Illumiti Innovation Blog

Digital Transformation: The Value of Tech During Times of Disruption

Date: May 18, 2021
By: Andrew Howell

sap for mining industry

Your organization is most likely evaluating the new reality of work and its future. For mining companies, change is also inevitable; there's now a more intense spotlight on the mining industry itself, as employees make their way back to physical mines where health and safety will be of the utmost importance. At the same time, technology will start to play a bigger role in how they are managed.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future, the well-being of workers was and will always be a priority, even while so much has changed. Operations may be suspended, risks are heightened with respect to travel and accommodations, workers and working conditions have changed, and the communities in which they work have also changed.

The impact is tremendous.

With physical isolation protocols, heightened health and safety standards, and employee self-assessment checks in place (personal protective gear, travel limitations), mining organizations will be hard-pressed to transition to a future they did not anticipate and plan for.


What are the next steps?

Transforming operations is key.

From employee scheduling to new technologies, every aspect of your operations should be a part of the digital narrative moving forward. With new technologies like automation, taking enhanced analytics, and features that enhance business processes will be a chance to reduce costs rather than being considered a cost centre.

What does a future-focused transformation look like?

  • Health and safety are always a priority: In addition to standards already in place, enhance requirements and enforce physical distancing protocols.

  • Reexamine the nature of work: Scheduling requirements will change to ensure employees are physically safe from one another; assessing employee competencies by redefining their roles and duties may be necessary.

  • Acknowledge your gaps: The pandemic has become a catalyst for change as it has made many employees feel uncomfortable returning to a physical work environment as they now have new behaviours and mindsets. Employee absenteeism and anxiety on the rise will force organizations to re-evaluate responsibilities, retrain others to perform new tasks, reduce risks by placing the right people in new areas of the business and do what’s necessary to attract and retain new talent.
  • Change happens quickly: The pandemic has also placed a spotlight on scenario planning, forcing companies to make numerous assumptions of what the future may look like and how your business can be impacted. Be proactive and identify possible uncertainties to increase your agility to respond.

  • Invest in tech: Focusing more on technology and making the shift toward digitally transforming will be key. Innovative solutions will help make change easier as new behaviours are sowed all around us; mining operations, in particular, will need to be responsive and focus more on technology to help manage all of the above effectively.


Set a course for your North Star. 

There are no crystal balls to guide us along, but setting a course for the future with a North Star can help determine a direction and establish a beacon of inspiration for businesses. By operating in a world of relentless change and acknowledging that change happens, focusing on technologies and innovations will help reshape every aspect of a company’s operations. It's the long-term vision of your organization keeping you focused without losing direction or risking your business along the way.

Adapting to change today can be an opportunity for future growth. As mining operations become more flexible and open to adjustments in how they operate, investing in a long-term transformation can help you reach your North Star. As you examine lessons learned during these challenging times (and those we are still acquiring), consider how much stronger your business can become by planning and responding better to future predicaments.


Ambition and aspiration become reality.

Reaching your North Star might sound highly ambitious, but it’s not impossible. By incorporating an outcomes-driven approach into decision-making processes – in addition to engaging visionaries and getting the right people to approach – companies can make sure that every investment they undertake moves them one step closer to their North Star without risking their business along the way.

With SAP Business ByDesign, junior mines, in particular, can run their entire operations on a best-of-breed, cloud-based management suite: streamline end-to-end processes, boost efficiencies, and gain greater insights into the business. And with Illumiti’s IP and templates designed specifically for mines, the cost to a junior mine is much lower than one might expect—it matters more about getting the system up and running quickly, so the benefits can be experienced immediately.


Andrew Howell Head ShotAbout Andrew Howell

As a graduate of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Andrew has focused his career on becoming a senior-level innovation leader and business process engineer in the SAP ecosystem. Andrew currently focuses on transforming businesses by leveraging revolutionary, intelligent technologies which ultimately digitalize their organizations.

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Andrew Howell

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