Digital disruption and technological innovation is slowly making its presence felt throughout the Australian mining industry (along with many others), indicating our country is on the brink of robot, drone and cloud technological transformation.
When the Internet of Things (IoT) finally gets into full swing we can expect to see this slow transformation explode into a huge technological revolution across the country, affecting all industries.
Recent research from IDC shows Australia is increasingly adopting advances in mining technology:
- A quarter of Australian mining companies are researching and developing robots.
- 80% are automating their mining operations.
- 36% of companies forecast their IT budgets will grow in the future.
The Challenges Posed by Technological and Digital Innovation
The IDC research identifies bridging the gap between corporate IT and the mining sector as posing the biggest hurdle to effectively using the technological advancements available.
Both IT and mining need to be on the same page, work together, connect and communicate in order for the successful and seamless integration of digital and technological mining advancements.
Tips for Successfully Linking Corporate IT and the Mining Sector
Matt Oostveen, the Chief Technology Officer of VCE (Virtual Computing Environment) has some suggestions for initiating the connection process:
1. Establish ‘tiger teams’ whose sole purpose is the unified implementation of the new technology across the business’ divisions.
By 2016 Australia may see 50% of all its heavy-weight mining companies establish such teams, also called cross-functional IT operations/LOB (Line of Business) teams, to deal exclusively with ‘third platform technology’. IDC uses ‘third platform technology’ as a blanket term to encompass IT built on cloud services, mobile devices, big-data and social technologies. It has everything to do with linking supply with demand in the shared economy.
2. In Mr Oostveen’s experience, the most successful teams are set apart by a few key traits:
- They broaden their horizons and look to other market sectors for inspiration, cross-pollinating ideas through taking on board best practices from other industries. Mr Oostveen suggests checking out related sectors such as Oil & Gas and even the Australian banking sector.
- They also tended to avoid choosing large, long-term projects, instead going the safer, more cautious route of opting to prove value by quickly obtaining return on investment on smaller scale projects.
- Another characteristic the successful teams possessed in spades was excellent communication, they were highly astute at getting the mix between realistic expectations and technological vision just right.
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