Digital Change Critical For The Resources Industry

Posted on August 22, 2017

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Change can be hard, but it’s better when you choose it to happen on your terms, rather than having it forced upon you.

Times might be tough for miners now, but while commodity prices are currently historically low, these pricing fluctuations and cycles are par for the course. It’s important to remember that demand for energy, however, continues to grow.

As we transition from one point in the market cycle to the next, it’s a good time to take a moment and look at current operations with a view to adjusting what we can control. Times like these give the industry an opportunity to reflect, plan and modify operations to reduce costs and find real operational efficiency.

And really, increasing the amount of control you have of your operations is what it’s all about. Recent developments and price reductions in storage, big data and sensing technology are bringing effective remote operation and automation much closer.

Calculating the cost of change/building the business case

The first step is to understand exactly what you want to achieve and then determine what might be holding you back. When it comes to investing in technology and changing the way you do things, you need to start with your goals first. Don’t be blinded by the tech – you need to be clear about what you want to achieve, and then work backwards from there to ensure that your new technology goals are 100% aligned with the goals of the business.

Beyond this, there are several key questions to ask that can help you to understand the real impetus and value for change. These questions are also of prime importance when building a persuasive business case.

Ask yourself:

  • What opportunities are you currently missing out on?
  • Will your current technology support your anticipated future business needs for remote operations, digitisation and automation?
  • What risks are posed to the business by remaining with the current technology stack and maintaining the status quo?
  • What are the gaps between what your current technology can provide and where you want your mining operation to be?

Paying the price of same

There are many examples from the world of IT where enterprises have successfully calculated the cost of doing things the same versus doing things differently. Those that are being held up as the poster-child of digital transformation haven't arrived at that position overnight. They made the start many years ago.

Google and Apple are great examples here, and the price that companies like Microsoft have paid for not embracing change and being slow to enter the mobile platform market is well documented.

There are many other examples that could be used to illustrate this process. But regardless of which example you choose, what’s important here is ensuring that your business understands both the potential of new technologies and their limitations. The technology side of your business also needs to understand the needs and objectives of your business. Then you must ensure that the companies that you partner with to provide technological solutions understand this as well.

Partnering and investing for change

When you’ve begun the journey to answer these strategic questions you will build a suitable knowledge platform from which to make your decision. But from this point, you can start to ask a different set of questions that stack up the value of your incumbent technology providers versus their competition – the challengers.

You can also start to compare not just the services that they provide, but their understanding of your organisation’s business requirements and their ability to align with them. Ask yourself:

  • Do they have a great grasp of emerging technologies and their implications for mining?
  • Can they be agile – can they implement their proposed solutions to your agenda, to your specific requirements?
  • Do they value providing best of breed solutions that will deliver certainty and a degree of future proofing?
  • Can they be a true technology partner to your business and do they understand your aspirations?

Change can certainly be hard, but the rewards can be significant for those that make smart decisions and embrace the new. It can pay in the long run to invest in change. 

At Vocus, you’ll find a company that understands change and offers flexible, agile technology solutions for your future business requirements. But don't just take our word for it. Learn how CHC Helicopter worked with us to create a new platform to underpin their Asia Pacific digital transformation journey. 

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