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September 22, 2017
How being in the cloud helps natural resources companies underground
By: Amy Dale

With oil prices slumping, declining ore grades and commodity prices eating into margins, natural resources companies are scrambling to cut costs and boost efficiencies. In doing so, they’re increasingly looking to cloud computing to help them get leaner, operate and innovate faster, and gain market share quickly.

Leading companies are partnering with providers such as Amazon and Azure to launch apps in public and hybrid clouds (a blend of public and private). They’re replacing legacy with software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, learning what works quickly, and weeding out apps that don’t help improve bottom-line results. They’re also finding a great deal of value in such cloud-based tools as analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help optimize their operations.

Analytics alone is, in many ways, revolutionizing the natural resources industries.
What used to take days or weeks now takes hours or minutes. Companies can analyze critical data such as equipment breakdowns, infrastructure damage, and even operator fatigue in real time. That translates into huge cost savings and much greater efficiencies. And they’re doing it with technology that’s existed for many years but is now much more economical in a cloud model.

Indeed, of all the elements that make for a successful cloud implementation, regardless of industry, data is arguably the most important. The cloud enables natural resources companies and organizations across industries to glean extremely valuable insights from the data they already own—and to do so far more quickly than they ever could through their own data centers.

One company’s experience illustrates the cloud’s transformative potential.
The Connected Mine solution, built for Freeport-McMoRan by Accenture and Avanade using the patented Accenture Connected Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) on Microsoft Azure, provides a single application that can quickly alert personnel so they can prevent productivity and safety risks before they become a problem.

In addition the solution offers:

  • Rules-based alerts based on real-time mine data to reduce machine downtime and inventory costs.

  • Combined mobile, cloud and analytics to more effectively track asset utilization and yields. The solution leverages the patented Accenture Cloud Platform to add computing power, as needed, and launch new capabilities and services for the business in a matter of days, as flexibility is critical in a highly volatile commodity business.

  • Advanced data analytics, visualizations and specific recommendations communicated in near real-time to mine supervisors help drive intelligent operations with greater business insights to unlock new value.

Accenture and Avanade will continue to build new functionality into the Connected Mine solution, including dynamic mine planning, drill visualization and blast optimization. These and other enhancements target increased response times to mining process issues via real-time alerts to supervisors armed with ruggedized tablets and mobile phones.

The cloud is a powerful ally in the fight for growth and profitability.
It represents a low-cost point of entry for companies that want to take greater advantage of data, analytics, experimentation, and many more real business benefits. And, the easy-to-consume nature and affordability of cloud services make it much easier for companies to weather a downturn as well as manage more effectively in less lean times.

Incisive CIOs across industries understand that the future of their business is in the cloud. They’re embracing cloud resources to position themselves for success—regardless of market conditions.

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