How To Evaluate Land Management Software

Petroleum exploration is a competitive business and every company looks for advantages over their competitors. Having a strong land management software system during the lease acquisition phase allows an oil and gas exploration company or lease broker to stay organized and move quickly. In this article we'll talk about a few core features you should look at carefully.

First, there are two types of land management software: lease administration software and lease acquisition software. Land management products that focus on lease acquisition differ from lease administration packages in a few key ways. Lease acquisition packages are more concerned with pre-lease activities (i.e. getting the leases signed), whereas lease administration packages focus more on the division order and maintaining the leases after they are acquired. Our discussion will focus on the latter, lease acquisition software.

Three key features to evaluate in the software are:

* Communication Features

* Pre-lease Workflow

* Lease Status Tracking

Land management software that tracks and presents communication in a meaningful way is hard to come by. In the past, software user interfaces were designed and built by software engineers who put most of their thought into the back-end system design with little thought for workflow, user interaction, and aesthetics. However, these factors play a key role in obtaining end-user buy-in, and if a key component of the software is communication, you have to get the end-user to actually input their communcations with lessors into the system.

Newer land management software systems place a greater emphasis on the end user experience. They present lease, tract, and lessor communications in a way that a project manager can quickly scan and see what their leasing agents and title landmen are working on. This allows them to act quickly when either an opportunity or disaster is looming.

A key element of a successful leasing operation is a well-defined workflow. When a company is leasing hundreds of thousands or millions of acres, each person in the leasing process has to know their role. From the lease buyers, the landman running title, lease analysts, and general administrative staff, each person must know what they are responsible for.

A good land management system allows the company to configure the workflow to their needs because most companies have a unique workflow. The software needs to provide the security capabilities to limit each user's view to what they need to see and allows users to assign tasks (or auto-assigns tasks) to other users.

Another key workflow feature is document generation and storage. During the lease acquisition phase, the amount of documents generated can be massive. Lease Offer-letters, counter-offers, lease ratifications, lease amendments, lease memorandums, mineral ownership reports, lease purchase reports, and many other documents and reports must be generated. Generating these documents based on the data in the database and storing these documents can save huge amounts of time.