1.     Abstract

The Information Technology Processes are used in Saudi Aramco at different level to process and organize the organizations in an efficient manner with the implementation of strategic planning. IT processes helps at different levels of development and management of Saudi Aramce.  A framework is designed and implemented to make this organization more beneficial and competitive. This paper describes information technology strategy in detail; discuss all aspects of organization’s operation, benefits, and effects on organization in depth. The strategic planning is implemented in different levels of organization structure and delivering day to day services and activities. The paper will discuss information technology performance at each level of process management such as strategic, tactical, and operational to ensure Saudi Aramco’s IT effectively and efficiently achieves their business objectives. The paper will focus on the business and IT processes in issues that are related to services level planning and management, technical support, IT customer care center, and security. Also, since the company attacked by a virus in August 2012, this paper explains in depth what is the role of IT process in this problem and what do we have to change in order to avoid it.

2.     Background

In 1930s importance of Gulf regions oil increases suddenly and finding started in Persia, Iraq and Bahrain. A concession agreement was signed for searching oil in Saudi Arabia and after this agreement, the Standard Oil Company in California started work for exploring the vast concession, placing the men and materials to establish a presence in United Kingdom. Another oil concession agreement was signed on May 29, 1933 between Saudi Arabia and Standard Oil Company of California. To manage this concession, a subsidiary company was created named as California Arabian Standard Oil Company. The structural contour map of Dammam Dome i.e. the first oil field location that was discovered in Saudi Arabia completed by Schuyler B. “Krug” Henry and J.W. “Soak” Hoover in 1934. In the start, the American geologists were depends on Bedouins for taking guide from one place to another and most prominent guide was Khamis ibn Rimthan from the Ujman tribe. In Jubail in 1934, a Fairchild 71 was arrived that was specially modified for long distance flying and aerial surveys. It extremely reduces the time that was necessary to map the concession area sized as a combined area of Louisana and Texas. The pilot as well as geologist was very helpful to map the bulk of concession in 1934 to 1935. Max Steineke crosses the Saudi Arabian peninsula in 1937 who becomes company’s chief geological in 1936. He and his partners also recognize surface features which help in discovering major oil fields including Ghawar, Abqaiq and Qatif. In May 1939, the King Abd al-Aziz arrives to Ras Tanura in a ceremony for first export of crude oil from Saudi Arabia which loaded onto the D. G. Scofield. In November 2000, company scientists get their own home, Research and Development Center in Dharhran which heads the development of cutting edged surface technologies. Saudi Aramco developed digital display wall in operation coordination center which is the largest in petroleum industry to monitor day to day activities of the plants.

3.     Organizational Strategy

The company comprises joint refining schemes with different companies in home and as well as in abroad. It executed different mega projects with the help of government and revolves around different major strengths processes. Since 1990s Saudi Aramco adopted various efficient strategies to build operational and Professional Corporation.

Figure 1 Organizational Structure

 

3.1.          Corporate Strategy

The company’s extensive idea is to ensure the energy safety and supremacy of Saudi Arabia around the world in petroleum market. Its basic mission is also to ensure the security of Saudi Arabian domestic market and also maintaining Saudi Arabia’s stronghold around global oil price. The company vision is to stay as world leader in petroleum based energy production with the help of investment in innovation and entrepreneurship, increasing educational opportunities, increasing environmental awareness, powering economic progress, and working in partnership for energy sustainability.

3.2.          Business Strategy

In this process, the main aim is to expand organization’s capacity and global reach. It has a complete control on organization’s suppliers which help with complete focus on downstream operations. The Saudi Aramco’s following three different strategies in order to operate it.

Figure 2 Strategic Process

  • Profit Maximization or Competition: Saudi Aramco is an extremely profit oriented organization that can be proved by its revenues and also by net profits. The company has its resources and authoritative backing which restrict its international competition in the domestic market.
  • Resource Based: the main strategy of Saudi Aramco is resource based because of the richest oil fields in the world that is hold by the company which became the main reason of its success for decades. It was prosperous to be in oil rich region and strategy is to completely depend on maintaining hold over its huge resources, maintenance of excess production capacity and dictating price levels around the world market.
  • Socio Cultural: Saudi Aramco is socio cultural oriented because of being state owned farm. It has Arab identity and a formidable player in market of Middle East. It is considered as a strategic component of Saudi Government instead of a profit seeking firm.
  • Game Based: Saudi Aramco did not make any effort in game theory, although it provides exciting insights into strategic choices.

