smart mining
According to a Deloitte Mining roundtable, the chief information officers’ (CIO) role is becoming increasingly important in the current commodity climate.

Faced with a difficult business environment and the looming effects of digital innovation, mining companies are under tremendous pressure to future-proof their business operations, according to a Deloitte Mining CIO Roundtable.

This pressure places the CIO at the heart of the efforts to digitally transform the business by balancing the need to optimise current technology assets with the need to future-proof the workplace.

[quote]The Deloitte Mining CIO Roundtable report found that the mining industry is currently faced with the challenges of new energy paradigms, the disruption caused by new technologies, and an increasingly competitive global mining environment.

“Mining and resources organisations around the world are facing challenging times with a slowing global economy and reduced consumption from mega-markets such as China. The race to revisit and review all operating assumptions is now truly on, as executives seek to optimise operations at every level,” says Andrew Lane, Energy and Resources Leader for Deloitte.

“This roundtable is focused on illuminating the challenges, opportunities and broader environmental constraints facing CIOs in the industry today.”

Technology Leader for Deloitte Kamal Ramsingh continues: “This report highlights what the response from CIOs should be to the pressing challenges of the day, from driving data collaboration across the mining value chain, to understanding and reversing long-term technical debt.”

Contributors to the roundtable were AngloGold Ashanti CIO Valda Gossman, AECI Acting Group IT Manager Toni Serra, Exxaro Resources CIO Ian Brown, Glencore SA CIO Robin Buchan and Mintek CFO Sakhi Simelane.

 Key insights:

  • Sourcing plant, equipment and telemetric data for analytics and data mining is a significant challenge as there are no defined guidelines or boundaries regarding data ownership. As a result, there is no single, integrated and unified data portal for use by all stakeholders.
  • Many mining companies have a false sense of security, resulting from investment in non-agile security tools and processes that they’ve relied on for years. CIOs need to understand the external cyber-threat beacon of their organisations and the market value of stolen mining intellectual property.
  • For information technology to help drive business innovation, managing technical debt in mining companies is a necessity. Reversing technical debt is a long-term investment, but if left unaddressed, it can bankrupt a company’s ability to build for the future.
  • CIOs have an often-forgotten third role – beyond running the business of IT and delivering IT to support the needs of the business, they should be leading the charge towards innovation through emerging solutions and technologies to move the organisation towards a more competitive and profitable position.
  • Many mining companies are buying into overpriced systems and processes for a lack of understanding of what they are buying. CIOs need to buy process capabilities as opposed to software and this is what original equipment providers should be focused on.
  • The role of the CIO in promoting and facilitating greater collaboration with key suppliers and technology partners is becoming a catalyst for change. CIOs need to move away from being perceived as overseers and custodians of the “system of record”, and be seen as actively driving, owning and sponsoring better collaboration with suppliers and participants in the value chain and business ecosystem.

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