The Collaboration Revolution: How Technology is Redefining Work in Mining
Back in the day, the internet was pretty different from what it is now. Remember Netscape and Yahoo?
That was the era of Web 1.0, where people could only consume content on the internet without any meaningful interaction. It was mostly a one-way street, and users lacked the ability to generate their own dynamic content. Basically, it was a top-down system.
But then, the internet went through a huge transformation in the 2010s with the rise of Web 2.0. Social media platforms like Myspace and Facebook took center stage, and the introduction of smartphones, CRMs like Salesforce and Google Apps all paved the way for real-time collaboration and content creation. Suddenly, the internet became more interactive, dynamic, and engaging.
This shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 has revolutionized the way people work by allowing for greater collaboration and communication. The internet has become an essential part of our daily lives, from work to entertainment, education to social interaction.
In fact, the internet has taken over as the main platform for the modern-day workplace, replacing the traditional physical office. It's crazy how far we've come!
From Unconnected to Connected
Back in March 2020, when the pandemic hit, lots of people were skeptical about using programs like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. They were cool, but not really necessary. But when remote work became the norm, these tools went from being extras to essentials. Suddenly, stuff like in-person meetings or site visits were a thing of the past, and businesses had to rely on these tools to keep things running.
As a result, the use of collaboration tools shot up like crazy. According to the IDC, in just six months, the number of people using these tools across all industries grew by as much as it had in the previous five years. That's wild! It turned out that when people were forced to use these tools, they realized how great they were. Teams could stay connected, projects could keep moving, and people could keep being productive, even in tough times.
Now, it's interesting to think about how collaboration tools used to work. In industries like mining, for example, people used Excel, OneDrive, SharePoint, or some other on-prem system. But those tools weren't great for sharing information or working together. Collaboration was limited to whoever had access to the same stuff.
But in recent years, there's been a whole new generation of collaboration tools. Tech startups were the first to jump on board, but even industries like mining are starting to catch on. Tools like Miro, ClickUp, and Zoom have revolutionized the way people work together. They let teams collaborate in real time, whether they're in the same room or on opposite sides of the world. They break down silos and create a culture of collaboration.
The pandemic definitely sped up the adoption of these tools, but it also showed us just how important collaboration is. As remote work becomes more and more common, collaboration will be key to success. The ability to work together, share ideas, and communicate effectively will be critical in a world where the workplace is increasingly digital.
Leaders in all kinds of industries have figured this out and are building their own "Collaboration Stacks" to make sure their people can work together better than ever.
So what is a Collaboration Stack?
Let's talk about collaboration stacks. But first, what is collaboration? Simply put, it's the way people work together to create value around shared goals. And while it's not a technology thing, technology has made collaboration easier and more effective than ever before.
So what exactly is a collaboration stack? It's a set of tools and technologies that help people communicate, create and share content, stay productive, and gain insights within an organization. But not all collaboration stacks are created equal. For some, some people are still stuck using Microsoft Excel, One Drive, and email. Others might have a more modern cloud-based platform that seamlessly integrates different tools to improve communication and productivity.
A good collaboration stack is essential for any digital workplace. It helps teams work together more efficiently, leading to better productivity, innovation, and engagement. By using the right set of tools, organizations can break down silos and foster a culture of collaboration that ultimately drives success.
The 5 layers of Collaboration
Let’s talk about collaboration tech stacks. But first, what is collaboration? Simply put, it’s the way people work together to create value around shared goals. And while it’s not a technology thing, technology has made collaboration easier and more effective than ever before.
So what exactly is a collaboration tech stack? It’s a set of tools and technologies that help people communicate, create and share content, stay productive, and gain insights within an organization. But not all collaboration stacks are created equal. For some, some people are still stuck using Microsoft Excel, One Drive, and email. Others might have a more modern cloud-based platform that seamlessly integrates different tools to improve communication and productivity.
This is where people can be people, you know, have conversations, attend meetings, and even send short messages like they do outside of work. These collaborative platforms allow everyone to stay in the loop and access information in real-time, no matter where they are. It's like a modern digital workspace that breaks down those pesky data and communication silos.
