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08 Nov 2017 - Community

GIM masterminds discuss data challenges and opportunities at Calgary event

GIM masterminds came together at acQuire’s latest user event in Calgary on October 20, 2017 to discuss best-practice geoscientific data management in their companies.

GIM Jam Masterminds are a place for GIM Suite users and administrators to meet and discuss how they use the software in their companies, provide feedback and learn about the latest GIM Suite. The events are also excellent networking opportunities for the GIM community to connect with each other to discuss industry challenges.

Guest speakers at the half-day Calgary event included representatives from Cameco, CraicNData and data expert Brian Tuplin.

Sarah Wang, Manager, Exploration Information Management at Cameco Corporation spoke on ‘Turning Data into Information: Data Enrichment, Processes and Performance‘. Cameco Exploration collects large amount of data on a daily basis into their GIM Suite and other data pillars. Sarah explained how data in GIM Suite is combined with other datasets to enable process/performance monitoring and effective decision making.

Maeve Murphy from CraicNData, a Nova Network Partner, shared experiences from providing data services to a gold mine in Ontario in her talk ‘What happens after implementation?

She showed how a Nova Network Partner can help ensure things run smoothly onsite after a GIM Suite implementation. Staff changes and rotations, training, licenses, roles, tasks and processes are all part of the success (or not) of the post-implementation period.

Brian Tuplin, an independent geoscience data manager, spoke on ‘Change…And becoming Change Agents’. He touched the challenges involved with change and the ‘people’ side of GIM process and technology initiatives.

He reviewed industry surveys on IT project success and root causes of failures. He then reviewed suggestions to better engage stakeholders (customers, end users, support staff) with the goal of improving project and program roll-out and stakeholder buy-in.

Industry challenges

Industry challenges were raised and discussed in an open forum during the event. Some of these included:

  • Data silos, segregation of systems and also poor integration. When different functions across the mining operation use separate systems with different data it leads to a fragmented process. Projects need a single source of truth of data that can be accessed by connecting with other software packages and allows all the functions on a mine visibility of data.
  • Not getting management buy-in. When managers know the true value of data and see it as an asset, they become more aware of the need to maintain it properly. Being able to demonstrate data has value, like any piece of physical equipment, is important to get buy-in from the top levels.
  • How a lack of staff resources or a data champion means the value of data is not realised by management. And when a lack of support by management occurs, teams become disengaged.
  • Lack of standards. A lack of validated data adhering to international standards like NI 43-101 or JORC can reduce certainty in the data underpinning geologic modelling and reporting to the market on the size of an ore body.

Working together towards better outcomes

The GIM Jam participants also discussed a range of ways to find solutions to common challenges in GIM:

  • Make data more visible to stakeholders within companies.
  • Empower users to feel comfortable and confident in finding and using their data.
  • Communicate and build relationships across functions to break down silos. The ability for each function to see their own data in the areas and programs they are using is critical and why it’s important for systems to have connectivity with one another.
  • Show practical and real examples about the true cost of bad or no data management. When geologists are needing to make multi-million dollar decisions stemming from their data they want to make sure it’s the right decision. Significant cost impacts can occur from a bad decision based on bad data. Having a quality GIM solution in place means greater quality data, greater trust in the data and ultimately better decisions.
  • Sell the vision or value of GIM for management buy in. In the mining industry, companies are always looking at ways to drive cost efficiencies. Staff need to prove the importance of GIM by building their business case and showing the value of GIM. Investing in a quality GIM solution and investing staff to work with the system is an asset to the business.
  • Corporate risk and compliance (legal and safety). Implementing formal data governance means sites are prepared for data audits and compliant with industry standards.

Get involved

If you want to experience a GIM Jam Mastermind event, you can see when the next events are on and register here.

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