Cloud computing in the mining industry
Posted in Articles on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 by Richard Vester - Director, EOH Cloud Services
Mining companies around the world are facing many challenges, such as managing unique operational complexities and staying profitable in tough economic times, under tremendous global pressures. Cloud computing has long been touted as one of the Internet's greatest success stories, revolutionising many industries by improving operations, efficiencies, accuracy and so on.
Mining is no different, and we are now seeing organisations in this sector realising the potential of cloud computing in transforming the industry, and slowly embarking on a cloud journey.
Cloud technology as a growth driver in mining
Cloud computing is set to be a major driver of growth in the mining industry, which is very competitive and deals with fixed resources. Mining organisations that adopt cloud technology can look forward to vast improvements in operations and well as major returns on investments. At the same time, adopting cloud technology will greatly reduce general running costs.
Speaking of increased efficiencies, cloud computing simplifies operations by boosting automation, and therefore lessening the number of tasks that need to be done manually. In fact, many tasks can be automated completely through the cloud, which in turn increases consistency in operations, and lowers the chance of any equipment failures.
Cloud technology driving down expenses
This in turn will ultimately reduce expenses. All businesses today need to do more with less. The pressure is on to increase revenue and cut costs, and mining organisations are in the same boat. Here again, cloud can be of enormous benefit. Firstly, the burden of ownership is removed and, alongside that, the burden of maintenance and servicing. No huge capital expenditure is needed, reducing start-up and operational costs, and maintenance and suchlike now falls under the purview of the cloud provider.
Consuming infrastructure, applications and services via the cloud enables mining businesses to be far more flexible, as these services can be tailored, and then adapted to the businesses' needs as they evolve. ERP, workflow, scheduling, business intelligence, payroll - the list goes on - all of these functions can be migrated to the cloud to further lower costs.
Cloud computing offers centralisation, control and agility
For mining companies that have multiple mines, across several locations, cloud technology will assist with centralising functions and controls, and will also standardise operations across the disparate locations. This in turn allows mines to share their infrastructure across their multiple sites, allowing them to take advantage of economies of scale. Moreover, centralisation and standardisation allow mining companies to be far more agile.
And it's greener
There is also the question of "being green", and lowering the mining industry's carbon footprint. Cloud computing is a sustainable choice, which greatly lowers greenhouse gas emissions, and saves on power consumption and data centre costs.
Richard Vester has been in the ICT industry since 1997, intimately involved in product development, operations and product marketing. He has worked for some of the leading ICT companies in South Africa and joined EOH as the Divisional Director Cloud Services in 2012. He has a detailed knowledge and understanding of cloud computing and has developed one of the leading cloud businesses in Africa.