RealTime IT News

Even Miners Require Data Management

Managing South Africa's fifth largest gold mining group is a daunting task that calls upon a synthesized and tightly integrated information technology architecture.

"Extracting information out of variant systems and compiling it into management reports is time-consuming, expensive and labour-intensive," said Chris Lerm, strategic planning leader for African Rainbow Minerals (ARM). To solve the dilemma and facilitate the management of 13 shafts, ARM recently recruited CS Holdings to develop a data warehouse and manage the amalgamation and connectivity of its operations.

Integration, it seems is not only the premise of e-business, but necessary to the efficient management of any business, whether online or offline.

"We place a very high premium on management information," Lerm said, adding that integrating ARM's various information systems into a cohesive whole is mission critical.

The data warehouse, currently in testing phase, aims to unify once-discordant systems into a single and comprehensive repository that ARM can utilize to enable improved decision-making as well as to unify and accelerate their complex management reporting process.

Using a 'trawler' developed by CS Systems, the data warehouse can ostensibly extract and gather data from disparate databases that can then be cleansed and ported into a normalised database. Here, the various strands of data can be aligned with data from areas such as human resources, finance and operations. Reports can then be produced and updated asynchronously, and delivered via Microsoft's Internet Information Server running against SQL Server, with dynamic reports interrogated via a browser.

According to ARM, CS Holdings' IT solution will succeed in supporting the business dynamically by allowing it to function as an organized whole.

"I believe that we have developed a perfect model for delivering business-critical information to companies involved in mining and manufacturing," agreed Bruce Botes, manufacturing systems manager for CS Systems.