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28 Sep 2017 - Nova Network by Stephen Alpers, BSc Geology

An early start in data management makes business sense

The case for getting an early start

In one of our earlier newsroom posts, my colleague, Richard Rowe, discussed the fear of starting a data management project in mining. The reasons are many and all have merit. But delaying the start of a project can cost you time and money in the long run. Conversely, getting an early start on geoscientific information management can position your exploration project for competitive advantage now and into the future.

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Some of the concerns explorers have about implementing a data management system include:

  • Losing productivity while installing and learning a new system
  • Not having the right IT infrastructure in place to support the software
  • Not having dedicated data management staff in your operation or the resources to support full-time staff
  • Knowing your operation changes frequently and may impact data management decisions
  • Not having enough time to properly evaluate all the potential solutions
  • Not knowing how long you’ll be attached to a specific project

If it’s not broken, why change?

Your current systems are probably working, especially if the database is small and you’re in the exploration phase. You might have a database champion on your team who understands your drillhole data. Or, your manual systems are working well enough.

That may be true for now, but what happens when your project grows? What if you want to sell your project? What if your data champion leaves or changes teams? Even if you have a relatively small project, a disruption in how you’re managing your data can have dramatic consequences to productivity and risk management. Putting an information management system in place early and using the services of a data management expert is a way to mitigate those problems.

The case for early adoption of technology

Think about other systems in business where early adoption helps. If you’ve ever had to move your CRM (customer relationship management) to a new system, you’ll understand the firsthand pain it can cause. Trying to consolidate customer history, getting information from all your customer-facing employees and trying to find paper trails from former employees is excruciatingly difficult. The longer you leave it, the harder it becomes.

The same is true for accounting packages. If you have to go back and enter past history of all your invoices, bank statements and every expense transaction, it’s easy to see why taking the ostrich approach might be attractive. But every month that goes by without a system in place, the longer it takes to implement a good system. When tax times rolls around, you kick yourself for not getting organised earlier. Surviving a tax audit without an accounting system is incredibly difficult.

What you can do

Any time you’re dealing with large volumes of data, and especially if that data is vital to the operation of your business, it’s essential to put a reliable system around how you manage it. Geoscientific information provides resources companies with the intelligence needed to improve drilling and sampling efficiency, increase safety and reduce risk to the business. Without good data, your decision-making ability is more difficult. The sooner you have a system in place to manage the reliability of your data, the quicker you’ll realise the far-reaching benefits of quality data.

The good news is you can achieve this without putting a complicated IT infrastructure in place. Using the expertise of data management consultants with access to market-leading software tools means you can start sooner, making it easier and more cost-effective to put controls in place. acQuire’s Nova Network has been established to give exploration companies the capability for geological data management in a way that’s easy and suits early stage projects.

A company with good systems in place is more attractive to investors, especially if those systems help with governance. They can actually be a selling point. Having your geological data in order is excellent for exploration companies because it’s much easier to demonstrate the asset and produce reports showing the opportunity available. When those reports can be produced easily and investor questions answered with confidence, the value of your exploration operation improves with both tangible and intangible results.

A step beyond current futureproofing techniques

There’s another benefit to getting an early start on data management and it’s not often discussed. As technology advances and innovation in the resources industry improves, we can’t predict how we might use data in the future. Savvy miners are using historical data and looking at it under the filter of modern knowledge. As we move into the digital mine of the future, we’ll be able to analyse data in ways not currently available. By storing our data assets in a reliable data management system, we’re also preserving it for uses we might not even have imagined yet.  Listen to Jenni Pfeiffer, the Manager for Geologic Data Systems with Kinross Gold Corporation, discuss more on the topic of the value of historical data:

If you’d like to discuss how you can use data management services and data management tools to improve your exploration business now and into the future, get in touch. acQuire’s Nova Network  features an accredited, experienced group of consultants who can help you get your drilling and sampling data in order, sooner.

About the Author
Stephen Alpers, BSc Geology

Stephen Alpers is the Nova Network Partnership Manager at acQuire. He drives the Nova Network Partnership program ensuring high quality GIM services are available for acQuire’s customers. Stephen holds 25 years of industry experience across the areas of Geology, Recruitment and Business Development.

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