Drilling software compared. Which is best?
Want to know what’s the best software for running a drilling business? You’re not the only one!
‘Is CorePlan the best drilling software money can buy?’ is probably one of the most common questions we get asked - right after how much CorePlan costs. But, from talking to hundreds of drilling professionals at conferences, workshops and at the pub, we know that the question they actually want to know the answer to is “is CorePlan the best drilling software for us.”
It goes without saying that our goal is to be the best digital operations platform for drilling businesses on the market. However, it would be remiss to ignore the facts: other software providers are out there. But, something we’ve noticed is that it can be hard to find these companies without already having heard of them or knowing exactly what to type into Google.
So, to help you get started on your drilling business’ digital transformation journey, we’ve put together this list of the best drilling software companies - so you don’t have to!
In this article, I’ll walk through some of the most popular options on the market today and briefly overview what they offer. To finish, I’ll explain the types of customers that choose CorePlan from this set of choices and why.
So, if you want to find out how CorePlan’s digital operations software for drilling stacks up against our competitors in the drilling software game, read on!
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This article was produced in good faith by referencing publicly available materials on our competitors' websites in April of 2022. We have taken great care to be as accurate as possible based on the available material. If we have missed any information please don’t hesitate to contact us and request a revision.
Type of solution: digital forms and plods
Industry: mining, drilling, OHSEQ and other
Colleagues Matrixx (Colleagues) is a popular option in the Australian drilling market.
Colleagues have designed custom software for a range of industries, including mining and drilling, since 2005.
Their drilling product, Matrixx PLOD, works by using the Matrixx mobile app to record plod data in the field. The plod data entry interface using the Matrixx mobile app should look familiar to most. It’s similar in look and feel to Microsoft Excel, where data is entered into a cell on the plod sheet, but the heavy lifting in creating and sharing the template has already been done for you.
Once the data is collected, it’s sent to a central web portal for management by the office team. Here, it can be exported to share with clients via email, file transfer services (eg DropBox) or using collaborative tools like Google Docs or SharePoint. Some standard reporting is available on the web portal, with the option to add additional custom reports.
Colleagues is not an end-to-end solution out of the box. If you want to be able to pad out your workflow with invoicing, maintenance and payroll, or if you want to track costs and charges against a cost contract, you’ll need to purchase additional modules.
Colleagues’ customers won't be able to go completely paperless at the rig because the mobile app doesn’t store documents. However, you can create forms to capture other data such as take 5s, at an additional cost.
Type of solution: digital operations platform
Industry: exploration and production drilling
Krux Analytics was founded in Canada in 2016.
At a high level, Krux’s ‘Professional’ subscription level has all of the key features a driller would want from a software package to run their business, including digital plods, dashboard analytics, contract management, invoicing and digital forms and documents. Krux’s ‘Enterprise’ level customers also have access to payroll and bonus calculation features.
The software uses a mobile app to record data in the field (called KruxLog) that is then uploaded to a web portal (Krux Metrix) where the office team takes over management and analysis of the data. The product interface and branding are modern, with bold colours giving the data a strong visual impact.
Krux customers can purchase a variety of add-ons to enhance their workflow and take the depth of analytics to the next level.
For example, their custom analytics subscription add-on allows users to drag and drop metrics to build custom reports from within the web portal. If you’re into analytics, you may also want to purchase the global dashboard add-on that can give you a bird's eye view of your entire organisation. The base subscription only allows for analytics within projects.
Enterprise-level customers can purchase single sign-on (SSO) integration as an optional add-on to their subscription. No other options on the market claim to offer this functionality at the time of writing this article.
Type of solution: digital operations platform
Industry: exploration drilling
Launching out of Vancouver in 2019, Lantern calls on drilling businesses to ‘stop drilling in the dark’ by ‘illuminating every aspect of your drilling program in real time.’
Lantern was built specifically for drilling businesses with exploration clients. Like all of the software options we’ve discussed so far, Lantern works using a mobile app to web portal data collection process to replace pen and paper and spreadsheets and simplify the data approval workflow. This data is aggregated in dashboard reporting views for instant visibility into your drill programs. You can also automatically generate invoices using plod data against a cost contract. The product interface is visually appealing and easy to use with little to no technical experience required.
