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Business software could play an increasingly important role in addressing the oil and gas industry’s growing skills shortage.

The deployment of new software systems that capture in detail a company’s experience and expertise across the entire organisation can go a long way towards offsetting the North Sea’s long-standing skills deficit.

That’s the view of Ian Mechie, Managing Director of Aberdeen-based software consultancy Absoft. He says the concept of working smarter is key to combating some of the people-related challenges which threaten to compromise the industry’s ability to maximise its potential.

“There are many initiatives under way to resolve the issue of skills shortages in key industry disciplines, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that individual companies can gain substantial benefits from reviewing their internal processes and finding ways to better leverage the skills they already have – now and into the future,” he says.

“It’s all about using technology to track and record the skills and capabilities of every individual in an organisation.  Many energy-related businesses operate on a global basis, and consequently may use a number of different systems to manage their human capital management (HCM) requirements.

“To deploy one global, integrated HCM system – with functionality at its core to optimise competency development and management – is to possess a single source of information on the capabilities available across an entire organisation and have the tools to ensure these are deployed to maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

“It means that training and development requirements – whether for specific short term projects or to meet more strategic goals – can be addressed quickly and effectively, and that people with the right skills set can be deployed where they are most needed.

“In a hugely complex industry, companies that have still to embrace these kinds of opportunities may simply not be making the best of their resources. We’ve developed a range of HCM and Competency solutions because, in a very competitive sector, this kind of new approach can offer a valuable competitive edge.”

Absoft, one of the largest and longest-established SAP consultancies in the UK, has in recent months introduced to the market Advantage HCM for Oil and Gas and Advantage Competency for Oil and Gas, both designed to help industry players shape and implement effective HCM and Competency strategies.

Ian Mechie adds: “There’s no doubt that there is a need to bring new people into the industry to sustain it in the long-term, but first and foremost companies need to make sure they’re maximising the potential of their existing talent pool.”

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Colleagues at work at Absoft SAP Consultancy