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01 Jun 2017 - Business Management by Richard Rowe

Why do we fear starting?

The resources industry, in particular, is known for lurching from boom to bust. This often leads to us exploring ways to capitalise on opportunities whilst reducing cost and risk, especially in the rough times. We have established one of the best ways to achieve both goals is through the introduction of technology. However, as good as the industry is at finding and digging up valuable stuff, it’s not that good at ‘managing’ and maintaining the introduction of new technology into an organisation.

Talk to anyone who has been involved in rolling out new technology, and you’ll get a feel for the different reasons this can be a challenging undertaking. Alternatively, do a simple search and you will quickly learn about some of the top reasons for failure, which include:

  • Changing requirements or specifications during the project
  • Incomplete or inadequately defined requirements
  • Lack of resources to implement or manage the technology
  • Miscalculation of time and effort required to implement the technology
  • Technology doesn’t fit the business processes
  • Technology cannot be integrated with existing systems and processes
  • Lack of staff technology expertise

Of course you will find the odd success story here and there, but generally speaking, as an industry, we are fairly poor at managing this transition.

And yet the longer we wait to make a change, the more complex the data management problem becomes. Manual processes and workarounds become more complex, data silos develop, disparate systems start to pop up, and the people who ‘understand’ the complexity move on. With this all happening, even the most careful handling is susceptible to data corruption or even loss. And I don’t think I need to explain the cost of acquiring this data.

Even though we know all this can go wrong, bringing technology in to help manage data puts people off. The fear of starting a technology project can be crippling, particularly when you know there will be disruption in your current processes. No one likes to rip the bandage off. But if we know we can significantly increase chances of success and reduce cost and risk while doing it, why do we fear starting?

Fear of the unknown

It’s completely understandable that people worry about what could go wrong. The software industry has a legacy of product that can’t be modified without high cost or significant disruption to daily workloads. Unlike getting a haircut from your trusted barber or buying a pair of your favourite shoes, it’s harder to know you’re making a good decision, especially if things may need to temporarily slow down before realising the massive benefit.

Fear of a half-baked solution

Data management is complex because there’s widespread reliance on it. Different functions need the data for different reasons. It’s sourced from hardware and equipment, other software, and manual processes. With all this complexity, how can we possibly come up with the right solution?

Fear of making the wrong decision

Referred to as analysis paralysis, the desire to understand every detail before you make a decision is certainly an admirable goal, but it’s almost impossible to evaluate every single aspect of the technology. With technology advancing at a rapid pace and constant process changes occurring in your business, the evaluation criteria is in flux. How do you know if you will be able to solve tomorrow’s problems?

Fear of making any decision at all

There’s no doubt it may seem easier to stick your head in the sand and carry on with business as usual. The problem with this is it’s actually a decision – and it’s one that puts your exploration investment or mining decisions and activities at risk. As your data grows and ages, your ability to manage it with ease and confidence erodes. Soon your geologists and engineers are spending time fiddling with data rather than focussing on the job they’re there to do – make decisions to help advance your business.

Start early, start small

All of these fears can be eliminated by having the right technology system in place earlier in the life of a mine. This removes the fear associated with trying to find a perfect solution once your mining operation is in full swing. The benefits are many.

  • Reduced organisational change impact
  • Sustainable growth path for your data over time and in case of change
  • Less implementation time required because your day has less complexity when starting an exploration project than it does once you’re in full operational mode
  • Get a clean start from the beginning, ensuring your data becomes a durable asset
  • From the beginning your data provides a basis for governance, which is essential for saleability of a mine

Perhaps the best reason to start early is you don’t want to wait until things get worse. You can’t anticipate all problems. Above all, when making a decision, don’t leave it to gut feel. Heavily focus on evaluating the vendor’s ability to provide a sustainable solution, carefully considering the way the technology scales and adapts. Ensure you consider their competence including experience, support, and resources.  This is your way to addressing future problems in a business climate when change is the norm.

Futureproof your data

In resources companies, starting earlier and starting small puts you on the path to reach long-term efficiencies in data handling, thereby improving productivity, reducing risk and improving safety. The acQuire GIM Solution can be established at any stage and grows with your operation. Not only do you get immediate benefit, it reduces the installation complexity and disruption to your operation that comes if you wait and do it later.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can get started with a GIM Solution today and learn how the GIM Suite technology can help you manage your data better, call us. The sooner you start, the less you’ll have to worry about in the long term.

About the Author
Richard Rowe

Richard Rowe is a Business Development Analyst at acQuire. He has over 12 years’ experience in the Mining Equipment, Technology and Services Industry and is dedicated to helping companies improve their performance, by developing and delivering solutions to complex business problems.

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