Culture, much more so than technology, is the key to driving successful change in the mining sector according to a new study by IDC.

The report puts the spotlight on a selection of vendors that are helping mining organisations become agile in an industry that is otherwise not known for its innovation, technology leadership or agility.

The vendors cited in this research’s use cases include SAP, Accenture, TCS, Wipro, Schneider Electric, Cisco and Infosys.

IDC Worldwide Energy Insights’ Research Director, Emilie Ditton, said, “Mining companies are at the beginning of a transformation to create agile and resilient operations within an interconnected value chain; creating the ability for far greater responsiveness and control.”

According to Ditton, “companies are faced with challenging operating environments and, for many, sustained lower level commodity prices. As a result, available technology choices are creating the opportunity to reshape and integrate value chains through enabling data at scale across the business, and to move beyond the siloed approach that has typified the use of data by mining companies.”

IDC’s 2017 Predictions for the mining sector detailed in IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Mining 2017 Predictions, highlights major initiative areas across mining for the next three years.

Three of the ten predictions made by IDC for the mining sector demonstrate the focus of the engagements which includes the following:

• Agile Mining: By 2017, 20 per cent of miners will achieve operational excellence through the manufacturisation of mining, implementation of Lean approaches, and standardisation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and operational software integration. Examples provided from SAP, Wipro and Schneider Electric.

• Building a Digital Core: By 2020, every leading miner will have implemented an integrated digital core across enterprise and operations. Examples provided by Accenture and Cisco.

• Getting the Foundations Right: In 2017, investments in mobile connectivity, security, and cloud by 70 per cent of mining companies will lay the foundation for the digital mine. Examples provided by Accenture, Cisco, Schneider Electric, TCS and Wipro.

Most of the engagements identified in “Creating Agile Mining: Vendor Led Innovation in the Mining Sector” relate to the creation of the foundations for agile mining – connectivity, security, data management and cloud based capabilities – or about enabling data optimisation within and across processes.

The creation of mining value chains that can respond to internal variability and external change, and provide the basis for a resilient organisation will be the basis of competitive differentiation for mining companies going forward, and so this area is a priority for investment.

Ditton argues that choosing the right partners to enable this transformation, and understanding where capabilities provided by external partners are required within the skills and capabilities roadmap companies have is a critical element of success.

Agile mining operations involve bringing together elements across smart mining, digital mining, automation and the integration of all these pieces enabling the flow of data across the business from the enterprise to the operator.

Fundamental within this is the interconnection between operational and enterprise data, systems and processes, enabling mining companies to collect and respond to insights in real time or in the required time horizon.

“Mining companies that are able to create operations that are agile and responsive through creating visibility and control within and between operational and enterprise processes will outperform the industry,” said Ditton.

“Creating value and insight from data requires far more than having the right technology capabilities in place, but the technology is a critical enabler.”

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