Imagine a restaurant in which the waiter, chef, and sous chefs did not have consistent communication with one another and had to rewrite tickets into different formats to send them to one another. Tickets would arrive in piles, started by the chef perhaps out of sequence, and then pile left in a central location for the next person to look at. Now imagine if someone makes a mistake and does not let the next person in line know that his part of the meal will be delayed. What you get is chaos. It would not make a lot of sense to organize a business that way. Yet, that is just what a many Natural Resources businesses do without realizing it.
Natural Resources businesses more often than not organize data (which should be strictly controlled to ensure it is accurate) in this way. They do so by creating silos between functions such as geology, engineering, scheduling and execution. Information does not flow well because it is in different formats and is not secure, nor timely, often shared via windows folders. The data is also not trackable because it is not versioned or attached to sources and changes as it is worked with/on. Using the wrong version of data? Better start your work again … or ignore the fact that the excavator just loaded trucks headed to the dump with high grade ore.
Data chaos also creates difficulties in reporting compliance. Can anyone really trust data that is not managed?
Digital continuity is a better approach. It allows data to propagate in a way that is managed, with role-based access to it. Data is also fully trackable. This means that no one is operating in the dark and that they are assured they are using the right data and have access to it when it is needed. Its integrity is further ensured because file format transpositions are not necessary. The result is faster and more accurate process execution. Processes become more stable and more agile since the latest information is always available. This leads to more accurate geology, which in turn supports better engineering plans and schedules.
Platforms that enable digital continuity ensure that anyone, even if they have just joined an organization will be access the right data to their jobs. It also turns individual processes into interconnected workflows with built-in approvals and notifications. This allows each step to be executed consistently and in a timely fashion. Users are informed when new data is available and on how to action it; and, this continues from one process and person to the next. If you were wondering if this enables best practices? Yes, it does.
Lines of sight can be created when you have digital continuity. Visibility into process execution can be established, allowing people to see what is on track, what is behind, and what is in danger of falling behind. The benefit, of course, is that it is much easier to keep things on track.
Digital continuity can be applied across all functions: exploration, feasibility, plant construction/site development, operations, etc. Everything is based on one single source of truth that is shared.
More data can be leveraged with digital continuity. It is much easier to innovate when you can access all of your data, historical and current, and use it in a controlled version way to explore your ideas. Imagine being able to use the CAD files used to design your plant operations by incorporating them into the creation of a virtual twin of your operation. It is possible with platforms that support this.
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