Action Tracking in Wood PLC – ‘Pisys was our first choice’


Wood is the largest provider of brownfield services to the
oil and gas industry, specialising in process, safety and environment; instrument and controls, electrical, structural, civil, and mechanical and piping. The company had a well-defined process for HAZOPs already but came across action tracking Issues when they took on a new oilfield development project for a large operator.

When companies decide to adopt it, action tracking is invariably a “need to do”, rather than a “nice to have”. Especially when safety and legislative drivers are in play.

In Wood’s case, the imperative was HAZOP tracking.
Mike Forrest, Wood’s UK Head of Process and Safety Engineering, explains: “With HAZOP and HAZID actions, you need to close the loop, you need the actions to be visible to multiple people, and you need to see where you are with all the actions. Reducing risk is what underpins it, because where there are high hazard risks – as with Piper Alpha – you could lose the whole platform”.

Pete Henderson, the Pisys Director responsible for the Wood relationship, comments: “Wood already had a well-defined process for HAZOP tracking. But there were all sorts of local systems around the Group. In many situations, people were attempting to track actions using a spreadsheet or even individual emails. As there was no means for central reporting, no-one could see everything to do with actions in one place. And inevitably there was a general lack of accountability”.


Action Tracking Challenges

HAZOP action tracking was done via spreadsheet or even
individual emails. There was:

  • No means for central reporting
  • No central place to save actions and view their
  • A lack of accountability.

The company needed a system where:

  • Actions were closed out consistently and in a
    timely manner
  • Actions were visible to all personnel involved
  • The status of an action was clearly visible.

Why Pisys?


Wood adopted Pisys Action Tracking for HAZOPs.

Pisys customized the system to provide:

  • Added capability for handling multi-level approvals
  • Consolidated reporting across multiple contracts
  • A strategic response function, giving project engineers early insight into potential design changes so they could consider the implications in terms of cost and schedule

The action tracker was rolled out first in the UK, then

“The trigger point for Wood was when we took over an oilfield development project for a large operator. We quickly found HAZOP tracking issues, and I knew straight away that we needed a system. The company’s ongoing ability to operate its fleet depends critically on the company’s tracking and recording of incidents and accidents” said Mike.

Mike acted quickly: “Two weeks later, we installed Pisys
ATMS Action Tracking System. I’d seen it in action with another Oil & Gas Major a few years previously. I’d been sufficiently impressed that we just went straight to Pisys when we realised that things were in a muddle”.

Configuration and Global Rollout

According to Mike Forrest, the action tracker’s subsequent success was not a foregone conclusion: “We invited commercial tenders a couple of months later, and evaluated one other system as well as ATMS. The other system was highly flexible, but ultimately our preference was for a more straightforward
system. And we knew Pisys ATMS would do the job.

Added to that, Pisys were able to demonstrate how to set
up a HAZOP very easily”.

  • The project, conceived from the outset as a global rollout,
    commenced in late 2013 with a 2-month configuration phase in which Pisys made modifications to meet Wood’s requirements –notably:
  • Adding capability for handling supplementary approvals,
    sign-offs and signatures;
  • Enabling ATMS to provide consolidated reporting across
    multiple contracts;
  • Incorporating a strategic response function, which gives project engineers early insight into potential design changes, to understand the implications in terms of cost and schedule.

Over the course of 2014, ATMS was rolled out across the UK, and then around the world.

Pete Henderson comments:  “The first ATMS installation for
Wood was for BP’s Andrew Area Development Project, which at that time was the largest project in Aberdeen.

Now we have 700 users across 30 different Wood projects. In the UK alone, ATMS is now used in Wood’s contracts with BP, CNR, Enquest, Total, Taqa, Talisman and BG  It is also deployed where Wood is acting as dutyholder – notably for Centrica, Ithaca and Dana”.

Mike Forrest interjects: “The system has been taken up in both Australia and Kazakhstan, and there are several thousand more users who could potentially come onto the system in other regions of the world.

The system has been hosted by Pisys all through the rollout, and it’ll remain that way because that’s what’s most convenient for Wood”.

Action Tracking - Fit for Purpose

Mike’s confidence in ATMS is evident from the fact that he went straight to Pisys as soon as he had a critical need on his hands. But is there real evidence that ATMS fits the bill?

Mike believes so: “Well, I can tell you that the Pisys system is pretty good for what we want it for.

