Disruption and Digital Transformation:
It’s Time to Invest in the Future of Your Mining Operations
By Andrew Howell, Illumiti
This is an uncertain era with a disruptive event like the coronavirus pandemic upending everything. But there’s no time like the present to take the opportunity to accelerate a company’s digital transformation. We’ve all been witnesses to how, seemingly overnight, everything was disrupted in one way or another and many areas of businesses were exposed to weaknesses.
Mining operations in particular have been hit hard and at every level. But even in the midst of reduced or suspended operations, there are signs of opportunities for growth and new doors to open to new possibilities.
How do we think about technology moving forward?
A novel economy in a new direction seems to be the course many businesses will take, and to venture confidently means making investments in opportunities that will optimize productivity, enhance the customer experience, and better prepare your operations for future disruptions.
“For mining operations, greater investments in technology and a mindset toward digital transformation will be key,” says Andrew Howell, Director of Illumiti’s SAP Business ByDesign practice and integral to the company’s mining practice. “Investments in innovative products and technologies will be paramount to change, especially considering how the behaviours of customers are changing—ERP software-as-a-service (SaaS), for instance, has promoted extraordinary growth. As new behaviours are sowed all around us, mining operations need to respond as well.”
Mines need to strongly consider digital technologies as part of the conversations moving forward, and focus on looking at technology, not as a cost centre, but rather as a means for reducing costs—applying automation, taking advantage of analytics, and implementing new processes.
Moving to a new model will change everything
“Everyone is looking to technology companies to help, as technology is now seen as a revenue generator, says Howell. “Coupled with productivity and efficiency, innovation also ensures safety and compliance is top-of-mind for any mine.”
As we witness a shift to remote work and physical distancing, even if considered short-term steps, technology becomes more important. “So, consider devising and implementing a blueprint for opening a business to a new economy,” says Howell. “One that considers so many factors and looks at people differently—customers, stakeholders, employees, and business partners, they will all impact your decision-making processes like never before.”
“If a mining operation has already taken the steps to transform digitally, the rest of the organization from a business standpoint, understands the larger organizational goals, and is doing everything necessary to run in an optimal fashion,” says Howell. “Essentially, companies add more value to the whole organization as they enable a solution to help the business use technology in ways that are going to help it operate better, not just at scale, but faster for an on-demand economy, for a connected customer, and for a connected employee at the speed of how everything is evolving.”
With SAP Business ByDesign—a product growing in popularity and one that SAP has made a huge investment in—junior mines can run their entire operations on a best-of-breed, cloud-based management suite.
“Business ByDesign helps to streamline end-to-end processes, boost efficiencies, and gain greater insights in the business,” says Howell. “And with Illumiti’s IP and templates designed specifically for mines, the cost to a junior mine is much lower than one might expect—it matters more about getting the system up and running quickly, so the benefits can be experienced immediately. We’re talking about weeks, not years, by implementing the most important features with the highest business value needed for a junior mining operation.”
This surely seems like an uncertain era but there really has never been a guarantee for anything, especially in business. So, now is the time to consider new opportunities to invest in the future of your mining operation. Although it’s not uncommon to be hesitant about change, it can actually be a positive that uncovers new challenges and opportunities. By getting on the path to digital transformation, managing change and expectations, will feel like a benefit and not a deficit.
About Andrew Howell
A graduate of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Andrew is a senior-level, SAP software subject matter expert specialising in business process engineering, custom solution development, and the development of financial and managerial accounting reports; just to name a few.
Illumiti is a modern SAP systems integration and management consultancy committed to delivering strategy, technology, and business transformation to ambitious clients. An SAP implementation leader with a strong history of working with mining industry companies, Illumiti consists of more than 350 SAP consultants with an average of 10-plus years of experience, leading processes and world-class mining software, with more than 30 mining customers operating more than 60 mines globally.