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28 Sep 2016 - GIM Suite – Technology by Steve Jeffrey

Why configurable technology makes better business sense

Customising software is a common practice. It’s also one that costs natural resource companies untold losses due to operational disruption and system downtime. There’s a better way to manage the unique information requirements of your mining or exploration operation. Read on to find out why configurable technology makes better business sense and reduces the risk associated with customised code.

No two mining operations are the same, just like no two exploration projects are the same. It’s essential everyone on a project has access to the same geoscientific data and can trust the quality of that data. Your ability to store original observations and measurements for use throughout the life of a mine site is instrumental to running a safe and profitable operation. Writing custom code for the specific needs of a site might seem like a good idea at the time but it often comes at an unexpected cost.

The trap of customised code

Think about it this way. Every time your software is updated, the onus is on you to maintain your customised code. As new versions of software, operating systems, and peripheral devices and hardware are upgraded, you have to ensure your customised code is compatible or risk falling behind on the latest releases.

If your site has a patchwork of customised code, it can become a major undertaking to understand what needs to be changed. It can take a huge amount of time to make even a small change, especially if new versions of your software no longer support the code you’ve written yourself. The more changes you have, the harder it becomes to stay on current releases of your software.

The maintenance problem

But lagging behind on new technology is just part of the problem. If the personnel who developed the original code are no longer available or attract expensive consultant fees, the cost of keeping your data management system running can skyrocket, even for small changes. It may be difficult to find someone who understands what’s been done in the past and figure out how to update it.

The expensive issue of system downtime

Even worse, new versions of software can completely disable a customised system, resulting in downtime. It can take days or weeks to restore the changes, leaving your operation without access to reliable drillhole and geoscientific data. It’s sad to say but this state of disruption has become normal for some operations that suffer downtime on a regular basis.

Configurable technology vs. customised software

But there is a way to accommodate the unique environment of your project while still benefitting from technological updates and advances. It’s why acQuire focuses on configurable technology – so GIM Suite customers always have reliable access to their geoscientific information.

Benefits of configurable code

The key to configurable software is using a ‘Global Standard’ data model. From a technical standpoint, upgrades become much more efficient as ‘configuration’ of software, unlike customised code, does not affect the structure of the code for future upgradeability. Long-term supportability of the software is unmatched because any of the global acQuire support team can track and fix any issues rapidly.

Because a standardised data model is globally understood, finding the necessary skills to make changes is much easier. acQuire’s accredited learning programs enhance a skilled workforce and contribute to a larger pool of qualified people both in the public domain and through the Nova Partner Network.

How configurable code impacts business

The benefits of an investment in configurable code extend beyond your IT department. A ‘Global Standard’ data model enables your business to effectively scale, grow and change without disruption, effort and the high cost of supporting customised code. You’re able to maintain business-critical systems needed to ensure the profitability and safety at a mine site. You’re also able to keep up to date on the most current versions of all your software and hardware purchases ensuring your business is operating in a state of best practice.

If you’d like to move away from the reliance on customisable code and adopt a configurable technology, have a look at GIM Suite 2. It provides an efficient way to manage your geoscientific data, at scale, across an entire enterprise. acQuire’s long-term focus on business resilience guides our understanding of what is needed for your business to grow and change. If you’d like more information, get in touch.

About the Author
Steve Jeffrey

Steve is a Product Owner at acQuire. His key focus is acQuire’s product and software development to help create acQuire’s next generation software for geoscientific information management. Before joining acQuire in 2007, Steve worked as a Geologist in gold and base metals.

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