Mining companies continue to face operational challenges such as a shortage of skilled people, limited availability of equipment, high energy costs, and high transportation costs. The utilization and availability of capital equipment directly impacts all these challenges. Machinery must be available as needed for uninterrupted production operations. Capital equipment is being placed in remote, hard-to-reach locations and often in extreme temperature ranges. This increases stress on that equipment. Energy efficiency is an increasingly important factor, particularly in areas where electrical energy or water resources are in limited supply.
Infosys recently briefed ARC Advisory Group about that company’s mining practice. Infosys’ mining practice has been evolving over many years to address issues such as:
Improving asset efficiency
Integrating operations to improve effectiveness
Reducing operational costs
Improving the safety and sustainability of people, assets, and the environment
Taking Mining Clients Along the Digital Maturity Path
To help them leverage the latest digital technologies to meet their varied operational challenges, participants in the global mining industry often need guidance to understand not only what technologies are available, but also what outcomes they can expect from deploying digital solutions. According to Infosys, Infosys Nia, the company’s next-generation artificial intelligence platform converges the Big Data/analytics, machine learning, knowledge management, and cognitive automation capabilities of Mana; end-to-end robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities of AssistEdge; advanced, high-performance and scalable machine learning capabilities of Skytree; and optical character recognition (OCR), natural language processing (NLP) capabilities and infrastructure management services. The briefing included a discussion of the Infosys Nia platform and 20 projects that the company has successfully completed in this industry.
Establishing a Lifecycle Process
To take full advantage of what Infosys and the Nia platform can offer, the client often needs to adopt a four-step process. Infosys calls the components in the process “Tracks” because each track should continue throughout the life of the mine operation. In other words, these four tracks are part of a continuous improvement program approach. Following these is essential for the success of the digital transformation journey.
The Customer Ultimately Owns the Solution
Infosys Nia provides a platform with a large selection of applications and tools to help the company’s clients begin the digital transformation journey. Since each mining business and operation’s situation is different, the implementation will take on client-specific characteristics. Infosys told ARC that its ultimate goal is to create a solution that makes it easy for the client to take ownership of the digital technology platform and the applications deployed.
To this end, it has created an open platform for mining, powered by the Infosys Nia platform.
Infosys partners strategically with appropriate startup companies to provide early-stage capital, mentorship, and product validation. This has added a variety of important functions to the Infosys mining industry solution, including asset health monitoring, air quality monitoring, and underground mine connectivity for employee safety. In addition, the Infosys Nia platform is designed to accommodate applications from other non-Infosys sources.
Infosys also has an extensive alliance partnership program, ranging from automation and operations technology providers to database, infrastructure, and analytics platform suppliers.
Infosys Mining Industry Successes
As we learned, recent examples of Infosys’ successful engagements with mining clients range from integrating business and operations (IT/OT) to creating systems that enable tracking and provide operational intelligence. Another application provides spend analytics on direct and indirect spend through procurement process transformation. Also, using artificial neural network (ANN) technology, the company developed a fleet intelligence solution for fuel consumption and driver behavior that affects fuel consumption and safety.
In several of the examples provided, Infosys not only completed a project, but also left the client with system capabilities for the future. For example, one project centered on helping the company integrate a newly acquired mine operation into its enterprise and operational functions. After the successful completion of the newly acquired mine, the resulting platform provided a playbook for integrating future acquisitions.
In several of the examples, Infosys is applying its Digital Transformation Framework based on Design Thinking and Agile Execution Model, to enable mining clients to continue to evolve their strategies over time. The Infosys Nia solutions provide a platform on which to add future innovations as they become available and needed.
With its extensive presence in the mining industry and partner ecosystem, Infosys can utilize its technology and mining know-how globally to enable their mining clients’ respective digital journeys. The company’s offering goes beyond technology to include continuous improvement strategies and associated training. Significantly, Infosys is willing and able to work with other suppliers to provide mining clients with a solution and platform for their unique requirements.
Mining companies that are looking for ways to improve their business performance should consider engaging with global IT services providers with specific mining industry domain knowledge, such as Infosys, as a potential partner to bring them into the digital transformation age.
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Keywords: Mining, Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networks, Digital Transformation, ARC Advisory Group.