Information Technology in Natural Resource Organisations

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1 white paper Information Technology in Natural Resource Organisations A look into the future

2 Executive summary Key take-outs from this paper 1. We identify 14 key trends taking shape in the Natural Resource industry, and propose innovative ways to improve business agility and output efficiencies, while dealing with smaller allocations in opex and capex budgets 2. We consider how the focus of Natural Resource ICT teams will move beyond the traditional back office compute, adding greater value to the business and becoming more integrated into the operations of the organisation 3. We discuss the four main business ual drivers where ICT teams need to focus energy and make investments in the short to medium term This paper provides Dimension Data s conceptual view of future ICT trends in the Natural Resources sector. Overview As global markets contract and operating conditions deteriorate, industries across the spectrum, from retail to financial services, are looking internally to find the efficiencies that will open up competitive advantage and keep them in business. Natural Resources as an industry is part of this crosscontinent, cross-industry trend. Not only do Natural Resources Organisations experience the same challenges facing all businesses, they must also contend with continued pressure to improve their corporate profile, while adding more value to the governments of the countries in which they operate. With resource prices that are volatile, and the unpredictable changes in the cyclical demand for resources, executive teams are under great pressure to constantly improve their operating models. This leads to the need for the Information Communication Technology (ICT) organisation to be more agile in the way it responds to the operational and commercial needs of the business. This paper provides Dimension Data s conceptual view of future ICT trends in the Natural Resources sector. We start with the emerging trends of ICT in Natural Resources. Pictorially, this can be summarised as follows: 1. Community education, empowerment and upliftment 2. Governance risk and compliance 3. Energy monitoring and management 4. Green friendly ICT 5. Decision fatigue support safety systems 6. Environmental management business process automation 7. Water management, monitoring and reporting 8. Proactive safety location awareness decision support systems 9. Situation management 10. Security management Sustainability Operations IT in Natural Resource - A look into the future 1. Natural Resource Network of the future 2. Virtualising the industrial process compute power 3. The integrated information framework for Natural Resource companies 4. Cloud for IT industrial applications 5. Asset tracking and management for Natural Resources 6. The Integrated Command Centre for converged operations 7. Rapid deployment of robust and module hosting infrastructure for application and data workloads for new sites and exploration 8. Business Warehouse integrated to MES 9. Mobile connected operations devices People at work 1. Cloud for back office applications 2. Natural Resources ICT becomes a managed ICT Utility service globally 3. Thin Operating platforms enabling effective ICT operations 4. Application management services 5. Cloud for commercial ERP 6. Move to best of breed applications away from a one stop shop approach 7. Information Explosion, making sense of large volumes of data Commercial 1. Records and Documents Management 2. Collaborating inside and outside the organisation 3. Converged communications framework 4. Connecting the mobile worker 5. Mobility and the new age of the compute model 6. Data protection in mobile devices 7. Protecting company information assets 01

