To continue mining’s history of adapting leading technologies, Integrated Business Planning platforms are desirable
Mining companies have been at the forefront of technological innovation, which enabled them to best…
I recently had the pleasure of moderating a webinar involving KPMG in Canada and Dundee Precious Metals – a Canadian-based, international gold mining innovator. The event explored Integrated Business Planning (IBP) and the mining industry software solutions that are helping companies to utilize the right digital technologies to accelerate and optimize their corporate decision-making.
The thrust of the hour-long webinar was that faster, more reliable forecasting and integrated planning processes, which draw data from multiple sources into highly visual, interactive dashboards, deliver significant advantages to mining companies. The end-game was put best by Hume Kyle, Executive VP and CFO at Dundee Precious Metals, who presented and was also quoted in the webinar press release:
“The digital revolution and increasingly rapid technological innovations are creating opportunities to transform the way we do things, offering safer, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions to how we approach our business. Being a leader in innovation is one of our strategic objectives, and we see a lot of potential for technology to provide significant insights into our business and to help the successful execution of ‘DPM’s strategy.” – Hume Kyle.
Heather Cheeseman and Erik Woods of KPMG in Canada began the webinar by pinpointing mining industry trends and technologies on the adoption fast track. These included blockchain, robotic process automation, and data analytics, which lend themselves to the digitalization of work processes and accelerate task automation. Specifically, IBP systems can help streamline functions and create back-office efficiencies.
Drawing on a wealth of information from KPMG’s annual survey of global mining executives and other research, Heather and Erik confirmed that respondents view technological disruption as more of an opportunity than a threat.
Alongside these research-backed insights, the webinar explores a very real example of how Dundee Precious Metals (TSX: DPM), a true mining innovator, is transforming their business and operations, led by the Office of Finance.
DPM began a comprehensive financial transformation strategy three years ago, which, now in full swing, has recently reached the end of Phase One Implementation.
The strategy and implementation encompass:
Below are six mining industry software solution takeaways identified from the webinar and DPM’s implementation of an integrated operational and financial planning solution using Board.
Finance cannot be an outlander to the company. Financial leadership and business insights are required to power the successful execution of the company strategy. With that guiding light, DPM pinpointed vital plans and objectives consistent with the bigger picture:
DPM had success-accelerators down pat in its presentation, as laid out by project lead Anna Ivanova, Director of Business Systems at DPM.
First, standardize and structure your framework towards a scalable, enterprise-wide system, one that maintains standard data definitions and conventions. Use activity-based management tools that support current and future Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms. Replace Excel as the primary interface and reporting tool with a modern IBP solution.
Second, make it all integrated and accessible. Remove information barriers and provide ready access to all users, leveraging available technologies to enable integration and analytics. This will produce a robust, rolling plan with varying granularity across all time horizons for the life of the assets.
Third, do not pay lip service to embody rapidity and robustness into the solution. Create the capacity to rapidly run and analyze multiple scenarios based on changes in performance drivers. Only accept automated dashboards and reports that have drill-down capability and can quickly generate. More timely, informed, and therefore optimal operating-and-capital investment decisions will result, increasing stakeholder confidence.
At its core, a BPS should have a robust operational and financial reporting & analysis model that constantly monitors the performance of multiple systems and plans, assembling truthful, decision-ready information. The information and insights provided help drive a dynamic annual budget, a 24-month rolling forecast, a 3-year plan, and a long-range forecast.
All projects will ebb and flow; it’s how you deal with them that makes the difference between successful, smooth-running client-vendor co-operation or frustration, misunderstandings, and even impasses. So, in addition to daily calls, emails, texts, and what have you, a biweekly steering committee review is imperative. In fact, it is the hallmark of the project roadmap – especially the past 12 months.
The selection and design of an ultimately successful mining industry software solution requires client input and understanding of their prerequisites. They should be willing to make trade-offs between an off-the-shelf solution and a flexible configuration, as no one product will perfectly fit every need. Their technology roadmap should be advanced, i.e. a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environment. It should engage a solid, proven solution, with an architecture having understandable data definitions. Most importantly, in the selection and design phases, the client must develop their internal capacity and team skills to go live with a sustainable solution aligned with the roadmap when they want to.
The final success factor has to do with implementation. As made clear by DPM, any vendor can come and try to sell a software solution. But the winning vendor has to grasp what the client is trying to achieve instinctively, become knowledgeable with it in detail, and come back with a definitive, sensible plan – one that is achievable – to meet the client’s goals. This is more than a vendor; it is a true partner.
And so those three aspects – proper partner selection, system design and scalability, and a plan to implement and unpack the ‘CFO’s vision within the solution – became the key factors that differentiated Board from the competition, according to DPM.
Forward-looking mining operators are investing in significantly improving data, analytics & digital planning across their businesses. To learn more about mining industry trends and, specifically, IBP for mining, watch the Board International, KPMG in Canada, and Dundee Precious Metals on-demand webinar.
Join KPMG, Dundee Precious Metals, and Board International to discover how mining companies are using digital technologies by watching this on-demand webinar.