The realization was the catalyst that launched Cognite
It was that constant itch for a problem to solve, coupled with both natural and learned instincts as a leader, that shaped Hersvik into who he is today: the CEO of Aker BP, Norway’s second largest oil and gas company. He started the job in 2014, in what was then called Det Norske Oljeselskap, a petroleum exploration and production company out of Norway. Det Norske is what later became Aker BP (in 2016) after a merger with BP Norge.
Hersvik makes bold moves off the bat in CEO role
“I spent my first month talking to everyone in the company. We formulated a plan to grow to 60,000 barrels in production. And my first task was to acquire Marathon in Norway.”
Hersvik signed with Marathon after just one month on the job, and it marked one of the largest transactions ever on the Norwegian continental shelf. It was a bold move for a new CEO, but Hersvik had something even bolder in mind as his next step.
In 2016, when the company officially became Aker BP, Hersvik started to think about how digitalization could change the business. “I have a software background. And when I entered the company, a lot of software was being used, but this isn’t what I had in mind.
“Having software isn’t digitalization. But having the right software certainly helps get you there,” Hersvik says.
If you look at any other business that has succeeded in digitalization, it’s because they’ve removed friction in a process, Hersvik explains, not because they use a lot of software. He reflects on the fact that it’s far easier to make a purchase or book an appointment today because digital tools have made the process easier for consumers. “So why can’t we do the same in a business-to-business process?” Hersvik questions.
To begin the digitalization journey in Aker BP, Hersvik wanted all the data produced or consumed by the company and any vendor it collaborates with to be available to anyone, on any device, with extremely low latency. He and some colleagues started by scanning the world for solutions, to see if there were technologies available that they could apply. Hersvik reports, “No one had solved this problem yet.”
This realization was the catalyst that led to the launch of Cognite.