3.3.          Emergent Strategy

Emergent strategy composed of four basic types such as survival              , uncertainty, innovation and human resources that can be shown as under:

Figure 3 Emergent Strategy

  • Survival: Saudi Aramco based on a strict competitive strategy that established on profit maximization and keeping ahead of the competition. These approaches are necessary for the survival. Saudi Aramco also able to build efficient capabilities over supply chain for the survival of competition.
  • Uncertainty: Oil industry has uncertainty as a part of it because of the political nature of this business and political affiliations. On oil industry, economic conditions of world also have their significant impact but Saudi Aramco did not ready to face and cope with these uncertainties of surrounding environment. If company is fully owned by the state and designated its welfare for the survival of the government.
  • Innovation: Saudi Aramco following traditional techniques for performing things and did not have space for innovation in products and services. As innovation is a key point in success for any organization and an important aid for future planning. Newly the leaders employed Research and Development facilities for creating change in the organizational processes.
  • Human Resource: Saudi Aramco has not taking proper steps for facilitating human resource to date. The company should made necessary effective investment in human resource management for sustain and innovate the market as well as for building successful organizational culture.

4.     Problems/Opportunities

4.1.          SWOT Analysis

Saudi Aramco is one of the world’s largest oil reserves and has inherited technological expertise from Arabian American Oil Company. It is enjoying lot of advantages such as low cost production oil reserves, a well-organized and decision making system, advance technological knowledge, and highly motivated system. SWOT analysis includes Saudi Aramco’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threads such as

4.1.1.     Strengths

  • Always performing Continuous improvement
  • Business Perception of IT Values
  • Understanding of IT in business
  • Innovative and deployment of latest technology

The cost of oil production in Saudi Arabia is low as compared to the other oil production countries around the world. The major reason for low cast is that large amount of Saudi Arabian oil fields are free flowing from reservoir pressure which did not require any pump to get oil from the ground. Saudi Aramco is a fully state owned entity but also under strong national control as well as instrument of the government. The government has the right to decide about the country’s OPEC policy, oil production level and capacity target and also for domestic petroleum product prices. The Saudi Aramco can make decisions regarding company’s expenditures, investments, and other operational issues. The reason of this good relationship is Saudi Aramco’s expertise in oil and gas business and excellent performance in the past years. Saudi Aramco met all the demands and targets that were set by the government so, state has strong trust on company capabilities and performances.

§  Weaknesses  Infrastructure Inflexibility

  • Locus of Power
  • Not balanced metrics

The sour (high-sulfur) grade crude is one of the weakness of this company. Saudi Aramco provides five grades of crude oil, and sour is the most categorized grade of them. The grade of crude oils has sulfur component greater than one percent. The sour crude oil grade is sold with lower cost as compare to the oil with low sulfur components as compare to sour crude oil. Globally there is less demand of such kind of crude oil according to the trends of tightening petroleum product specifications. Depending on single commodity that is crude oil is also a weakness of Saudi Aramco as it is dominant in company’s export portfolio.

Figure 4 Saudi Aramco Export Portfolio

4.1.2.     Opportunities

  • High crude oil prices and sufficient investment capital
  • Strong oil demand growth, especially in Asia
  • Saudi Arabia’s accession to WTO

A forecast taken by International Energy Agency is the world oil demand growth rate is increasing with the passage of time. It is also approved that the oil will be the most important and largest energy source. These facts improve the opportunities of Saudi Aramco in future that will be brighter as compare to today’s status.

4.1.3.     Threats

  • Rising domestic gas demand growth and potential gas supply crunch
  • Potential slowdown of world oil demand growth caused by the recent high oil price

There is no such threat to Saudi Aramco to its current status but the demand of domestic gas may lead to potential gas supply storage. Saudi Aramco is an only entity in charge of securing and also provides natural gas for domestic users. State energy firm also wants to improve gas supply capacity.

5.     Information Technology Strategies

Today, latest and sophisticated technology became the most important part of any type of organization. Modern oil exploration, production, and utilization companies also require developing and employing such technologies worldwide. Latest technologies play a vital role for operating and managing day to day activities of an organization easily and effectively. Saudi Aramco is considered as a leader in order to utilize and deploy technologies in an effective and efficient manner which maximizes the extraction and usage of oil and gas. Saudi Aramco continuing information technology strategies and processes in different scenarios. The company is using strategic approach in each its implemented and deployed information technology process and maintaining them efficiently.

