Riding the Digital Wave

How mining companies can use technology to outperform their competition

By now we’ve all heard the term “digital transformation” – the rethinking of existing business models and processes through the use of technology. We have read and been told that if we’re not transforming, we’re going to be left behind. That part is true, actually, but that’s not our point here. Our point is that we shouldn’t be talking about digital transformation as a thing – we ought to be acting on it. Easier said than done, right? Ernst and Young recently outlined a wave approach to digital transformation that offers a simple roadmap to help mining companies use technology to outperform their competition.

Call out:

“We don’t really talk about digital transformation, we do it. If you are focused on digital transformation as a noun rather than as a verb you are missing the point completely.”

John Allert, CMO at Formula 1 company McLaren

Wading in with Wave 1

Wave 1 activities add business value through optimization and automation. On their own, these activities are not transformational, the Ernst and Young study notes, instead they are foundational. Many mining companies are already knee deep in Wave 1. Some examples of Wave 1 activities include:

  • Working to end siloed and ungoverned data
  • Assessing opportunities for digitizing and exploiting legacy data
  • Updating and digitizing maintenance tactics
  • Focusing reporting analytics on providing actionable insight from existing data

Swimming strong in Wave 2

Wave 2 activities involve significant changes to mining companies’ business models. At this stage, mining companies are implementing technology tools designed to automate processes, gain deep actionable insights. Some examples of Wave 2 initiatives are:

  • Use of predictive analytics in maintenance strategies
  • Optimization tools to drive productivity
  • Provide context-sensitive decision support to both office and field staff
  • Integrate supply chain planning and procurement tasks to support rapid responses and pivots

On the lookout for sharks in Wave 3

It’s only here in the third digital wave that real disruption is the focus. Ernst and Young describes Wave 3 activities as the disruptive factors that may create significant changes in how the industry operates, requiring a change in business strategy on the part of industry players. Mining companies that have embraced Wave 1 and Wave 2 initiatives are better prepared to greet Wave 3 and the uncertainty that surrounds it. A few of the future trends impacting mining companies may include:

  • Shifting regulatory environments
  • Cybersecurity risks and the potential for major disruptions
  • A skills disconnect in the mining industry
  • New industry sectors (e.g., lithium)

Solve real business problems

The three waves Ernst and Young describes are helpful guidelines for mining companies to measure and advance their digital transformation. However, digital transformation is not simply adopting new technologies that promise to do things better, stronger, or faster. To be valuable, technology needs to solve real business issues and contribute to your primary operational goals. It makes sense to be both practical and prudent when targeting new technologies. Sometimes, simply investing in integration tools or expanding the use of current applications to additional areas will generate a lot of wave action. Sometimes, more is needed.

Mining Industry ERP solutions

A mining industry ERP application is a technology tool that can help you ride the waves, with functionality that supports the very initiatives Ernst & Young lists in its study. Mining ERP provides broad functionality you can use to  enhance asset management, engage in predictive equipment maintenance, improve reliability and consistency, monitor project effectiveness, recruit and retain a qualified workforce, and automate financial reporting.

Mining ERP harnesses your organization’s data across departments and geographies, delivering end-to-end, front office to back functionality in a cohesive, accessible database. Armed with real-time, comprehensive insight and analytics, the decision makers in your organization can plan optimized operations and your workforce can deliver on the plans. With industry-specific features and functions, Mining ERP applications can be the accelerant that activates your digital transformation and provides you with a competitive edge.

Partner for advantage

To advance your digital effectiveness, all components of your mining operations should be aligned with your company’s strategic goals — including your technology partner. A technology partner with experience in mining operations will help you maximize the value of technology by providing services including:

  • Thorough, collaborative analysis of business requirements, current processes, and desired improvements
  • System design aligned with organizational goals
  • Software evaluation, selection, implementation, and training
  • Best practice recommendations based on industry expertise
  • Technology consulting, recommendations, installation, and monitoring
  • Product expertise to maximize usability and functionality
  • Global perspective to promote a unified implementation across geographic boundaries

Taking digital action

Mining companies must embrace technology or risk being left behind by their more agile and technologically savvy competitors. Your company’s journey toward digital effectiveness starts with a clear digital plan and continues with deliberate actions, including smart technology choices. Caron Business Solutions focuses on helping mining companies achieve the next level of performance through the deployment of the right-fit technologies, including mining industry ERP solutions. Contact us to learn more.



Paul has been involved with ERP software for almost 30 years with a focus on the mining industry. His experience as an accountant, implementation consultant, programmer, and business owner, enables him to have a well-rounded perspective. Known for his depth of knowledge and passion for technology, Paul’s expertise benefits many clients in mining and related industries.