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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Intranet Links TNK Operations

When Tyumen Oil Co. moved its upstream headquarters from Moscow to Nizhevartovsk in Siberia, managers knew it could turn into a logistical nightmare.

Russia's No. 4 oil company, also known as TNK, needed a tool that would unify its operations, which stretch from Moscow to Ryazan and on to eastern Siberia, so they decided to implement a system already in use by multinational corporations across the world: an intranet portal accessible to any employee from any computer, be it in Moscow or on the field.

"The geographic spread of our company made it absolutely necessary," said Alexander Bloch, TNK's chief information officer, at a news conference last week. "It will serve to strengthen the team spirit of our company."

Bloch came on board TNK from PricewaterhouseCooper's New York office, where he had worked on a similar project for Sakhalin Energy Co. After hearing Bloch's presentation on the same theme, given while he was still at PwC, TNK management decided it was too complex for them to handle on their own and asked him to join the company five months ago, right as the project was commencing.

The concept is a simple one: Employees will be able to access company news, a company directory, a calendar of events, committee proceedings and various company documents through an interface similar to the World Wide Web.

Bloch declined to put a dollar figure on the project, but said it was about 1.3 percent of annual revenues. Revenues were 54 billion rubles in 2000 according to Russian accounting standards, Prime-Tass reported.

Marat Atnashev, head of TNK's organizational development, said this is the first step. The company plans to implement data transmission over a mobile network. Such a move would give workers in remote regions — which are often inaccessible by roads and function independently of any water or electricity network — the chance to interact with the rest of the company.

In its first month of existence, TNK's intranet portal has had 250 regular users. Project managers expect that up to 7,000 employees will eventually be using it on a regular basis, and Bloch said that so far he hasn't met any employee resistance to the move.

Even though this might seem like a boon to employee involvement in the company, each worker will only have access to files that are deemed appropriate.

"This wasn't an aesthetic task," said Rustem Hayredinov, director of development with Gorod Info, a web integrator hired by TNK for the project. "It was given a business emphasis."

Gorod Info has helped create portals for No. 3 oil major Surgutneftegaz and Tatneft, but from a technological and business standpoint, TNK went farther with theirs, said Kirill Vavilov, a technical director with Gorod Info.

Interest in these portals — a term still vague in many managers' minds — has spread to other industries like timber processing and movie-theater construction.

"There is definitely curiosity there, and it's on the increase," Vavilov said.

Alexander Tukunov, senior manager at PwC — also a project partner — agreed, saying that all information technology projects need to have a business base to succeed.

"It was a pleasant exception to the numerous IT projects in Russia that die every year," Tukunov said.