Figure 5 IT Structure

 

5.1.          Computing Capacity

The computing capacity in the company is increasing with high average during the last decade and accessing its upper limit in days. The seismic processing environment in the EXPEC Computer Center is also growing on its side. The Saudi Aramco completed the largest disk installation and seismic data migration in the history and increases its computing capacity with 47 % and storage with 46 % that is a big achievement of this company.

5.2.          Intelligent Engineering Drawings Software Program

Saudi Aramco has a huge amount of its engineering designs which represents the logical and physical designs of its facilities i.e. approximately there are 4 million engineering drawings. These drawings are basic tools for engineers in order to perform daily engineering operations at plants. The designs describe the basic logic and physical design of facilities that were using within a plant. In order to manage this huge amount of data, the Saudi Aramco is going to implement Intelligent Engineering Drawings software program. This software program will transform these massive file based graphical data into information which will store in database. This implementation will manage the huge amount of data and also make it easy to access and use it for daily transections. Information technology processes are playing major role in such activities to facilitate the user and intelligent engineering drawings program is an example of it.

5.3.          POWERS Software

Saudi Aramco POWERS i.e. Parallel Oil, Water and Gas Reservoir Simulator software is utilizing hundreds of computers which are running in parallel to create reservoir models. These parallel processors are computing computations on same time in parallel which reduces time from few days to few hours. Parallel processing is growing very fast because of the advantage of time reduction from days to hours. This software is also processing in parallel manner in order to create reservoir models which are then evaluated and selected to implement for the development. Parallel processing is getting high demand with today’s technologies because of its huge advantages on processing. It reduces time and cost in an efficient manner such as time reduces to hours and resources also managed in efficient manner. Parallel systems also manage less loss in any damage or failure; it requires changing or correcting the specific process which was affected. This technology is playing important role in managing resources efficiently and effectively.

5.4.          Very Small Aperture Terminals

These are specialized satellite systems that are used for communication activities which are require at remote locations of exploration, drilling, and marine activities in the Kingdom. These systems are known as VSATs means Very Small Aperture Terminals. These systems solve the communication problem and remote access to applications around the kingdom to access different locations. A number of remote locations require communicating and updating about the current status of a task. In the process of exploration, drilling and marine, it is require discussing with other engineers about the situation any time which is made possible with the use of very small aperture terminals. The company tripled the bandwidth of communication links to meet the fast growing need of high capacity communication links which is total from 72 to 216 MHz. This capacity provides robust communication around 300 remote locations and also support powerful computing applications.

5.5.          3-D Visualization Real Time Centers

3-D visualization center of Saudi Aramco are upgraded to the advance digital technology with the development of new visualization technologies for exploration and production. It also includes seamless data integration between interpretation and processing and interpretation of 3-D seismic volume.

5.6.          Operations Coordination Center

To trace the movement of oil, gas and other refine products in the plant from their wellhead to tanker is an extremely complex job. It is not possible to monitor this whole process without any technology. This complex job become easier and efficient with the implementation and installation of video wall in company’s Operation Coordination Center. The wall monitor all the activities involved in oil, gas and refine products movement from wellheads to tankers and help to look after them in an efficient and easy manner. This wall is a masterpiece of technology which is used in the hydrocarbon or power industry. It displays the company oil, refined products, NGN networks, gas, terminals planning and scheduling in real time.

5.7.          Maximizing Utilizing Recovery

Saudi Aramco is recognized as an industry leader which is using advanced technology in their upstream operations. These operations are managed with the help of strategic approach in their information technology process. Usage of latest technologies and managing them in an efficient manner to utilize their high resources and to recover them in case of any damage is accomplish with the help of strategic process on high information technology infrastructure.

5.8.          E-Services

Saudi Aramco providing e services with the help of information system for facilitating company’s customers and vendors. It helps its customers using a customer portal which require user name and password to access the customer account as well as vendor portal and extranet portal also managed. These are implemented with the use of information technology process and databases for the storage of customer or vendor’s information and their respective queries.

6.     GAP Analysis

The GAP analysis is meant to identify the gaps between the current state of the company and the potential performance of the company. The potential here means the ability of the company that it can achieve by using its resources and manpower. The GAP analysis is very important for every company as it will help in identifying the current progress of the company and its ability to achieve more progress in the future. It is not true all the times that the company always gets the best out of its resources. There are times that the company is not able to get the maximum output of its resources that it is capable of. If the company does not perform GAP analysis then there are chances that the company will never be able to achieve its progress that it can easily achieve with its potential performance. The GAP analysis helps in identifying the areas that can be improved by implementing certain policies and procedures.

