Jon Bell, CEO, Reflects on Successes and Shares His Vision for the Future
With challenge comes opportunity.
Reflecting on 2021, I applaud our MODS family who have risen to challenge with integrity and determination. Despite the many obstacles wrought by the pandemic, our team used this unusual time as an opportunity to pivot. We reconceptualized our services and brought in top talent to rebrand our products into the diversified yet complimentary MODS Connect, MODS Origin and MODS Reality.
People and Partnerships: Our Backbone to Success
Thinking on the continued development of MODS software, especially in light of this difficult period in history, I am most struck by the perseverance of our team at MODS.
The internal team I refer to includes everyone in every function from administration through management. Their reliability, drive, focus and loyalty has been unparalleled and is a source of personal pride for me. These folks are the backbone of our company, providing strength and agility to the business – values that translate to our services and customer care.
We founded MODS as a family company. And those family values permeate everything we do. This is true not just at our local office in Aberdeen, but across all regions in which we operate, and through to our global partnerships in the United States, Australia and Japan.
An Evolution from Strength to Strength
MODS – both the company and our software – is built by engineers for engineers. It was through our direct experience in the field where we identified gaps in on-the-ground engineering and project management needs.
Going back to the early days at MODS in 2002, we were originally a dimensional control and laser scanning service. It was in 2006, when we began developing software to address the challenges that I personally experienced in the field. The complexities of things like handovers, for example, were rife with problems.
MODS’s software packages, like our people, are solutions focused and responsive. I marvel over how far we’ve come, from our original services to, now, offering three modular packages – Connect, Origin and Reality – that revolve around brownfield development, new construction of complex facilities, and advanced digital management, respectively.
The way we have evolved from MODS’s original vision articulates in and of itself the agility at the core of our business.
Diversification: Smart, Agile Growth
Originally focused on North Sea oil rigs, MODS now serves both upstream and downstream oil and gas, though we continue to diversify.
The technology behind MODS software solutions, and the way they’ve been designed, are easily transferrable. Renewables, green energy, other natural-resource sectors like mining, and even healthcare and pharmaceutical facilities are all sectors for which we are primed for expansion.
Basically, if you build and/or maintain it, and it’s complicated, we can help.
We aim for continuous improvement, and continue to develop our software, adding new tools and features. This is all part of the personalized service we provide at MODS. We listen to our clients around the world and offer customized solutions. This customer service element sets us apart and is, again, only possible through our phenomenal team.
What’s great about our external partnerships is that each distinct geographical region in which we operate has different goals, different needs, different constraints. And we take all of that on board with each successive step of our development at MODS.
MODS Global: Relationships Old and New
Looking ahead towards 2022 with our international partners in Japan, Australia and the United States, there are exciting stories to tell across all the regions where we operate. Given the diversity of our global partners’ needs and goals, we strive towards turnkey offerings, getting our three systems – Connect, Origin and Reality – more fully rolled out.
My vision for 2022 revolves around these global relationships. From ongoing collaborations with Petrofac in the North Sea, to the continued growth of Origin with JGC, to identifying greater teamwork potential with GIS in the Americas, and to deep diving with partners in Australia, it’s going to be a busy year ahead. Particularly where the pandemic interrupted a bit of momentum, the excitement of pursuing our untapped potential is palpable.
Our software solutions are adaptable from country to country, and from oil and gas to wind and solar, to hydrogen and beyond. Evolution and diversification into cutting edge industries doesn’t happen on vision alone, however. It requires talent.
Managing Growth: Quality and Innovation
Outreach is important and I enjoy bringing new talent into the industry. Alongside our partners, JGC, we are actively building our outreach and development to identify and foster the next generation of industrial engineering software developers and support staff. With around a half-dozen juniors having started in 2021, we remain interested in recruiting still more juniors into the MODS team. Young blood, I find, helps fuel our innovation.
As a company we always had a plan to not grow too fast. It’s taken a long time to see the amount of growth we’re seeing, and to be in a position to control and manage that growth to ensure a sustainable business model.
Those who know me are likely aware of my personal passion for motorbike racing. I both build and race bikes. While it’s a sport predicated on speed, it requires a keen attention to anticipate obstacles, navigating them in such a way so that they become an asset. This is analogous to how I view our growth at MODS: at a positive yet controlled clip.
I continue to seek controlled growth, looking for the right people who share our team ethos. While we’re keeping our feet on the ground and keep the focus on quality of service, we now have 70 employees in the United States and have outgrown our HQ office in Aberdeen.
Digital Transformation: Potential and Challenges
Digital transformation is a journey. Some contractors we work with are only just now starting to consider going paperless. We are here to demonstrate the benefits of paperless and to provide the solutions that take the sting out of changing ways of working.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is certainly an en vogue topic. And it’s powerful both as a point of hot debate and insofar as the potential of the technologies in our sector and beyond. But until you have the data and infrastructure – meaning that the data is digitized and in the cloud – then AI is a theoretical thing or a fad. To truly harness the power and potential of AI, the first step in the journey is to go paperless.
Looking ahead towards the more advanced digital technologies, like AI, what’s great about MODS is that we take your data and give it value through digital transformation. The technology stack that we’re using, particularly with regards to Origin and Reality, are using state of the art technology. Technology that would ultimately enable powerful tools of the future, like AI.
Once paperless systems are embraced, the potential of these technologies can be realized. And, in moving forward in our product development, the ultimate collaboration of our three systems – Connect, Origin and Reality – will present yet another advancement in our services.
Catch-up with capturing the data and getting it in the cloud. AI is going to be a journey because in much of the energy sector, on the ground uptake of going paperless is challenging. Until you have the data and infrastructure, implementing AI tools and technologies isn’t possible.
Individuals and communities have been under tremendous personal pressures over the past year-plus, continuing to grapple with uncertainty and ever-changing restrictions. MODS aim to support all our people when and where we can, whether it’s with regards to ensuring mental health and well-being, a compassion towards the personal lives of our internal and external partners is of paramount importance to me.
I want to wish the entire MODS family, as well as our external partners and clients, past, present and future, a very happy holiday season. I look forward to 2022 and continuing to push forward new technologies through our new software packages, as we diversity into different sectors.
It is our people and partnerships who make all of this happen and to you all, I say thank you.
Happy New Year.