DENVER — Sept. 23, 2008 — Helping one of the nation’s leading energy companies meet the challenges of rapid growth while boosting worker productivity, workflow and collaboration, Microsoft Corp. today announced that Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. has deployed an extensible and scalable enterprise solution based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 across its entire enterprise. The new solution integrates the company’s intranet, extranet and Internet presence and, through its extensibility, streamlines collaboration across project teams — including teams with remote employees — creating a foundation for business intelligence applications, stronger content management and consistent communications with external stakeholders.
Chesapeake is the largest producer of natural gas in the United States. It is also the most active driller, with a daily production volume of 2.3 billion cubic feet. Between 2005 and 2008, the company experienced rapid growth, adding up to 100 new employees per month. Keeping up with such growth requires IT flexibility, and the company’s legacy intranet was proving to be cumbersome to maintain, update and extend. This led to delays in updating the site and users became less invested in the content.
Because Chesapeake already relied extensively on Microsoft technologies, executives felt that Office SharePoint Server would interoperate smoothly into its existing IT infrastructure. Working closely with the Microsoft account team and Microsoft Services, Chesapeake developed and deployed the SharePoint Server-based solution across the enterprise in less than three months. Since its implementation, the solution continues to deliver solid benefits to Chesapeake in areas ranging from enterprise search to collaboration and from business intelligence to enterprise content management.
According to Lori Garcia, manager of IT business systems at Chesapeake, one reason for the hearty welcome that users have given the new solution is its ease of adoption.
“Managers say it has been easy to instruct users on how to find information through the new solution,” Garcia said. “As a result, training usually takes no longer than a single afternoon.”
The solution runs on a server farm consisting of two front-end Web servers, an index server, a search server and a database server running a 64-bit version of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 database software along with Office SharePoint Server 2007. By using the Microsoft .NET Framework for custom development, the Chesapeake IT team has found it easy to deploy custom code and integrate the intranet with other Microsoft applications and technologies.
One application deployed on SharePoint Server specifically helps with collaboration across project teams. Another implementation uses SharePoint sites to provide workspaces that give employees a more efficient collaboration environment than having to depend on file shares and e-mail. And with the document version control in Office SharePoint Server 2007, employees can collaborate on document development without having to send dozens of e-mail messages or worry about versioning problems. This benefit is especially valuable to Chesapeake because so many of its employees are situated at remote wells and work sites with limited connectivity.
“Comprehensive information access is essential in the oil-and-gas production environment, which is awash in information from diverse sources and reliant on employees often working in very remote locations such as field offices and rig sites,” said Wade Brawley, vice president of land administration at Chesapeake. “Now, through SharePoint sites, field-based employees can access the same information, with the same ease, as employees working at corporate headquarters. This is a real productivity booster.”
Employees seeking new content also find their task easier. Instead of having to filter an entire page to determine which content is new and which is not, they can use views and alerts to be notified when new information is published. What’s more, because content is so easy to post and update in a security-enhanced, centralized location, employees have more confidence in the reliability of information: that it is there, that it is fresh, that it is consistent and that it is accessible to people with the appropriate permissions by role. For example, sensitive human resources information is available only to people with the appropriate credentials. In contrast, the previous intranet made it exceedingly difficult to restrict confidential documents from nonsenior audiences.
“Oil and gas companies are continuing to embrace new technologies as they struggle with fractured ecosystems, processes and workflows that often hinder or delay company collaboration and productivity,” said Craig Hodges, U.S. energy industry solutions director at Microsoft. “SharePoint Server is the right solution to improve multiparty collaboration for Chesapeake and can make business processes work more seamlessly across the entire oil and gas supply chain. This enables the company to stay competitive and manage continued growth.”
The Chesapeake intranet solution based on SharePoint Server will be showcased in Microsoft’s exhibit booth (No. 755) at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) 2008, Sept. 21–24, 2008. More information about Microsoft in Oil and Gas is available at http://www.microsoft.com/oilandgas.
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