The GAP analysis is not only applicable to the business and economics departments only. The GAP analysis has its own importance in the technology that is being adopted by a number of companies in the world. Saudi Aramco is the world known oil company and is making use of technology to increase its business and get maximum profit. The technology keeps on changing everyday and new software is being developed with the increase in the advent of new technology. On the other hand with the emergence of new technology, the threats are also increasing. For this purpose Saudi Aramco should be aware of the new technologies in the world and ready to implement them as well.

Conducting GAP Analysis

Saudi Aramco should perform GAP analysis in order to measure the security of its IT and then uses the results to improve the security and eliminate the loopholes to make it more secure and prone to attacks. This GAP analysis will highlight the recent security practices adopted by the company and help in the implementation of new security practices. In simple words the GAP analysis will determine the recent level of security in Saudi Aramco and the level of security that should be in Saudi Aramco. Before implementing GAP Analysis in Saudi Aramco it is mandatory to adopt a set of policies and procedures that already exist like ISO. As the network of Saudi Aramco is very complex, so it will require lots of time and extra manpower to conduct this GAP analysis. As this process will take time if conducted in house, so it is better to outsource the GAP analysis because the results will be generated in a very limited time. This time saving process will help in improving the security system more strong as soon as possible.

Like GAP analysis in other fields, it starts with the documentation; the same is with the GAP analysis in technology. The initial stage in GAP analysis is documentation the initial stage of the security in IT department of Saudi Aramco and also notes down the policies that the company has already described. It is not acceptable to do against the policies like using the network of the company for personal file sharing. GAP analysis in IT is mostly concerned about the hardware being used and the software versions installed on the network devices. This analysis will identify the potential network security of the IT department in Saudi Aramco.

Once the GAP analysis is completed it will be clearly identified which areas of the IT departments in Saudi Aramco need to be worked on to make the security more strong. Then the company should be implementing new security practices in order to make the network more secure and safe from the attacks of the hackers.

6.1.          Network Security Management

6.1.1.     Security Attack

On August 15, 2012 a malicious virus attacked on Saudi Aramco internal network and affected about 30,000 workstations in the oil giant. They restored all the internal network services after that with saying, its essential business of oil exploration and production which was not affected with this attack. But they suspend the Saudi Aramco website for few days as well as the corporate access services also suspended because of this attack. Saudi Aramco has a huge network system in the organization and now the company promised to advance the security of the network. The affected workstations are cleaned and restored to the services but the internet remote access to online resources was limited.

The Saudi Aramco also confirmed that hydrocarbon exploration and production’s primary enterprise systems were not affected and operates on isolated network system. The production plants were fully operational because they are also isolated systems. There is no such victim or perpetrator for that malware that was attacked but security researchers associated this with Shamoon malware in the security gap. Shamoon has the capacity to overwrite the data on infected machines and destroy the master boot record files which makes the infected windows machines not capable to boot. It also can catch information from compromised previously uploading to the internet. The company needs to implement enhanced strategies to improve the network system and to protect against such type of attacks in future. It should keep track of latest viruses and implement higher level of security in their whole network system.

6.2.          Monitoring Plants

Saudi Aramco implemented a number of information technologies processes to monitor activities in plants of kingdom. The mega visualization wall is a real time demonstration of this implementation as well as specialized satellites and a number of e-services also managed in the company. For the improvement of e-services, it is also important to keep track of these technologies and need to enhance in order to provide latest processes to support customers and vendors. The medium for communication between different remote locations also need to enhance to make it more effective and economical. The communication require to access remote applications on the remote areas in an efficient manner so there should be more secure and high communication between remote locations.

6.3.          Recovery Management

Saudi Aramco has implemented recovery solution management for workstations in there network system which can be used in case of any damage or failure. Information technology department should not compromise with the services level which cannot be supported with infrastructure capabilities. It should be according to the current requirements of the latest technologies in order to compete the competition. There are many processes to improve these strategies to face recent latest technologies and their attacks on the system.

6.4.          Risk Management

Saudi Aramco manages risk at different levels such as IT strategic risk, IT operational risk, information security risk, IT business continuity risk and IT third parties risk for keeping track of all aspects of its system. The company should improve the implemented risk according to the new enhanced technologies which can effect on the system. IT strategic risk responds to changes in the technology while IT operation risk minimizing the failure of technologies and processes. The information security risk ensures the authentication and encryption required in the system. IT business continuity work for high availability of solutions or plans to ensure the service continue recovery. Last but not the least IT third party risk has a control over the performance, quality and the service providers and contractors.

6.5.          Services Planning and Management

Saudi Aramco monitors the IT services that are offered to the customers and vendors such as e-services are provided to customers and vendors like customer portal, vendor portal, extranet portal and corporate access. The company uses online portals to facilitate the customers and vendors and use latest technologies in order to accomplish the task. The company should update these facilities in coming future as there are much more technologies introducing today which are more facilitating, more economical and more operational and secure.

7.      STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT MATURITY ASSESSMENT

For every business, the integration of Information Technology has become very important and it has benefited the companies in a number of ways as well. Now the success of the company is considered to be the perfect deployment of information technology with the business. This alignment of business and technology has been a great advantage for many companies. It is not only a one time process, that once the alignment is achieved then there is no need of it. However with the changing demands of the business the alignment process needs to be surveyed and checked periodically as well. It is an ongoing process and it cannot be stopped. Saudi Armaco has also implemented the Information Technology with business and achieved heights of success and still continued. All the IT resources are incorporated with the business strategies of the Saudi Armaco.  Alignment is very important as the issues in achieving alignment, assessment of alignment maturity and the impact of misalignment. But once when the alignment is achieved it is very easy to assess the maturity of the alignment in the company. There are certain factors that the Saudi Aramco needs to focus on in order to assess the strategic alignment maturity.

7.1.           Communication

There are different levels of maturity in organizations and the factors of alignments decide the level of alignment maturity within the organization or the company.

7.1.1.     Understanding of Business and IT

In the Level 1 of alignment maturity the understanding of business by IT and understanding of IT by business is very weak. However the business is more dependent on IT. So it is very important the understanding of IT in business should be very high. In the Level 2 of alignment maturity the understanding of business by IT is limited and in the same way, the understanding of IT business is limited. However for Saudi Aramco, optimized level alignment maturity is obtained that means understanding of business by IT is pervasive and in the same way the understanding of IT by business is also pervasive. This level of understanding can be achieved by Level 5 of alignment maturity. Saudi Aramco is very strong in understanding of business and IT that is very helpful.

7.1.2.     Inter/Intra Organizational Learning

The inter/intra organizational learning is also casual at alignment maturity Level 1. In Saudi Aramco, there is strongly needed Level 5 inter/intra organizational learning that is structured and very strong. There is only Level 2 inter/intra organizational learning in Saudi Aramco which is informal level,  that means it is at its initial point and needs to be worked on.

7.1.3.     Protocol Rigidity

The protocol rigidity in the alignment process at the Level 1 is command and control. Saudi Aramco has worked on protocol rigidity and has gained Level 5 in this field. The Level 5 alignment maturity level in this regard. It is very important for the security and progress of the company.

7.2.           Value metrics

In value metrics, there are different factors mentioned below:

7.2.1.     Balance Metrics

Saudi Aramco has achieved Level 1 balance metrics in alignment maturity, while the level 5 maturity is required in this section.  Level 5 balance metrics are based on business, partners and IT metrics. Balance metrics are the weak section Saudi Aramco that needs to work on.

7.2.2.     Benchmarking

When we talk about benchmarking, then Saudi Aramco has achieved maturity level 4 that means that the benchmarking is performed routinely. There are companies who achieve hardly level 2 in benchmarking that means benchmarking is mostly informal.

7.2.3.     Continuous improvement

Saudi Aramco is a very successful company and is always looking for making improvements in its business strategies and IT section. If we look at the alignment maturity level of continuous improvement in Saudi Aramco, then it has maturity level 5 which means the improvement is performed routinely.

7.3.           Governance

If we talk about the governance in Saudi Aramco, then we find that it is quite good in IT strategic planning, budgetary control and IT investment management. On the other hand, it is weak in steering committee and prioritization process.

7.3.1.     IT Strategic Planning

Saudi Aramco has gained level 5 maturity in IT strategic planning that means it has integrated IT inside and outside the organization. It is helpful in progress for the company.

7.3.2.     Budgetary Control

Budgetary control is the key thing in the success of the company and Saudi Aramco is very good at it. It has level 4 budgetary controls, as it has maintained its investment center who is working along with the business process of the company.

7.3.3.     IT Investment Management

IT investment management is also one of the strengths of Saudi Aramco. The IT resources are deployed timely whenever there is a need for the deployment of any new technology in the company. The investment management is cost effective and process driven have gained the level 4 maturity.

7.3.4.     Steering Committee

In communication between the committees in Saudi Aramco is weak. There are very few numbers of communication meetings between the committees. There is need of a scheduled number of meetings to get maturity to level 5.

7.3.5.     Prioritization Process

The other weakness that Saudi Aramco is facing is prioritization process. In this factor there is a lot needed to be worked on. It is occasional responsive in the organization that means the maturity level in only at 2.

7.4.           Partnership

In partnership Business perception of IT values is the strength of Saudi Aramco while on the other hand; it is weak in Role of IT in Business Strategic planning and shared goals, risks and rewards.

7.4.1.     Business Perception of IT Values

Saudi Aramco is very good at the business perception of IT values as it adopts the technology along with the business. This Co adoption of IT with business makes it stand in alignment maturity level 5.

7.4.2.     Role of IT in Strategic Business Planning

It is one of the weaknesses of Saudi Aramco in a partnership which makes it lie in the level 2 maturity where business process enabler takes lead.

7.4.3.     Shared Gorals, Risks, Rewards/Penalties

The other weakness in a partnership that Saudi Aramco is facing is that the IT is taking all of the risks in the business on the other hand the reward is very little as expected.

7.5.           Scope and Architecture

Scope of IT in Saudi Aramco is very high and the company is always looking forward to bringing more new technology for deployment that could result in the progress. On the other hand, infrastructure flexibility is very low. There is very limited infrastructure flexibility in the company.

7.6.           Skills

The company is very good in skills as Innovations, career crossover and education, cross training are its strong points on the other hand, change readiness and the locus of power are its weakest.

7.6.1.     Innovation and entrepreneurship

Saudi Aramco believes in innovation and provides chances for the people to start their own business using their resources. It makes the company stand out different from others.

7.6.2.     Locus of Power

This makes the company only a functional organization and the company needs to work more on this aspect.

7.6.3.     Change readiness

As it is a functional organization; so all the changes are meant to be made in the organization are dependent on the whole organization as well. The company is weak in this aspect.

7.6.4.     Career Crossover

The career crossover in Saudi Aramco is not limited and it makes the people work happily in it. The career crossover is not limited to only one department of the organization while it is expanded to the whole enterprise.

7.6.5.     Education Cross Training

As the career is not limited to only department of the company only, Saudi Aramco has opened gates for those who learn within the organization. The training programs are arranged in the different departments of the company.

8.      Major Problems

Current Saudi Aramco, is facing a number of problems that need to be addressed urgently and look for a proper solution to eliminate them. The alignment maturity assessment has put forward some serious problems that may be a great threat for the company in the near future. The first threat that the company is facing the lack of communication between the committees and this cause delays in the decision making. There are times when decisions need to be taken very quickly, but when the company needs to communicate with the committees on the time of taking decisions, then there may be a delay causing a loss to the company. The government of Saudi Aramco is also not as good as it could be. The communication gap between the committees gives rise to major problems. If this communication gap is eliminated then there will be more chances that the company can get more advantages as well.

On the other hand, IT is the most important part in the business and is considered to be mandatory. But when we see at Saudi Aramco, then it is seen that the company is very weak at the involvement in strategic business planning. The company needs to work on the more involvement of IT in strategic business planning. The infrastructure of the company is also not flexible as well. This can be a hurdle in the deployment of new technology that is required in the company. The company is providing network based services to the customers so it needs to focus on the network security as well.

9.      Current State of Affairs

If we look at the current state of the company then we cannot decide whether the company is going perfectly or the company is not doing very well. The company is good in most of the aspects of its success and its architecture. Saudi Aramco, has moved to the heights of success, however there is more to go. The company is not up to date with the emerging technology in the world. The reason is that the infrastructure inflexibility. There are many improvements and deployment of certain practices in it. The company has certain benefits of its own, but only taking advantage out of this is not enough to compete the global market and become the leader.

10. The State of Affairs to Be

The company has gained many benefits as being the famous oil provider in the world. The company has got the potential to apply its resources in the right direction so that it can make more progress and become the world leader in its domain. The right use of its resources is the only key to get the most out of the company’s potential. .