I can also tell you that it’s robust, it’s efficient, and it makes the whole business of tracking actions more visible than it could ever be in spreadsheets.

On top of that, I get the sense that it is very well structured. And from many years of procuring and using software, I know that strong structure in software means it’s likely to be easier to maintain as well as more robust”.

He continues: “But my opinion counts for nothing unless the system actually does its job. Which it does. We don’t have to force our engineers to use ATMS, because it is obviously beneficial to them. People can see a response to an action, and they can see that actions are being worked on.

In addition, managers can see both the numbers of outstanding actions and also the overdue actions. That gives them assurance oversight”

A system that fits the way we work

How would Mike advise a colleague in another company who is considering a system for action tracking?

“I’d suggest that they think twice before going for a big system with limitless flexibility. Because flexibility usually means complexity. And no-one wants to struggle with IT complexities instead of getting on with the job!

Other systems dictate that users do things that just aren’t convenient – like having to prepare and submit responses all in one batch. But ATMS is the other way round. Our users love it, because it fits the way they work”.

Support Performance from Pisys

Another common wisdom in the world of IT is that any software system is only as reliable as the underlying support.

Is Mike’s confidence in ATMS matched by his belief in its backup team?

“Pisys are very responsive. Their support is inclusive in the fee, and the way they react is spot on. Especially in comparison to some other companies, they are very good indeed”.

Mike is keen to emphasise the reliability of Pisys support, irrespective of the origin of  the problem: “Daily use of a system like this means that mistakes will happen – like putting actions in the wrong way. Because of ATMS’s audit trail and lock-down functionality, certain types of error can’t be undone by users. That’s quite deliberate, and it even applies to Wood’s ultimate system administrator – me. But that’s never a problem, because Pisys will always apply a fix within a day–even for bulk errors”.

Beyond the Global Rollout

Asked how they see the relationship between Wood and Pisys developing in the future, both Mike and Pete refer to the ongoing global rollout – Pete in terms of additional users, and Mike in terms of further countries.

Pete also refers to other systems that Wood have asked Pisys to develop, such as a strategic maintenance management tool.

Mike picks up the theme: “People have seen how Pisys go about their work, and they’ve been impressed enough to ask what else they can do. And we now have other areas of Wood looking at ATMS for completely different operations whose existing action tracking systems are just not as good as ATMS. Such as commercial and business functions.

“Take, for example, ATMS’s automatic emailing of approvals and reminders to the relevant individuals. Anyone who’s used that facility will tell you it’s indispensable – it’s
one of the main things that ensures that things get done. But it’s just not there in other systems. That’s why we’re now looking at extending the Pisys system to grade and monitor business risks: moving towards tracking everything under one umbrella.”

It Takes Two

One thing that’s very clear from the way Mike Forrest
talks is that successful software deployment isn’t just about software.

The quality of the service provider – and of the relationship between the client and supplier teams –is also key:

“One of ATMS’s strengths is how easily our users can configure and manage it. Its set-up is directly influenced by Wood engineers, and we’ve been able to work with Pisys to get the changes that the engineers asked for. That’s how we reached the happy position where they’ve got the system they want”.

Pete Henderson is quick to highlight Wood’s contribution to the relationship’s success: “Yes – we work well together. But the best service provider in the world will struggle to sustain a good client/supplier relationship if the customer’s behaviour doesn’t favour a successful project. We have regular communication with the Wood team, and we find them proactive and involved. To give an example, they email Pisys regularly on aspects of the usability of the system. They’re always constructive, and it’s invariably in the spirit of working together towards common goals”.

The Pisys Action Tracker

Pisys ATMS is designed to track actions relating to a given project or organisation. It essentially enables actions to be recorded, managed and reported upon, and it is particularly strong in situations where:

  • Multiple people are involved in review and
    sign-off of actions
  • Close-out of actions is critical
  • Having an audit trail is mandatory (e.g. for
    projects involving HAZOP, technical assurance or project delivery assurance)

Companies gaining particular benefit from this type of system include those employing large teams of people, or deploying teams on large projects. With a global base of around 3,600 users, ATMS is especially strong in:

  • Situations involving multiple organisations and locations
  • Complex projects generating large numbers of
    actions requiring active management.

ATMS provides a very quick overview of action status regardless of the size or complexity of the project.