3 Dimension Data s vision of delivering value to the ICT business, segments ICT outcomes into four main delivery s for the Natural Resources organisation. In these four s we can roll out all the operational benefits of standardisation and increased efficiency at the face of operations, where ICT can have the most impact and deliver the most returns. Below, we explore each to describe where it fits in the Natural Resources business, then at a high level discuss the ICT techniques and tactics that the organisations may encounter moving forward. This paper does not seek to provide an all-encompassing view on all aspects of the Natural Resources ICT business, but rather to provide around some of the key aspects in ICT that we predict will impact and drive the ICT organisation in the future. This blueprint is based on our rich 28 year heritage in deploying networked communications for global clients, and using our technology expertise to help them do business in more logical and efficient ways. Operations Trend 1: The Natural Resource Operations of the future will be driven by cost optimisation. This will involve optimising business processes to extract as much value from operations as possible, and is driven by the pressures caused by volatile trading conditions, including labour, supply and demand and fluctuating price variables. We foresee that advancing technologies and business automation at the extraction level will lead to the adoption of more mechanised solutions these will require more monitoring and management from a communications perspective. This means that there will be a closer tie between the engineering and ICT disciplines in the business as they work together to achieve the desired business outcomes. And this in turn will lead to the adoption of convergence of techniques and technologies between ICT and engineering. An example of this is the converged network between commercial and industrial IT (one physical network to run asset protection, PLC, SCADA, Historians and commercial IT, but logically segmented and protected to ensure data transmission is secure and does not impact on operations uptime). Trend 2: Technologies like virtualisation, which are commonly used in the commercial ICT space, will start to be used in the industrial IT space. This will enable teams to look at applications that drive cost out of operations but also enable operational agility and flexibility. Examples of this are in the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) space and the data historian compute space. We see these compute platforms being virtualised to create a reduced operations platform that improves availability and failover while reducing support costs. Trend 3: There will be more convergence in the networking space as the engineering and ICT infrastructures begin to coexist on the same physical infrastructure. An information explosion in the operational space will continue as more data is fed from the shop floor back into the business data warehouse. A shared services infrastructure will become more standard as the industrial ICT functions start to benefit from reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) and increased uptime and agility through shared (i.e. non-dedicated) services like storage, compute power, networks and backups. Over time, as the trust grows between the engineering and ICT circles, these shared services would become merged, with the commercial shared services and the information will become managed in a single mine site infrastructure, that is more cost effective to run and provides the operations team with the ability to flex, grow and shrink as required. Ultimately, operations in Natural Resource organisations will look to adopting cloud models to enhance and, in some cases, take over existing support on key infrastructure. An example of this is the SCADA and Historian layer, where the infrastructure could be purchased as a private cloud service with associated uptime service level agreements (SLAs) that meet the engineering team s needs. This is a great, cost effective alternative to the business buying, owning and continuously upgrading the infrastructure at great cost, and has the added benefit of allowing cash flow flexibility in operations. Further to this with the advent of the operations teams investigating more and more automated techniques specifically for great depth mining, we see the need of ICT to step up and ensure the correct communication technologies are in place to support the new mining methods being planned and adopted. 1. Natural Resource Network of the future Converged Networking for Natural Resource, from the industrial network to the commercial network, including the move to mechanised operations techniques. 2. Virtualising the industrial solutions compute power e.g. SCADA, Historians, Mining/Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). 3. The integrated information framework for Natural Resource driving holistic information management, processing and distribution across the ISA-95 standards framework. 4. Cloud services for industrial operation based solutions. 5. Large capital intensive asset management for Natural Resource. 6. The Integrated Command Centre for Natural Resource for converged operations (centralising the expertise but dispersing the knowledge). 7. Rapid deployment of robust and module hosting infrastructure for application and data workloads for new sites and exploration (data centre in a container). 8. Business warehouse with enterprise integration to the MES layer including real time account metrics (e.g. water, energy etc). This will drive Operational Business Intelligence reporting and decision making. 9. The mobile connected operations device (working with mobile information and devices at the operations workface hence improving work management processes). 02

4 Commercial Trend 4: The Commercial for Natural Resources will be driven by targeting ICT to be even more effective and efficient in the areas they have traditionally operated. ICT will be expected to do more and deliver greater value than ever before. ICT will be seen as a utility type service that can be procured as a pay per service model. Traditional thinking that one ERP solves all issues will be replaced by a model that enables integrated information across applications. This enables the business planning function to execute on the provision of accurate, consistent and quality data to decision makers in the business. Aspects around business logistics and supply chain will get more focus from the business and ICT teams as there is a drive to reduce costs in this area and be more proficient and efficient in driving supply for the mining operations. Trend 5: Cloud computing will become more relevant for the Natural Resource organisations as they strive to drive up service levels, reduce costs, improve agility and retain core focus on the desired outcomes of the business. The question of having large in-house ICT teams on site to support the applications and infrastructure base will be answered by looking at a thinner operating model in adopting fit for purpose cloud services. Non-core applications will be purchased as public cloud services where possible and core applications that require more agility and tighter security will be purchased as private cloud services. Trend 6: Legacy applications will still be an important part of the Natural Resource business. These applications are often sweated for many years and still add great value to the business decision making processes. To rip and replace them, at great cost is not effective, but to retire these applications over time in a planned portfolio roadmap approach is potentially the better way to proceed. This leads to Natural Resource organisations requiring a strong Application Managed Service that will cover the scope and depth of the application portfolio of the business. We see the need for Natural Resource companies to have strong application support providers, and there may be many of these companies operating within the organisation. This adds complexity in the application portfolio, but it s imperative that all the companies servicing the application portfolio are managed and are driven to deliver a common agreed. To this end, we believe that a standardised management process will be used to help manage the end to end portfolio in a consistent manner. Trend 7: Outsourcing will be common as organisations require agility to simplify their application portfolio with the flexibility to reduce services on certain vendors and increase services on other vendors. This flexibility will allow ICT to be agile to business demands. As Natural Resource organisations seek to simplify their applications portfolio, we believe they will turn to centralised, governance-based organisations to manage the end to end application portfolio and take the risk of managing multiple vendors off their hands. The difficulty to get resources to the location where the Natural Resource organisations operate, also drives the need to outsource skills required in the ICT space. This drives consistency as well as agility of delivery in the medium to long term in the applications, infrastructure and communications areas of ICT. 1. Cloud for back office applications e.g. Messaging, Business Intelligence, Business Portals, Collaboration and Presence Solutions, Voice and Video, Knowledge Management, Document and Records Management etc. 2. Natural Resources ICT as a managed ICT utility service across global operating environments creating a consistent level of service across business operations globally. 3. Thin Operating Platforms approach to architecture design enabling effective ICT operations and support with the focus on managing geographically diverse sites that often have a shortage of skills. 4. Application Management Services for Natural Resource including support, bespoke development, management, consolidation and application portfolio management. 5. Cloud for commercial Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions and other commercial applications like Payroll Management, Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Asset Management, Safety Health Environmental Quality and Risk System (SHEQR) etc. 6. Move to best of breed business applications away from a one stop shop approach. 7. Information explosion, working with shared services networks and technologies that store and manage large quantities of data. This is at the assets location and at the regional and corporate offices. Covering aspects like the WAN and LAN connected challenge, retaining records, catching of information, storage and retrieval etc. 03

