Press release

12 Jul. 2022 Calgary, CA

Canadian energy and resource companies must overcome data leadership gap to remain competitive

New report finds hiring a Chief Data Officer is critical to achieve faster, smarter decision-making

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Victoria McQueen

EY Canada Team Lead, Public Relations

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New report finds hiring a Chief Data Officer is critical to achieve faster, smarter decision-making 

As data becomes the fuel for economic development, and with global data creation expected to reach 175 zettabytes by 2025, Canada’s energy and natural resource (ENR) companies must reengineer their data strategies and look critically at their leadership teams to remain competitive, according to a new EY data and energy industry report.

“The ENR sector faces significant challenges — the biggest being the gradual decrease in non-renewable energy usage expected over the next few decades,“ explains Lance Mortlock, EY Canada Energy Leader. “Canada’s growing focus on energy efficiency, the electrification of the transportation sector and carbon pricing policies will add even more complexity. These trends combined with the volatility in today’s energy and commodity markets means ENR organizations must make faster and more intelligent business decisions. This will require a more sharpened focus on data-driven capabilities.”

The EY report lists hiring a Chief Data Officer (CDO) as one of the most effective steps companies can take to determine how data will be used and governed throughout the organization. The role of the CDO has become more prevalent in recent years, with 65% of data-intensive organizations confirming they had a CDO in 2021 — up 53% from 2012. With the right data strategy in place, led by a CDO who understands the energy and resource sector, Canada’s ENR companies will be better positioned to overcome the many structural and market obstacles they face. 

Oil and gas companies generate significant volumes of data, but that information is commonly stored across a wide array of digital and manual systems. Since workers in this sector tend to operate in silos, data remains isolated and is often not used to its full potential. CDOs can help organizations in the energy sector unify and integrate data to empower more insightful analysis and decision-making.

Utilities find it increasingly difficult to predict electricity usage. The mandate to serve millions of customers with varying needs, the growing number of extreme weather events and the rise of “prosumers” creating their own solar energy for the grid, are only adding to the complexity. Technologies that show real-time consumption data, overseen by CDOs who can filter that information through data analytics, will be crucial to helping utilities anticipate uncertain demand.

Mining and metals companies face growing pressure to develop greener products, improve worker safety through better reporting, and achieve environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency while also simultaneously reducing operating costs. CDOs are needed to help make these transformational changes feasible while driving long-term business success.

“The right CDO is foundational for building any transformative digital and data-driven initiatives. But they can only succeed when they’re given the tools and mandate they require,” shares Mortlock. “CDOs must be viewed as key members of the C-suite, given freedom to be entrepreneurial and empowered to make executive decisions. This may require a significant culture change, but it’s one that will help ENR companies succeed in a volatile global environment.”

Read the full A new era of leadership in energy and resources: the DNA of the CDO report for more insights into how Canada’s ENR sector can leverage data to become even more competitive on the global stage.

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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP.