The platform will layer Schlumberger’s suite of apps, called DELFI, onto IBM technology to provide digital tools to oil and gas companies — which rely heavily on computing-heavy processes like surveying a drilling site. The software could, for example, help determine if the soil and landscape in a certain area are good for drilling, or which angle is the best to drill to access the most oil over time.
“Digital has become an imperative for our industry,” Schlumberger CEO Olivier Le Peuch told CNN Business. “The whole industry recognizes that this is what can unlock the next level of efficiency, productivity and performance.”
“We think that a hybrid approach unlocks a lot more value for our clients than a regular approach on only one [cloud],” IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, the former head of IBM’s cloud business who brokered the Red Hat deal, told CNN Business.
Hybrid cloud capabilities are key to the Schlumberger partnership, which builds on the company’s existing cloud-based software platform that includes built-in capabilities such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.
Schlumberger’s DELFI platform had gained traction, but the sticking point was that it had been available only to companies using certain cloud providers. That’s a challenge in the oil and gas industry, because regulations often dictate how data must be stored — making it necessary to rely on local cloud services or traditional data centers rather than major cloud providers.
By moving the tools onto IBM’s hybrid-cloud platform, Schlumberger’s software will now be available to any oil and gas company globally, regardless of how they store their data.
“It allows this platform to be deployed on all these infrastructures and so it really opens up the market … for us combined,” Krishna said.
“To be more efficient is the highest driver of future footprint reduction for the industry,” Le Peuch said.
Investing in hybrid cloud partnerships
The Schlumberger deal is one of what IBM hopes will be many such partnerships, with specific plans to target key industries such as banking and manufacturing that have been slow to adopt cloud computing.
That strategy will allow IBM to provide services to the big players in various industries, even though as an enterprise company IBM doesn’t work with end users, Krishna said: “Partnering with Schlumberger allows us to service the hybrid-cloud needs of all the oil majors.”
“Big companies have lots of different technologies they want to run in the cloud, but they don’t want to run it all in one cloud. No company wants to put all their eggs in one basket,” said Ted Schadler, analyst with Forrester. “You need a way to bridge across all those clouds.”