5 8. Adoption of supply chain and logistic global partners that drive efficiencies in the business supply chain model in key areas of the business process. 9. Enterprise compute model approach to delivery of agile and flexible ICT services to the business. People at work Trend 8: The People at Work component of Natural Resource business will focus on the connected organisation. Many Natural Resource companies have global and local operations that are geographically dispersed. This leads to difficulties in getting experts to the problems as they arise, as well as sharing and collaborating on ideas and concepts to drive efficiencies and good practices in the business. There s a need for many different collaboration technologies in Natural Resource businesses, from the high definition video conference, to the telephone conference and the messaging conference using text. We also see a lot more social media collaboration with people outside the organisation on often unprotected communication platforms. Internet sites like LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo and many blogging sites to mention a few are great ways to collaborate over distance and across organisation boundaries. However, the inherent risk is that this can lead to sensitive company data being released into the general public domain. Company reputation is at risk and needs to be managed in a more formal manner. Technologies that enable people to better collaborate inter-company and between individuals will come to the fore to enable safer information management amongst industry peers. Further to this, the advent of the mobile age has motivated many end users to use their own devices on the company network, with company information freely available for download and dissemination. This leads to the information risk of company data ending up in the wrong hands. Trend 9: Mobility information protection will increase moving forward, and there will be many new uses for mobile devices in the business domain, e.g. Electronic board packs, the cell phone enabled video conference, connectivity and presence to connect the correct employee to the situation as and when needed etc. Understanding this information dissemination, while protecting the content and still not over imposing company controls on individual devices will require a balancing act for ICT. Technology is not the only answer to the problems in this space. There is a strong policy and governance component that needs to be put in place and that is enabled with different sets of technologies. The need to ensure that all aspects of the mobility conundrum are covered means that Natural Resource businesses should look to ensuring they have a defined mobility framework that covers all aspects of the mobile connected information worker. Once this framework and the business policies and procedures are in place, ICT should drive the technology adoption to support the information protection policies as defined by the business. 1. Records and document management for Natural Resources. 2. Collaborating within and outside of the Natural Resource organisation, covering social media and ICT technologies for the connected organisation. 3. Converged Communication, a framework for communication technologies and techniques that enable people to communicate at work within Natural Resource businesses, including video, voice, virtual reality, messaging, presence, conferencing, single number, blogs and wikis, social media, cloud based data storage and backup etc. 4. The mobile worker connectivity framework, including hotspots, travel, home, branch, mobile, roaming, campus etc. 5. Mobility and the new age of the compute model, enabling business to utilise individuals mobile devices for business value added functions e.g. safety event reporting, online audits, work and purchase approval processes, asset optimisation, board packs etc. 6. Data protection in the mobile era, enabling company data to be protected on mobile devices. 7. Protection of the company information assets including endpoint security, device management and provisioning, network access protection, data leak protection, role based access control, data lifecycle management, data classification, regulatory and statutory requirements and social media protection. Sustainable business Trend 10: Sustainability will be driven around the license to extract resources in the country of origin of the Natural Resource organisation. Key aspects of the green discussion, reducing carbon footprint, environmental management and employee safety are drivers in this space. The quality and risk management activities required to manage a good business governance model remain important factors. Added to this, many countries are requiring better community planning and the bigger Natural Resource companies are been looked at to add value to the communities in which they mine. We see a ramping up of proactive safety solutions such as people location awareness solutions and driver fatigue systems where safety is managed more proactively. Trend 11: Going forward, information integration will become more important in safety as systems such as training, location awareness, vehicle awareness, security and video analytics are linked to create a of the safe environment for employees, where alerts can be correlated to drive event management in safety. If information is not integrated, safety management will remain reactive. More effort will be channelled into energy management solutions that allow the of usage to be better realised and the correct decisions to be made in deploying better technologies to manage the power usage of the Natural Resource organisations. We understand that Natural Resource organisations may have challenges relating to unions and other industry players accepting the need to automate certain business processes, but the conversation of business surrounding the benefit to the safety of company employees should outweigh the negative outcomes that may arise. An example of this is: tracking people may be perceived as people being monitoring where people are going, 04

