CDs or DVDs and shipping them by courier. In Africa, however, some couriers picked up and delivered only once a week; thus a file sent for review by Tullow’s African offices and then returned with comments or additional information might require as much as two weeks to be completed. When a geologist in Cape Town and one in London wanted to look at the same file to make a determination on pursuing a drilling project, courier delays could become a significant barrier.
Tullow also used an FTP site, which it managed internally. FTP was also difficult for many of Tullow’s business partners to use, not least because each user needed to be assigned a unique ID and password by Tullow’s IT department. This inevitably created delays in file delivery until user access was set up.
To circumvent the FTP site, employees sent files as e-mail attachments, but those bogged down the servers. Available bandwidth and storage were consumed by attachments. “Sending large files via e-mail could slow our network down” said Business Systems Project Manager Sarah-Jane Dodd. Some files were simply too large for any realistic e-mail system to manage.
A project team at the company’s London office came together to try to find a solution that would resolve these issues. “We wanted something simple to use, secure, and easy to deploy,” recalled Dodd.
The project team reviewed the Web sites of several solution providers and found that YouSendIt offered exactly the features the company was looking for. It was easy to use and far less complex than the FTP system. YouSendIt for Business also was easy to roll out to employees, secure, and able to eliminate heavy e-mail attachments. It provided a highly reliable way to centralize file delivery, rather than rely on a combination of FTP and e-mail. In addition, a number of people at Tullow had previously registered for personal YouSendIt for Business accounts and gave it high marks.
“Because of Tullow’s many locations, YouSendIt for Business’s offering was exactly what our user community required,” said Tullow Oil Chief Information Officer Andrew Marks. “Plus, to have the ability to secure and track the data coming in and out of our offices and to avoid new infrastructure investment and associated operating costs was very compelling.”
Tullow adopted YouSendIt for Business for a trial period and then rolled it out to IT administrators at Tullow offices in eight countries for another trial period to gain their feedback. They all found YouSendIt for Business to be easy to use and were soon assigned accounts as regional administrators. Anyone needing YouSendIt for Business for their work simply requested it from their local IT Service Desk. Adoption was backed by an internal marketing campaign that included a flyer and e-mail message. Employees were eager from the start to add YouSendIt for Business to their desktops and their workflow. “We didn’t have to push it,” Dodd said. “It evolved through word of mouth. In a six-month period, the number of employees using YouSendIt for Business leaped to 200 from an initial 17.” The company has now deployed YouSendIt for Business as part of its normal workflow.
Why YouSendIt for Business
Simplicity of use and speedy delivery were top considerations for Tullow Oil’s team when it searched for a digital file solution, and YouSendIt for Business met these criteria perfectly. “The benefits of the speed are important to us,” said Dodd. “For example, I’ve used YouSendIt for Business to send graphics files as part of a design project and, without YouSendIt for Business, would have had to deliver them on DVD and wait days for our partners to review and return them. Some of these files are several hundred megabytes in size, but we can deliver them in just minutes with YouSendIt for Business.”
YouSendIt for Business also was easy for Tullow to deploy. The company began relying on YouSendIt for Business for sending and receiving files at locations in the United States, the U.K., the Netherlands, Ireland, Ghana, Uganda, Gabon, South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Singapore. It was quickly adopted by Tullow’s teams assigned to exploration, engineering, production, investor relations, and IT. As a result, YouSendIt for Business was able to transform digital file delivery on a global, interdepartmental scale for Tullow Oil.
Dodd also liked the security and tracking features that YouSendIt for Business offers, including its ability to enable files to expire after a certain period of time on YouSendIt for Business’s servers. “As a security feature, everything is set to expire after two weeks as a standard policy, so we don’t need to worry about long-term storage of those files or manage them after they are downloaded,” she noted.
YouSendIt for Business has also improved the visibility of file delivery. Tullow uses YouSendIt for Business’s tracking capabilities on some documents to ensure that partner companies received them and can also deploy additional security through password-protected delivery of legal documents, for example, when necessary.Today, Tullow Oil uses YouSendIt for Business for a great variety of tasks:
- Senior management teams in multiple locations securely share presentations, which can each amount to 100 megabytes, to view maps, extracts from seismic lines, and geological models for decision-making meetings.
- Exploration teams can easily and quickly share geological maps internally.
- CAD files for engineering projects can be expedited safely and quickly via YouSendIt for Business. The company sends image files to designers and printers for such publications as its annual report.
- Engineering teams working collaboratively in different locations and among a variety of contractors and subcontractors can share information quickly, efficiently, and securely.
- IT software-related files can be shared more easily with teams across the world.
- Easier and faster file delivery. Employees, clients, and partners do not need to wait days to receive or deliver data. Information sent via YouSendIt for Business can be uploaded in seconds and downloaded just as rapidly, without the delays involved with burning discs and couriering them to far corners of the Earth. “If Tullow Oil geologists in different countries want to look at one of the very large files we commonly generate with data from oil-exploration activities, it’s actually quicker to use YouSendIt for Business than our internal network,” Dodd said.
- Broad internal adoption because of YouSendIt for Business’s easy deployment. With 6 Tullow departments in 11 countries incorporating YouSendIt for Business into their daily workflow, YouSendIt for Business’s uncomplicated deployment has enabled the company to gain rapid adoption of an easy-to-use digital file delivery solution, accelerating the company’s processes and producing improved efficiencies.
- Time savings. Instead of waiting for days or even weeks to send and receive comments on files by courier, the exchange of graphics, maps, data, and other files with partners and colleagues around the world can be carried out in minutes.
- Reduced load on e-mail servers. The IT burden of e-mail attachments has been relieved, because attachments are offloaded to YouSendIt for Business’s servers. The storage capacity of Tullow’s servers has been freed up as a result.
- Secure file delivery. Tullow Oil no longer needs to use its cumbersome FTP system, which was costly to maintain and operate and did not provide the efficient service required. YouSendIt for Business’s encryption of files before, during, and after delivery on its servers provides security for legal documents, and the file-expiration feature significantly reduces the company’s exposure to any potential unauthorized access to files. “At one time, we required file recipients to sign a transmittal for certain legal information,” Dodd said. “Now that tracking can be undertaken automatically.”
- Improved accuracy. Employees receive the latest versions of documents easily and rapidly. As a result, the company is more assured that all its personnel are working with the most current version of data and documents, reducing errors and the number of revisions that would be required when working with multiple versions of documents.