Is software standardization the key to sustainable growth in mining?

by Empie Strydom | Apr 30, 2013
No! Yes!

Well… it depends what you mean by standardization (and who you ask!)

If what you mean with standardization is throwing out what you have, and implementing one-size-fits-all solutions across the board, standardization might very well be the key to failure.

Many mining companies have fruitlessly attempted to standardize their way into optimization, cycling through countless vendors and products to find a single standardized tool or provider that will get the job done everywhere, every time.  But standardization could never mean always doing things the same everywhere, simply because such a definition fails to capture the real value of either standardization or deviation! Nowhere has the dream of standardization been more active than in the world of mining technical software solutions. Finding standardised ways of storing, exchanging and interpreting mining data has been suggested and rejected by many companies, over and over again. 

The value of Deviation

Mines and software providers have spent millions on developing optimized, purpose fit algorithms, data structures, and even hardware technologies that result in context-ideal solutions for a given mining type or mine.  These optimized products are often simply the best tool for the job in the places they are used, and replacing them might lead to decreasing performance instead of optimized outcomes.  Specifically in the world of mining technical software such as mine planning and scheduling tools, non-standardized solutions are mostly the result of specified requirements, and not of deviant purchasing.

 Visual, Spatial Safety and Risk Management with MineRP SpatialDash.
Production Crew Efficiency with MineRP SpatialDash.

Stope, Development and DrillholesStoping and Development areas with Drillholes with MineRP SpatialAnalyzer

The value of Standardization

If you are reading this article, then chances are you have read a host of academic papers shouting from the rooftops the value of standardizing – giving reasons such as simplified technology landscapes, vendor management, integrated reporting and much more.  I for one, don’t challenge any of these, except to say that there are ways and ways to achieve the desired outcome.

At MineRP, we have invested heavily in the development of standards-based enterprise integration solutions.  It might surprise you then that this article seems to suggest that standardization is not the answer!  Well, what we’re suggesting is that the solution does not lie with implementing the same software everywhere, but rather with the implementation of a spatially aware, open standards-based translation and standardization framework. This is exactly what MineRP developed with its MineRP Enterprise Integration framework for spatially related mining technical information. MineRP will allow your discipline specialists to continue using the software that works for them, yet with the ability to freely share, report and inter-operate on data created in the various traditional silos.

Spatially Relate, Inter-operate and Optimize!

MineRP is much more than a traditional data warehouse that gets data into a nice picture though. With specialized data converters and connectors, mines implementing the MineRP framework are able to seamlessly share data at the operational as well as executive levels, finally delivering on the promise of mining technical integration and standardization without the need to replace source systems across the organization.

For more information about the MineRP Enterprise Integration solutions, check out our offerings here, or contact me at estrydom@minerpsolutions.com.

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