6 this can be discussed in the of understanding a person s location to prevent unsafe events happening and also to locate people in the event of a fall of ground. Trend 12: ICT will play a bigger role in measuring and reporting on sustainability matters. Management of the Occupational Health, Safety, Risk, Quality and Environment will become more important from a sustainability perspective. One of the factors driving this development is the growing tendency of governments to consider increased taxation as well as larger fines of organisations that are deemed not to be good corporate citizens. ICT will become a further enabler of technologies that allow business functions to operate in a more holistic fashion and to collate and disseminate information required in the decision-making process. Trend 13: The management of the SHERQ process will become more automated and the reporting around this to become a standard in the Natural Resources business communities. An integrated reporting platform across the SHERQ environment will become key for larger diversified companies. We also see the ICT around GRC becoming more important to the business. The protection of information in the modern mobile age is becoming more of a thorn in the ICT department s side. Trend 14: The management of asset protection will become more automated, utilising more ICT based solutions to collate, act on and manage the outcomes of business events The move to more situation-based alerting within the business using technologies that integrate camera based technology and situation based awareness technology will enable the asset protection business unit to be more agile and trace, track and manage the activities often associated with security in the operations. We see the move towards situation management technologies, where all situations from large disasters to operational failures can be collated and managed through a central management approach and function in the natural resource business. 1. Community education, empowerment and upliftment Bundled Teaching in a box solutions. 2. Governance risk and compliance SHERQ and IT GRC frameworks, policies, processes and technologies. 3. Energy monitoring and management carbon footprint monitoring and using Industrial technologies to reduce energy usage across the natural resources operations and ICT portfolio. 4. Adoption of green friendly ICT technologies and techniques e.g. virtualisation, cloud and greening the datacentre. 5. Decision fatigue driver and operator solutions for safety management. 6. Environmental management automation of business processes including monitoring and reporting. 7. Water management, monitoring and reporting. 8. People and equipment location awareness, linked into a proactive safety management decision support system. 9. Situation management solution to managed end to end events in the business. 10. End-to-end automated alerting and event management tied into surveillance based solutions. Many Natural Resource companies are already on the journey to optimising their ICT and are ahead of the curve in becoming more cost effective, agile and improving their efficiencies. Conclusion Many Natural Resource companies are already on the journey to optimising their ICT and are ahead of the curve becoming more cost effective, agile and improving their efficiencies. The journey takes time and needs careful planning and a clear roadmap to show the business value delivered by each project in the journey. The conceptual discussion above is aimed at helping strategic planning and inspiring Natural Resource organisations to look to the potential trends that may impact their business in the future. For further details contact: Bruce Taylor Leader Natural Resources Vertical Cell: Work: Dimension Data Just the facts Founded in Wholly-owned subsidiary of the NTT Group. 78% of Global Fortune 100 and 59% of Global Fortune 500 are clients. Over 6,000 clients across all industry sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, mining, government and education. Over 14,000 employees with operations in 51 countries across five continents and offices in 13 countries across Emerging Africa and the Middle East. Positioned as a Leader in Gartner s Magic Quadrant for Communications Outsourcing and Professional Services 2011.* * Gartner Magic Quadrant for Communications Outsourcing and Professional Services, 2011, Eric Goodness & Christine Tenneson, 15 December CS / GAU-0952 / 03/12 Copyright Dimension Data 2012 For further information 05

7 Middle East & Africa Asia Australia Europe Americas ALGERIA ANGOLA BOTSWANA CONGO BURUNDI DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO GABON GHANA KENYA MALAWI MAURITIUS MOROCCO MOZAMBIQUE NAMIBIA NIGERIA RWANDA SAUDI ARABIA SOUTH AFRICA TANZANIA UGANDA UNITED ARAB EMIRATES ZAMBIA CHINA HONG KONG INDIA INDONESIA JAPAN KOREA MALAYSIA NEW ZEALAND PHILIPPINES SINGAPORE TAIWAN THAILAND VIETNAM AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY NEW SOUTH WALES QUEENSLAND SOUTH AUSTRALIA VICTORIA WESTERN AUSTRALIA BELGIUM CZECH REPUBLIC FRANCE GERMANY ITALY LUXEMBOURG NETHERLANDS SPAIN SWITZERLAND UNITED KINGDOM BRAZIL CANADA CHILE MEXICO UNITED STATES For contact details in your region please visit

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