11. Major Objectives

By looking at the weaknesses of the company there is needed that the company tries to eliminate all those problems to some level. The company should focus on inter/intra organizational learning and making the workers aware of most of the processes going on in the company. The company should focus on sharing its goals, risks with other partners as well. It is not right that only the IT is taking the risks and the rewards are not as expected. The infrastructure of the company should be made flexible so that whenever, a change is required in the organization, it is very easy to deploy. The company is highly dependent on IT, so IT must be involved in strategic business planning. The IT of the company should be made stronger and efficient as well. And the company should also share its penalties with partners as well so that the loss or penalty is divided.

12. Alternatives

There are other ways as well that the company can work to overcome the problems. The company should first try to look for the solution within the premises. There are times that when applying some practices in the company may present different hurdles. There is no need to worry in this situation because the best way to deal with such sort of problems is to outsource your tasks. We have observed that Saudi Aramco is quite weak inter/intra organizational leaning, so the company should focus on this learning process. The company should hire some training staff that could make better learning programs. If it is not possible for the company to hire separate staff for this learning step, then they should look for the organizations or the institutes and ask for special training programs for their employees.

The second threat to the company is the security of its information resources and all the information stored about the customer information. The company is recently managing its own data center for storing information. There are threats to the safety of the information stored. Saudi Aramco is doing its best to make it more secure by implementing different antivirus programs available today. However relying on antivirus software is not enough. The information for the company is very valuable and confidential.

The other problem that the company is facing is about the inflexibility of the infrastructure. This inflexibility may produce more problems in the future for the company. This inflexibility should be removed. However it is not possible to eliminate this inflexibility at once as it involves the infrastructure of the whole company. The other alternate to this inflexibility is by adopting new practices to start building infrastructure that is flexible. It does not mean to start building totally new infrastructure. The company should start by starting with very small replacement of infrastructure. When there is need to install a new infrastructure in Saudi Aramco, it must be assured that the new infrastructure is flexible and can easily manage the changes.

Saudi Aramco has got the potential to move to new heights of success, but it is only possible when the company realizes the potential and by overcoming the major problems it is facing in the recent time. The industry is moving to the implementation of new methods and technologies. Saudi Aramco needs to move with the time and face the challenges. There are alternatives but need to be found out.

13. Recommendations

It is very hard for Saudi Aramco to overcome all the problems and weaknesses at a time in a house. If the company tries so; then man power will be applied to this domain. The best way to eliminate or to reduce these problems is to outsource the concerns. The outsourcing will help the company in saving time and cost in a very efficient manner. The problems like the GAP analysis of IT department of the company can be conducted by an outsourcing company. The communication gaps can be reduced by arranging meeting after every month to discuss the ongoing processes in the company. The implementation of IT business strategy can be obtained by organizing some workshops for the employees who will be able to learn how to implement IT in business strategies. It is better to look for outsourcing for each problem, rather than investing huge money in order to solve the problems in the house. The problems that are highly confidential can be solved in the house. The outsourcing has been the best way for solving problems as they are time saving and cost effective solutions.

The company will need to invest budget in order to overcome the problems, and it may cause a huge budget to be invested. However, once the problems will be overcome, the company will have a smooth way to progress and get the most out of its resources. There are mostly chances that the results will be positive and the problems will be reduced to a minimum. Once the problems are resolved, the company will make more innovations and will have to think more advantages rather than focusing on the problems being faced.

14. Specific Steps to carry out Recommendations

Before performing all these recommendations, there are some steps that should be taken. Saudi Aramco should create a special team that will do proper research within the company and look for the problems very closely. Looking deeply into the problem helps in the finding an appropriate solution. This research is to be done in all the departments of the company. Once the problems and their roots are identified, it will be comparatively easier to wipe them out.

When the research team will finish its task of looking deep into the problems within the different departments of the company, there will be better understanding of the problems and their solutions. There will be times when the solution will be visible once the root of the problem is identified. When we talk about the outsourcing GAP analysis, it is good decision because the results obtained from GAP Analysis can be utilized by the company officials who will come to know the potential of the company and will put their force to achieve its potential success. The communication gap can be reduced not only by arranging meetings but also by arranged exchange programs within the different departments of the company as well. A proper analysis about the company and the departments working should be done. This analysis will also help in suggesting a way that will show how to start implementing the recommendations as well.

 

 

 

 

15.                       References