Mergers and acquisitions are par for the course in the mining industry, and historically there has always been a lot of movement in this sector.
This trend has accelerated in recent years, with larger companies divesting their interests and selling off, while new players enter the market.
The upshot of this, from a technology perspective, is a hugely complex environment devoid of a clear view across the organisation.
Licensing transfer, software and hardware incompatibilities are common challenges.
“Many of the mines own their own datacentres and infrastructure which could be legacy hardware with outdated warranties and maintenance.
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"Agreement structures between the newly acquired mine and the holding group may differ, perpetual license agreements may not align and renewal dates could be out of sync.” says Gerhard Olivier, Solutions Consulting Manager at First Technology National.
Aside from differences with products and technologies, the fundamental business operations may also differ between mines and the acquiring body.
Existing software and legacy hardware solutions may have no value in the new environment and integration of different technologies is difficult to achieve.
Moreover, licensing represents a significant investment, which means that a mining group may not wish to transfer licenses with the sale of a mine to another holding company.
“The sale of a mine may take time, and during this period they could be left with unlicensed infrastructure.
"This happens because the selling company will hold the licenses and the purchasing company might not buy new ones until the sale is complete. This leaves everyone in a difficult situation” adds Jennifer Meggersee, Sales Manager for Software at First Technology National.
"Every mining organisation has its own technology road-map, but with disjointed hardware and software, a lack of insight into the environment and ineffective asset management, this proves difficult to implement. The sheer size of mining organisations adds further complexity.
“It is essential to understand the environment before any changes can be made. It is also important to develop a roadmap of the desired future state of the environment, as well as any future acquisitions on the horizon.
"These are essential steps in helping customers modernise and consolidate, and start working toward cloud and hybrid models,” says Olivier
Obtaining a full view of hardware, software and networking across the enterprise is the first step in standardising and consolidating.
Visibility is the crucial element in removing complexity, streamlining processes, reducing maintenance costs and improving productivity and efficiency.