Now, let's take a look at how this applies in the mining industry, specifically in the drill program workflow. Geologists, drilling contractors, and other stakeholders need to communicate during the planning, execution, and analysis of drilling programs. In the past, things like drilling status updates, approval information, field activity updates, sample locations, and general check-ins were typically done on paper or in Excel, or even worse, on-prem systems with shared licenses that made clear, real-time communication a challenge. But with a digital collaboration stack, all of these communications can be done seamlessly, helping everyone stay on the same page and work more efficiently.
The Content Layer is where all the good stuff lives. It's where you'll find all the files, documents, and media you need to get your work done. This layer is where you can create, share, and manage all kinds of content, from data and analytics to documents and presentations. And by connecting different tools within this layer, you can make your work easier and more efficient. For example, if you're running a tech startup, you might integrate your CRM with your Product analytics tools. Or if you're in the mining industry, you might integrate your drill program operations platform with your database. These integrations allow you to move data between tools seamlessly, without having to switch between different applications all the time.
In the mining industry, the Content Layer is especially important when it comes to managing all the information generated during a drilling program. You've got drill plods, assay results, geophysical surveys, and geological reports, just to name a few. By using collaboration tools that integrate with data management systems, geologists and other stakeholders can access and manage this content more efficiently. This streamlines workflows and makes collaboration more effective.
The Productivity Layer is where the real magic happens. This layer brings together the Communications and Content Layers with powerful integrations that save time and resources, making work easier and more organized. This layer offers a bunch of amazing tools like project management platforms such as ClickUp or drill program management software like CorePlan, as well as automation tools that take care of repetitive tasks and give more time for important work. The best part is that all of these tools work together seamlessly, ensuring that projects are completed quickly and efficiently.
In the drill program workflow, imagine how much more productive it would be to not have to manually enter data into spreadsheets or make countless phone calls to check on the status of holes and samples. With the right tools and integrations, talented professionals can spend less time stuck in spreadsheets and more time doing real work.
The Insights Layer is where things get really interesting. With improved communication, easy access to content, and productivity enabled through integration, your team can now measure the performance of their activities and projects visually and in real-time. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities and allows for better definitions of what success looks like. You can track metrics and set targets, and adjust your approach as needed to stay on track.
In the context of a drill program workflow, the Insights Layer is essential for monitoring and optimizing performance. With real-time visibility into the drilling program, geologists and other stakeholders can track progress, monitor drilling status, and view performance metrics such as drilling efficiency, drill rates, and costs per meter. By using collaboration tools that integrate with data analytics and visualization tools, you can access and analyze this information more effectively, and make more informed decisions. This layer helps you stay on top of things and take corrective actions when needed to ensure success.
The final piece of the puzzle is the Community Layer. What happens when you break down barriers, increase transparency, empower productivity, and communication? You get people working better together. You get communities of teams focused on solving problems and achieving peak performance.
In the world of mineral exploration, the Community Layer can bring together different teams and stakeholders involved in the drilling program - geologists, drilling contractors, and management. By breaking down silos and enabling collaboration across teams, the Community Layer can foster a culture of shared goals and mutual support, where everyone is working together towards a common objective.
Collaboration tools that enable community-building can connect individuals and teams with similar interests, expertise, or roles. For example, a community of geologists can be created where they can share knowledge, discuss best practices, and collaborate on solutions to problems they face in the field. Similarly, a community of drilling contractors can be established to improve communication and coordination during the drilling program.
The Community Layer can also provide opportunities for learning and development, where individuals can share their experiences, learn from others, and build their skills. This can help create a culture of continuous improvement, where everyone is encouraged to learn and grow.
It's time to leave the past in the past
If you’ve got this far into reading this you’re probably wanting to make change in your organisation. They’re planning on putting 4G on the moon (lol actual) but you’re still stuck there shackled to a bunch of spreadsheets and some crappy software that crashes all the time.
Throwing all that out the window and putting together a well thought out stack of tools that connect seamlessly with each other is only half the way. But it is not the end all and its definitely not something that starts working overnight. Why?
Because this transformation is a process and a journey. And it’s heavily driven by culture. I might argue that the easy part IS putting the tech stack together. The actual hard part is having people thinking “the old way” was better.
I won’t keep adding more words to this post for the time being. I might add to it or write a follow up in the coming months. But in the meantime – Thanks for reading! Catch you next time.
Also psssstt… I’ve written this other thing about the High Cost of Low Tech in Mining which you might want to read.
This article was also published on Sachee's Medium Blog
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CorePlan is a cloud based operations platform that helps 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.