• How SharePoint Should Have Stopped the BP Spill

    The Deepwater Horizon Drill
    Everyone knows about the BP oil spill. After all, it was one of the biggest man-made disasters in recent years, and its ecological impact – not to mention the economic damage to local regions and those who lived in those areas – was immense. As nearly five million barrels of oil gushed into the ocean, the world was outraged. Shouldn't a company like BP have systems in place to prevent just such a disaster? Well, they did, in the form of a customized SharePoint platform. And that platform had warned BP against doing exactly what they did.

    One reason that the SharePoint name doesn't often come up with BP is that the company calls its content management system the "OMS" – or Operating Management System. However, the entire thing is built on the backbone of Microsoft SharePoint, with heavy customization but a gravitational center that should be familiar to all our readers. The company is currently reviewing the OMS, and representatives are concerned because it's not a guarantee of safety. However, if the company had listened to the warning of the system, they would have almost certainly prevented the spill.

    The BP OMS, in examining the Deepwater Horizon drilling facilities, indicated that 21 stabilizers would be required. The company had six in place and ordered 15 more. However, the 15 that arrived didn't seem to be the appropriate units, so the company decided not to install them. Rather than delay the drilling, British Petroleum decided to continue with only 6 of the 21 stabilizers needed – equating to roughly a 72% deficit on the provided safety recommendations.

    What's the lesson of the story? First, that SharePoint is capable of preventing disasters, especially when you take advantage of customization features. Second, that if you invest so heavily in an effective system like a customized SharePoint content management and evaluation system, you should listen when it tells you not to continue.

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