Four out of five mining and metals companies say they plan to increase spending on digital technologies over the next three years, according to research from Accenture. Almost half say digital is the biggest contributor to innovation. The survey included approximately 200 mining and metals executives and functional leaders globally.
Three factors account for the need to innovate, "weak global demand, excess capacity and increasingly limited access to resources," said Rachael Bartels, global managing director for Accenture’s Chemicals and Natural Resources practice, in a press release.
An analysis by the World Economic Forum with Accenture Strategy found digital transformation could create $190 billion in value in the metals industry over the next 10 years. Most of the investments in mining operations target robotics and automation, followed by remote operating centers, drones and wearable technologies, Accenture found.
Digital transformation is all about improving operations. And metals companies, many of which have been around for multiple decades, can use tech to improve things like mine operations, exploration and mine development to gain an edge on the competition.
Soon, digital transformation may be less of a "thing" and more just the normal way to operate a business. International Data Corporation (IDC) recently predicted worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies is expected to reach $1.2 trillion in 2017, an 18% increase over 2016 spending. By 2020, IDC says digital transformation spending could reach $2 trillion.