With the goal of becoming a leader in the use of automation in its operations, a large copper mining company wanted to take advantage of an information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) convergence movement sweeping across industries.
In a highly competitive and rapidly changing technology landscape, the company knew that a digital transformation, aimed at bringing IT and OT together under a common governance structure, could be the difference between surviving and thriving.
With Accenture’s help, the company would launch a program to make better use of its technology and data, change the way it worked and ultimately, build a foundation to support its overall vision for digital transformation.
What Accenture did
The company and Accenture team designed and implemented unified technology governance and a common technology operating model across various sites and brought the management of IT and OT together under one new centralized technology organization.
Because of the complexity involved and because processes and technologies varied widely at different sites, the effort was divided into three phases:
The team used a Kanban board (a key tool to depict workflow visualization), created sticky notes to record ideas and gave presentations.
The team designed a global IT/OT convergence strategy, along with transition plans for each asset that would vary depending on the complexity.
The team launched strategy and transition plans as the company moved to a new technology organization that encompassed both IT and OT.
People and culture
Because the effort involved a significant change in culture, stakeholders were consulted throughout the project, helping people understand what was happening and building buy-in for the new approach.
The company and Accenture also highlighted the fact that the convergence of IT and OT would benefit the workforce by creating a wider variety of technical career paths, opportunities to learn and develop skills, and the potential for employees to apply their skills to a broader range of roles across the company’s operations and sites. Furthermore, they showed how the breaking down of silos and the integration of IT and OT teams will bring a more coordinated response to business requirements, the ability to share resources and exploit the same contracts, and significant cost reductions.
This initiative has provided greater visibility across the company’s technology landscape and enabled IT and OT to operate under a single model, using higher-quality operational data.
The new approach allows management to optimize operations from a holistic perspective and use technology more efficiently and effectively. It has also allowed the company to enhance its focus on safety, production volume and operational costs. And it has enabled leading practices such as predictive asset management and integrated planning and scheduling.
Finally, the unified approach to IT and OT has positioned the company to continue to better take advantage of digital technologies. Technology professionals can work as an integrated team to identify and address IT/OT-related problems and move quickly to replicate improvements and innovations across the company—which will be key to realizing the company’s transformation vision in the coming years.