How Newcrest is reaping millions from its overhauled IT strategy
CDRU is the first independent advisory group in Australia to be accredited to the program and will support businesses in their transition to our access network.
According to NBN Co, CDRU will provide full end-to-end digital transformation support to connect businesses to the broadband network, ensuring the potential strategic value of it within the telecommunications supply chains.
“Both public sector and large Australian enterprises can plan network transformation, migrate to cloud services, reduce rick and operating costs to ensure the strategic value of the NBN access network is fully leveraged.”
Newcrest Chief Information Officer, Gavin Wood says investments in AI and data Analytics will save the company millions. Photographer Christopher Pearce
Mr Wood puts the company’s innovation kick down to the substantial fall in gold price in 2014-15, which pushed the company to become more efficient and change to insulate itself better against future fluctuations.
“The gold price falling enabled us to drive a lot of radical changes around simplifying the landscape and getting everything into the cloud,” he said.
“It was also a unique opportunity for us to reset the team from scratch … I put in place a new leadership team made up of more junior people and, rather than crawl back into the cave and wait for gold to improve, we embarked on an ambitious agenda even though funding was constrained.”
Low cost projects
One of the firm’s big advantages now, Mr Wood said, was its ability to deliver transformational projects without blowing out its IT costs.
“We’re in a best-in-class position be it cost metrics, or percentage of IT spend compared to revenue, or IT spend per full-time equivalent,” Mr Wood said.
As well as DLG, Newcrest has also worked closely with vendors such as SAP, Microsoft and IBM and was the first mining company in the world to implement IBM Watson. It also works with start-ups such as Petra Data Science and Israeli company Razor Tech.
It now has 120 data science models in operation across the business and it uses predictive artificial intelligence to reveal when equipment will fail ahead of time and to generate more “recovery” (more gold) from each tonne of ore.
For each tonne of ore there is generally between one and three grams of gold and how much gold Newcrest “recovers” from the tonne depends on the site and equipment used.
Thanks to investments in IoT sensors and AI, Mr Wood said the company was aiming to boost its overall recovery by 2-3 per cent, which will equate to millions in earnings.
After an eight-month pilot, in August Newcrest launched the Newcrest Crowd platform to crowd-source ideas for tech projects. It has also opened this up to other mining players to broaden the network.
It stemmed from its use of hackathons to come up with tech solutions to challenges the business was facing, and Mr Wood said it enables Newcrest to innovate, while keeping costs low and overcoming the local tech talent shortage in areas like data science and AI.
“We haven’t found specific skills hard to fill because we have a broader way of addressing talent,” he said.
“It’s looking at talent through a different lens. Rather than having a bum on the seat, it’s looking at how to engage with innovators. It’s the outcome that matters.
“Many of those who have won the competitions have gone on to start their own businesses … we don’t seek to own the IP … but we want a preferential right-of-use licence for what is developed.”
Yolanda Redrup, Technology Journalist – The Australian Financial Review – How Newcrest is reaping millions from its overhauled IT strategy – click to read full article in the AFR