Lantern has an onsite audit reporting feature built into the mobile app as part of their base package pricing. On Lantern, your customisation options are limited (the forms are limited to site audits only at this stage). The form interface is a ‘start to finish’ style of data entry where you need to complete each section in a defined order. You can attach photos and notes to an audit and store important documents on the mobile app for your site team to access at any time, including offline.
Being Canadian, Lantern offers English and French language compatibility, but they have also recently added a Spanish language option into the mix.
Lantern’s exploration product facilitates visibility between drillers and their exploration clients by inviting exploration clients to log in to view costs and drill program data, approve plods and track the progress of a project.
Type of solution: digital plods and forms, human resources, asset management
Industry: mining (general)
PeopleTray is an ‘integrated platform for web and mobile data capture, communication, compliance, training, production tracking and timesheets.’
The platform was built to solve a variety of problems for the mining industry, offering customers a series of modules that each tackle a specific problem area, including:
- TeamTray: record personnel information and communicate with your team.
- SHEQTray: incident, event and hazard management and corrective actions workflow (digital forms that trigger alerts to management to respond to a report).
- AssetTray: asset compliance, plant and equipment service and maintenance, prestarts and inspections.
- CRMTray: add and manage companies, contracts, documents, notes and actions.
- TalentTray: recruitment management tools to keep track of advertised positions, applicant information and post internal job opportunities for existing staff. Plan FIFO shifts including flights, accommodation and camp management, rostering and compliance management tools.
Depending on the size of your drilling business, some modules may or may not be relevant for you.
The product wasn’t built specifically for drilling, but can be configured to suit the needs of drilling. So what does the PeopleTray workflow look like for a drilling business?
Drillers can use PeopleTray’s mobile app to submit their daily drill program reports into a digital plod form. The data is returned to the office for review on the web portal. The process for submitting a hazard report or checklist is very similar, using the mobile app to push data to the web portal. Data can be collected offline if users are working in remote locations.
What you won’t get with PeopleTray is invoicing and approval functionality, so you’ll need to purchase an additional tool(s) or implement alternative processes to manage these parts of your workflow at this time.
Type of solution: digital operations platform
Industry: exploration and production mining, drilling
We’ve spoken to hundreds of drilling professionals over the last few years and without a doubt Reflex is the number one brand name that comes up in conversation.
Reflex is a technology brand owned by IMDEX Limited, offering a variety of tech solutions to the minerals industry. They’ve been in the market the longest out of all the companies on this list, and they have an impressive global reach, with 19 office or warehouse locations spread across 5 continents. IMDEX also sell a variety of surveying tools under the Reflex brand that are widely used in the industry.
Drilling professionals tend to use the names ‘Reflex’ and ‘IMDEX’ interchangeably, but most of the time when they’re talking about Reflex, what they’re actually referring to is their digital workflow solution that’s made up of the IMDEX Mobile app and IMDEX HUB-IQ web portal, which are sold under the Reflex brand.
Reflex’s workflow begins with the driller using the mobile app to capture their data, which is consolidated into HUB-IQ for analysis and sharing. IMDEX-HUB IQ works as an online web portal for drilling supervisors to validate their field data, but it was also built to accommodate a wider set of industry needs outside of drilling businesses. For example, it also connects with Seequent for 3D modelling for your geo’s side of the workflow, plus it connects up with a range of Reflex-built tools that collect data from down the hole.
Reflex does not currently offer invoicing functionality on HUB-IQ. So, admin teams will need to arrange another system to charge their clients and have a data management plan in place to ensure that their invoices match the latest versions of the data and cost contract. There is also no built-in timesheet feature or add-on, so you’d need another system to manage payroll.
Type of solution: digital operations platform
Industry: mineral exploration, drilling
CorePlan is an all-in-one digital workspace designed for drilling professionals to run their entire end-to-end drilling workflow, from drilling holes to filling plods and billing clients.
It was initially developed specifically for exploration drilling. However, it’s now also being used for other types of drilling like grade control and geotech.
Like all of the options we’ve covered in this article, CorePlan works by using the mobile app to send plod data from the rig to the office. When your client sends you the list of holes, you can pre-load these into the app ready for your drillers to drill. Drillers enter their plod data either throughout their shift or at the end of the day (it takes around 5 or so minutes to complete). If working offline, the app saves a copy for when the driller gets mobile service.
