From Excel to Excellence: Why Probabilistic Estimation Software is a Game-Changer

Desktop tools remain a popular choice when it comes to drilling time and cost estimation. Many well engineering professionals rely on Excel for its flexibility, familiarity, and broad range of functionalities. It is often used for data entry, basic AFE calculations, creating time and cost models, and also generating basic well reports.


As the demand for more accurate and comprehensive time and cost estimation increases during well planning, a specialized probabilistic planning software with advanced statistical modeling and simulation capabilities is gaining more traction within the energy industry.


There are several reasons why people choose to use desktop tools like Excel for drilling time, cost and risk estimation. 

Here are a few possible explanations why Excel is chosen over probabilistic estimation software:


1. Familiarity


Excel is a widely used and well-established spreadsheet application that many professionals are familiar with. They may already have existing templates, formulas, and processes set up in Excel, making it convenient for them to continue using it for estimation tasks.


2. Cost


Excel is a commonly available software that comes bundled with the standard Microsoft Office pack. This affordability factor may make it a preferred choice, especially for individuals or organizations with budget constraints.


3. General Purpose


Excel is a versatile tool that offers a wide range of functionalities beyond estimation. It can be used for various tasks such as data analysis, budgeting, project management, and more. People may prefer Excel because it serves multiple purposes and eliminates the need for investing in additional software.


4. Flexibility


Excel provides users with the flexibility to customize their estimation models according to their specific requirements. Users can design their own formulas, create visualizations, and adapt the spreadsheet to their unique needs. This level of customization may be preferable for some individuals who prefer a more hands-on approach.


5. Learning Curve


Specialized probabilistic estimation software often comes with a learning curve. Users may need to spend time familiarizing themselves with the software, its features, and the underlying statistical concepts. Excel, on the other hand, has a relatively lower learning curve, as it is widely taught and learned in educational and professional settings.


It's important to note that while Excel can be a useful tool, it has limitations when it comes to complex probabilistic estimation tasks. Specialized software designed specifically for probabilistic estimation can offer more advanced features, automation, and robust statistical models, providing greater accuracy and efficiency in certain scenarios.

From Excel to Excellence: Why Probabilistic Estimation Software is a Game-Changer

How Probabilistic Estimation Software Empowers Drilling Engineers with Advanced Tools for Accurate Decision-Making?


The simplest argument why to choose the probabilistic estimation software would be that the desktop tools cannot keep up with the speed in which operational decisions need to be made.


Probabilistic estimation software offers several advanced features in comparison to Excel  - here are some key advantages:


1. Statistical Models


Probabilistic estimation software includes pre-built statistical models specifically designed for probabilistic analysis. These models can handle complex distributions, correlations, and uncertainties, allowing for more accurate and realistic estimations. They offer a range of probable outcome scenarios so that the user can choose which level of risk is acceptable when making decisions. Excel, on the other hand, requires users to manually build and configure such models, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors.


Many probabilistic estimation softwares include Monte Carlo simulation capabilities. Monte Carlo simulation involves running thousands or millions of iterations to simulate different possible outcomes based on input variables and their distributions. This provides a comprehensive understanding of the range of possible results and their probabilities. 


2. Visualization and Reporting


Probabilistic estimation software often offers advanced visualization and reporting features that enable users to create insightful charts, graphs, and reports. These visualizations can help communicate complex estimation results effectively and facilitate decision-making. With Open API, probabilistic estimation software acts as part of the central technology network and imports data from multiple sources delivering outputs that can be implemented in other software. While Excel has visualization capabilities, specialized software may provide more advanced and specialized visualization options and act as connecting points for several other planning softwares.


3. Collaboration and Sharing


Specialized drilling time and cost estimation software often includes features for collaboration and sharing, allowing multiple users to work on estimation tasks simultaneously. iQx PLANS offers tagging and filtering and the predefined company specific templates facilitating teamwork and streamlining workflows. Excel, while it supports collaboration, may have limitations when it comes to handling large-scale collaborative estimation projects.


4. Integration and Security


Cloud based probabilistic estimation software, like iQx PLANS, can integrate with other tools and systems, such as databases, project management software, or data analytics platforms. This allows for seamless data exchange, automated data updates, and streamlined workflows. Excel, while it can be integrated with other tools, may require manual data entry and updates, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors.


Cloud based estimation softwares offer its own system built security protocols and single sign in solutions which desktop software cannot compete with.  


5. Advanced Analytics


Specialized estimation softwares may offer additional advanced analytical capabilities, such as operations optimization, scenario modeling, and risk assessment. These features allow users to perform in-depth analyses and explore various what-if scenarios, enabling better decision-making and risk management. Excel, while it can perform some of these analyses, may require additional manual configuration and formula building.

From Excel to Excellence: Why Probabilistic Estimation Software is a Game-Changer

It's important to note that the specific features and value propositions may vary depending on the probabilistic estimation software you choose. It's recommended to evaluate different software options based on your specific requirements and consider how they align with your estimation needs, workflows, and integration preferences.


Contact our team to find out how iQx can empower you with a probabilistic estimation tool that offers enhanced functionalities and user experience for better decisions. You can also explore user cases of some of our clients who benefit from probabilistic time and cost modelling on a daily basis.