Technology Trends for 2020

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The growth in digitization requires risk managers and risk management service providers to be ahead of the game.

The internet age has raised expectations. People now demand instant information, whether on the status of an order, the comparative prices of products, or approvals on a loan application. Older, slower business models everywhere are being threatened or replaced by more efficient businesses underpinned by digital technology. While companies like Uber and Airbnb may be the best-known examples, the same carving out of market share from established competitors is taking place in banking, insurance, transport, and even more primary industries like mining.

Knowledge is power, and digitization, the collection and channelling of data into information, allows companies to be closer to their customers, run more efficiently, and make better, more informed decisions.

If I look at mining, one of the core industries serviced by IsoMetrix, there is, as in all industries and disciplines, a drive to digitize. Better information, obtained more readily, allows for short term interval planning and improved equipment utilization, enhancing operational efficiencies.

This drive towards digitization also has, and will continue to have, a massive positive impact on health, safety and environment.

The advent of the internet of things (IoT) allows for the gathering of data from the ‘edge’. Wearables allow for monitoring of health signs and potential pollutants. Sensors on tailings facilities reduce the need for manual inspections and act as early warning systems. Remotely operated vehicles reduce almost to zero the potential for injury to the driver.

But over and above these discrete interventions, the greatest benefit to EHS practitioners of integrated, digitized systems is the ability to manage risk in real-time. Instead of looking backwards, risk practitioners are now more able to look forwards. It’s been said that managing risk by looking at lagging indicators is like driving a vehicle looking only in the rear view mirror. Digitization allows leading indicators to be monitored and consolidated automatically and continually. Intelligence layered over this stream of data can then provide alerts based on exceedances or other warning signs.

As Fritjof Capra has said: “The more we study the major problems of our time, the more we come to realize that they cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are interconnected and interdependent.” The same applies to the HSEC or ESG risks mining houses face. They are inter-related. Clarity into the interconnections within the web of complexity that underlies risk management can be provided by strong business analytics, and associative logic.

This interconnectedness means that, looking to the future, HSEC systems like IsoMetrix will need to ensure they can integrate easily with other systems that hold key indicator information, across production, HR, finance and asset management. Software products will be components of larger ecosystems, with electronic data flowing seamlessly to where it belongs. Similarly, the need to ensure data can be easily captured will increase.

In line with this drive for digitization our customers are demanding, at IsoMetrix our focus the past year has been on improved analytics, with ‘golden threads’ highlighting the interconnectedness of risks across processes and disciplines; ease of data capture, whether through mobile devices, public forms or adaptive cards in MS Outlook; enhancements to our APIs to make integration more seamless; and ease of report generation through our PDF Reporting Framework.

It’s not quite a case of digitize or die, but companies that do embrace the efficiencies and insights digitization can bring will certainly obtain a competitive edge.

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