Saudi Aramco readjusts strategic focus with two new partnerships
Saudi Aramco has committed to two major deals over the past week which will see the company diversify its operations and increasingly look to take advantage of industrial IoT as part of a new strategic focus.
The company is adjusting its priorities to fall in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 which aims to reduce the country’s reliance on oil in the form of a new added value roadmap partnership with Schlumberger and an agreement to work with US tech giant Honeywell to make the most of other opportunities for development in the country.
A memorandum of understanding has been agreed with Schlumberger to develop an In-Kingdom Total Value Add roadmap, which will lead to the creation of jobs and developments in a number of sectors throughout Saudi Arabia.
The roadmap will also see an increased usage of Schlumberger technology which will increase local capacity and deployment capabilities as well as reducing delivery times.
Paal Kibsgaard, Chairman and CEO of Schlumberger, said: “For more than 75 years, Schlumberger has supported Saudi Aramco and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas industry through an unwavering commitment to train and develop Saudi talent, and through a comprehensive portfolio of technologies, execution of integrated projects, and world-class research collaboration."
The other deal has seen the oil producer agree to work with Honeywell to use the tech giant's cloud-based services and predictive analytics to increase the reliability of Saudi Aramco’s operations as well as increasing yield and throughput.
Utilising Honeywell's Connected Plant solution (HCP) will allow Saudi Aramco to maximise how to capitalize on introducing industrial IoT technologies and, according to Saudi Aramco CEO Amin H. Nasser, this demonstrates the company’s main strategic objective which is to partner with IT and technology leaders who can add value to not just the company but the country as a whole.
He told Trade Arabia: "Having worked closely with Honeywell for the past six decades, we have established a unique professional relationship based on mutual trust, common goals, and shared commitment to our industries – a reflection of the strong relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US.
"This agreement represents a new platform to further enhance these efforts, and I look forward to this exciting chapter as we continue to leverage decades of global and regional experience in the sector.”
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”