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SLB - Our Journey Towards Building Data Literacy to Enhance Operational Efficiency

Team members:

Nikhil Choudhary, Learning & Competency Manager:
Sushant Shekhar, Domain Data Scientist - Subsurface, with:

  • Julie Neff
  • Boris Zolnikov
  • Christina Chrysovulou
  • Anne Bonner
  • Syed Sohaib Zulfiqar
  • Sissel F. Wilson
  • Diogo Almeida Costa
  • Rasesh Saraiya

Country: United Kingdom

Organization: SLB

SLB, traded on the NYSE, is a technology company that works with customers to access energy. Our team, consisting of individuals from over 160 different nationalities, is dedicated to providing top-notch digital solutions and implementing cutting-edge technologies that promote performance and sustainability in the global energy sector. Our range of products and services are designed to reduce emissions and improve performance in the oil and gas industry. We are also committed to hastening the transition to low-carbon energy, and we prioritize delivering digital solutions at scale to facilitate faster, more informed decision-making. You can learn more about us at


Awards Categories:

  • Best Data Democratization Program


Business Challenge:

The digital transformation of the energy industry powered by data & artificial intelligence (AI) is driving accelerated performance across workflows, operations, and enterprises. As this transformation occurs, domain experts view this change as either a threat or an opportunity.

Most of our domain experts are customer-facing. As we deploy more and more AI-based solutions to our customers, we need domain experts to act as translators of a domain problem to AI and vice-versa.

To solve the problem, employees had to start their AI learning journey. Identifying how and where to start was the biggest hurdle. We explored many options for our employees, but all these beginner-level courses started with learning to code in Python. Learning to code is one of the most significant barriers people face when looking to kick-start their learning paths to AI and data science.

We also had to scale the data science competency fast in the organization. Transforming more than 3000 domain experts into data science practitioners quickly was challenging in an instructor-led classroom format. We looked at a few EdTech platforms for self-learning options - they are expensive, with no guarantees of measurable success.

In short, the main challenge we faced was figuring out how to upskill our people on application AI in an agile, scalable, and open way while keeping the employees motivated.


Business Solution:

As part of the HR Team, we were responsible for upskilling our employees on data science. Since Dataiku is SLB's AI partner with a philosophy of democratizing AI, Dataiku was a natural choice to help us solve our problem.

To improve our data science literacy and understanding of Dataiku, the HR Team at SLB Digital & Integration division went through the Dataiku discovery training. A few team members completed the learning paths & certifications offered at the Dataiku Academy.

The content was easy to digest with modular learning and hands-on exercises. Certifications, which recognized achievement and were sharable on social media, provided further motivation. We decided to use the Dataiku Academy as our domain experts' first step toward data science.

We subsequently launched a custom Dataiku portal for SLB and a gamification campaign in November 2021, asking employees to complete the certifications and post them on Microsoft Yammer and LinkedIn.

As an added incentive, we structured it so that the more certification our employees acquired, the more their chances increased to win rewards as part of a raffle. We rewarded our employees with more learning - including internal courses of their choice and a few virtual courses on AI from top business schools.


Day-to-day Change:

SLB has led the way in the industry by adopting novel technologies, and AI is no different. Our employees based in our technology centres & INNOVATION FACTORI locations across the globe have been developing AI solutions for our products and last-mile customization for our customers.

While these centres of excellence led the charge, AI was a new development for the field-based organization, where many inefficiencies lie, as colleagues have yet to utilize the power of data and AI to the fullest.

Since the establishment of our AI democratization & upskilling program, the conversation within our field population has shifted from “What does AI have to do with this” to “How I can use data science to improve my workflow” – real world AI democratization within the company!

Domain experts have become 2.0 versions of themselves, trying to use Dataiku to build automated data pipelines, data analytics and simple machine-learning solutions without code. They are focused on making our internal & external workflows faster, better and cheaper. The adoption of Dataiku in SLB is not limited to energy workflows but has also been rolled out across human resources, compensation and benefits, risk management, and operations. 

Previously identified as a barrier, motivated employees are now learning Python for code recipes, researching more machine learning concepts and building connectors to internal software.

AI is no longer a threat to our employees but an opportunity to improve. The upskilling program is helping SLB accelerate AI adoption internally & externally.

Business Area Enhanced: Human Resources

Use Case Stage: In Production


Value Generated:

After a few successful campaign phases, starting in November 2021, we have seen exponential adoption of data science learning, with 400+ certified data science practitioners and more than 2500 employees in various phases of their learning journey.

SLB recently crossed 4,000 Dataiku certifications and is on track to maintain this exponential learning adoption. We aim at least to double the numbers in the second half of 2023.

The graph and infomap below show the learning acceleration and geographic adoption across our global operations.

Figure 1: Dataiku upskilling acceleration with learning campaignsFigure 1: Dataiku upskilling acceleration with learning campaigns

Figure 2: Geographic distribution of data science upskilled employees in SLBFigure 2: Geographic distribution of data science upskilled employees in SLB

Value Brought by Dataiku:

Dataiku has an excellent online academy that provides the right mix of tutorials and hands-on exercises. You can complete your first data science workflow without writing a line of code. Moreover, the Dataiku Academy is entirely free to use.

Dataiku was the ideal platform to help our field and domain experts start their data science. With free learning content and no code workflows, the learning journey was low risk and high reward for the organization.

Through the certification challenge, employees built their first AI solution. They gained basic AI explainability and governance concepts, ML Ops and plugin development—a great offering to democratize AI conversation in our field organization.

Value Type:

  • Improve customer/employee satisfaction
  • Reduce cost
  • Save time

Value Range: Hundreds of thousands of $

Version history
Publication date:
02-07-2025 08:58 AM
Version history
Last update:
‎09-26-2023 09:47 PM
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