Scaling up for Digital Transformation in Mining

Digital technology and mining

According to a recent analysis done by Accenture,  there are four major ways that miners can step up their digital transformation efforts.

Authors Sigran Pillay and George Long explain that the manner in which mining companies will scale their digital transformation efforts from standalone projects to more areas in the company will be key to unlocking US$38 billion in value over the next few years.

How can they do this? Their recent analysis of how the industry is using the technology can point to some insightful answers.

— Unifying the vision —

“Central governance of digital initiatives is key to broader digital transformation. It lets companies align their various proof-of-concept projects and other digital initiatives, and create a roadmap for how it will all fit together in the future. A unified vision also makes it possible to create a foundation infrastructure and framework that can be used across digital projects, which will support their closer alignment going forward.” – Pillay & Long

— Broadening your ecosystem —

“Miners can draw on insights and skills from outside the company. Some are using crowdsourcing with outside parties to uncover new ideas about, for example, identifying profitable deposits and improving efficiency and safety. Others are forging strategic partnerships with companies in other industries to develop technology roadmaps, educate the workforce about computer technologies or improve operational efficiency. Industry associations and OEMs can also act as partners that help enable innovation.” – Pillay & Long

— Adopting Agile development practices —

“Agile methodologies can be a powerful tool for taking advantage of digital technology, because they engage end users from the beginning of a project, helping to drive higher success rates. This also creates a “pull” from the business that helps digital efforts expand and grow organically, funded by the value created as that growth progresses. With Agile practices, miners can develop an innovation mindset that favors experimentation, and embraces the pursuit of the right answers—and innovative approaches—through frequent and fast-paced “failures” that quickly lead to results.” – Pillay & Long

— Reimagining processes with artificial intelligence (AI) —

“Some miners are applying AI to change internal processes. This can include setting up in-house AI capabilities to help test use cases, predict where to find new deposits, improve cost competitiveness, strengthen development capabilities, increase productivity, mitigate cybersecurity threats and provide real-time visibility of operations. Looking ahead, AI has great potential in a number of areas of interest to miners, including autonomous or driverless vehicles, enabling machines to “learn” from experience, and natural language processing that can help bridge the gap between humans and computers.” – Pillay & Long

Accenture’s analysis indicates that diversified miners could improve that EBITDA picture by $38 billion in the next 3 years by leveraging digital technology. And that could be just a start—according to a study by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Accenture, digital transformation could unlock US$190 billion in value for the industry over the next 10 years. Clearly, efforts to accelerate and expand digital initiatives today are likely to have a big payoff in the years to come.

For links to all the sources, please refer back to Accenture’s original post here.