Obtaining and analyzing critical program information from hundreds of geographically dispersed sites is an unproductive and time-consuming process for mining facilities. In an industry dependent on volatile commodity market prices, access to real-time, site-specific data can widen the windows of opportunity for profitable operations.

Program management tools with data visualization, such as our proprietary OneTouchPM™ solution, integrate with existing tool sets to provide geospatial references to site-specific data from multiple platforms. Consolidated information rolls up to provide trending and analysis support across the enterprise, while also enabling leaders to drill down to monitor performance within specific regions or sites. 

Enterprise Visibility

Access to usable, consolidated data is particularly vital for operations leaders in mining. A chief operations officer, for example, requires clear visibility across an enterprise consisting of multiple operating units and potentially hundreds of locations worldwide. This individual also needs to be able to analyze site-specific data to monitor project progress or manage issues.

Enterprise views support timely project and capital program implementation, but also overall portfolio planning. Consolidated information provides data on overarching cost versus value for various projects, highlighting dependencies and eliminating costly, one-off projects.

Compliance and Safety Risks

Mining operations are among the most heavily regulated from an environmental standpoint. With data visualization, corporate-level and on-site environmental, safety and health managers have real-time, or near real-time, access to the status of permits; restrictions associated with each permit; and commitments made in order to fulfill permit requirements. If issues arise, such as a spill, corporate leaders hundreds of miles away can monitor the response and make timely decisions using real-time data and see progress updates within dashboards.

Centralized document storage and automation of safety reports further streamline environmental, safety and health operation requirements. Data trending and analysis enables faster identification of trends at the enterprise and project levels. Field data is backed up electronically and all environmental and safety data is stored within a central document repository, further streamlining operational requirements by creating an automatic audit trail for regulatory bodies.

Active Field Management

The use of a central program management approach also allows mining organizations to make decisions in the field that efficiently respond to changing conditions or unexpected delays. For example, a flooding incident could temporarily shut down construction activities at Project Site A. The project manager in this scenario can review work requirements at nearby project sites and reassign resources to those sites in order to maintain productivity until work resumes at Project Site A. The project manager can then review available assets to reassign to Project A in order to bring it back on schedule following a delay.

Enterprise Value

Investment in corporate technologies is generally limited within the cash-constrained mining industry. However, data visualization tools do not require replacement of existing investments. Rather, such tools integrate with what exists and what will be implemented. Furthermore, the mining industry benefits from the development and testing of such tools in adjacent markets.

In 2010, centralized and consolidated information was a critical component for responding to and containing a massive crude oil spill resulting from a ruptured pipeline. In the power industry, data visualization helped Northeast Utilities complete its Greater Springfield Reliability Project $40 million under budget and two months ahead of schedule, far exceeding the cost of using such a tool.

Greater insights into operations provide for more efficient and streamlined planning. Rolling centralized data up to the enterprise level allows mining company leaders to better align investments with market activity. Implementation of standardized capital investment processes allows for prioritization based on organizational need and achieving strategic objectives. Centralized data streamlines and enhances an organization’s response to incidents — environmental and safety — in the field. Overall, quantifiable value gained through access to relevant, usable data provides mining companies with an immediate and sustained return on their technology investment.


Learn more about the enterprisewide value that can be generated through program management integrated with data visualization.

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Thomas is a senior project manager at Burns & McDonnell. With a career spanning more than 20 years, he has extensive experience with consulting and implementing project management services and technology, including Primavera products.