The data is sent to the web portal where it goes through two layers of approvals (internal and client review) to automatically generate an invoice based on the conditions of your cost contract. The web portal also gives supervisors the flexibility to overwrite data or charges line by line or in bulk without having to start from scratch.
Supervisors can manage performance at the project or organisational levels using the global dashboard and performance charts, or they can export data to any third-party apps like Power BI for further analysis. It’s also possible to analyse your rigs’ time utilisation and schedule rigs for future drilling activities, all from within the web portal.
Which is best for you?
This is a difficult question to answer without knowing the specifics of your business. Our team are always available if you’d like to discuss your needs in-depth; however, for now, I’ll share some general advice that might help you narrow down on the best drilling software for your business.
Ultimately, the solution depends on the specific challenges that your team are facing and your budget.
For example, invoice reconciliation might be your team's most significant pain point. In that case, you’d want to remove any options that aren’t able to help you with this stage of your workflow and look at options like Krux, Lantern or CorePlan.
On the other hand, if you’re billing clients at a fixed rate, doing a relatively low volume of drilling and have minimal reporting requirements, a digital form tool like Colleagues Matrixx or PeopleTray might be right for you.
Finally, if you want to run a completely digitised workflow that replaces paperwork like pre-starts, take 5s, inspections and incident reports, you’d want to focus on the options that offer this either in the base package or as an add-on, like Krux, PeopleTray, Reflex or CorePlan.
Once you narrow down your problems, you can look at the other aspects that make up the complete user experience, like the product interface and customer service.
PS The App Store and Google Play Stores are great resources to help you see the mobile app interfaces and read verified reviews from real customers without having to take the next step and book a demo just yet.
Why are drillers like Topdrill, DDH1 and Raglan Drilling choosing CorePlan?
We know CorePlan is an excellent solution for drilling, but we also understand that every drilling company is different. We want to ensure that all of our customers choose us because CorePlan is the right fit for their needs and it's a decision that they feel great about making.
If you’re wondering why drillers like Topdrill, DDH1 and Raglan Drilling are choosing CorePlan, here’s why:
It consolidates multiple software packages into one
Are you using a mix of paper plods, mobile apps, spreadsheets and software licenses to run your drilling business? It doesn’t have to be this way.
CorePlan helps remove the chaos by bringing every stage of your drilling workflow into one easy-to-use package. Using CorePlan, you can:
- capture and approve plod data
- share it with your clients
- generate automatic invoices
- run reports and analyse your performance
This makes it easy for your drilling managers to understand your business’ position in real-time across all your projects from a single log-in.
It shaves off hours of invoicing time every billing cycle
Imagine trading hours of manual paperwork every month for a single click. CorePlan’s data approval workflow can help make this a reality for your team.
First, your drilling supervisor reviews and approves plod data. Then, it’s easy to share it according to your client’s requirements for approval. After sign-off, this approved data is automatically reconciled against your cost contract (including any special clauses) and a proforma is instantly generated.
This saves the back and forth at the end of the month as the client has already sighted everything. Export your proforma directly into an accounting package like MYOB or Xero and bill with confidence, knowing that every line item is correct every time.
It just works
Our philosophy is that just because drilling is a tough business doesn’t mean your software also needs to be. So, we’ve combined complex processes and data into a tidy software package that’s easy to use, understand and tweak without having to have a degree in computer science. The end result is software that your staff actually want to use and that actually does what you want it to do. In other words, it just works!
But, don't just take our word for it. Check out our wall of love!
Want to read more about drilling software before making a decision?
You’re in the right place! We’ve written multiple articles about drilling software on our drilling blog.
More from our blog
CorePlan is a cloud based operations platform that help people in mining work better together.
Exploration teams at Mining Companies (and Exploration companies) use CorePlan's Exploration Hub to plan, run and manage their drill programs.
Drilling Contractors use CorePlan's Drilling Hub to capture data from the field, share the data with their clients (which happen to be exploration companies and mining companies) and then invoice them.
As a modern SaaS platform you are able to easily subscribe and get started in a matter of days.