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07 Dec 2020 - Technology - GIM Suite by Lee-Anne Coleman

Why configurable technology makes better business sense

Customising software is a common practice. It’s also one that contains a high risk for operational disruption and can be costly to maintain over time for natural resources companies. There’s a better way to manage the unique geological information management requirements of your mining 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. It’s essential everyone on a project has access to the same geological data and can trust the quality of that data. Your ability to store original observations and measurements for use throughout, and beyond, the life of a mine site is instrumental to running an efficient and profitable operation. Writing custom code for the specific needs of a site might seem like a good idea in the beginning 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 customisations are compatible or risk falling behind on the latest technologies.

If your data management software has a patchwork of customised code, it can become a major undertaking to understand what needs to be changed. As the code ages, it’s not unusual to have to write scaffolding around your code to support your tech stack, even if the customisation is still valid. 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 move to current releases of your software.

The maintenance problem

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 geological 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 upgrades

Even worse, new versions of software can completely disable a customised system, if they’re not rigorously tested prior to deploying onsite. Longer and more extensive testing times are often necessary for custom-coded solutions which is critical to ensure business continuity and avoid excessive downtime if something goes wrong. It can take a substantial amount of time for companies to be able to take advantage of new functionality and improvements available in the latest upgrade. It’s sad to say but this state of waiting has become normal for some operations that are stuck on older versions of software as a result of custom code.

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. Its why acQuire focuses on configurable technology – so GIM Suite customers always have reliable access to their geoscientific information.

Benefits of a configurable solution

The key to configurable software is providing a standardised data model. From a technical standpoint, upgrades become much more efficient because, unlike customised code, configuration done with the tools provided within the application does not affect the structure of the code. Long-term supportability of the software is unmatched because any of the global acQuire support team can track and fix 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 for GIM Suite enhance a skilled workforce and contribute to a larger pool of qualified people, both in the industry and through the Nova Network.

How configurable software impacts business

The benefits of an investment in configurable software extend beyond your IT department. A standardised data model enables your business to effectively scale, grow and change with minimal disruption, effort and the high cost of supporting customisations. You’re able to maintain business-critical systems needed to ensure the profitability and efficiency 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 customised code and adopt a configurable technology, have a look at GIM Suite. It provides an efficient way to manage your geological data and gives you a seamless integration between desktop, web and mobile. acQuire’s long-term investment in research and development, drives our  technology roadmap for the digital mine of the future, ensuring we understand what is needed for your business to grow and change. As the industry moves through digital transformation, GIM Suite is perfectly positioned to provide you with smarter, streamlined geoscientific data, where and when you need it.

For continued insights into geological data management, sign up to our monthly newsletter. Or if you’d like to discuss how you can partner with acQuire, a leading mining technology vendor focused on all aspects of geoscientific information management, get in touch.

About the Author
Lee-Anne Coleman

Lee-Anne Coleman is the Customer Success Leader at acQuire. Drawing successfully on 20 years’ experience in business development, account management and implementation roles, she champions acQuire’s customer partnerships by providing professional advice and feedback on our products and commercial initiatives.

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