Microsoft ISV launches Azure-powered intelligence for mining industry
- 24 November, 2016 06:00
Mining consultancy and technology company, Snowden, has taken to the sky with its new business intelligence platform, Neuroverse, on Microsoft Azure.
As a veteran specialist software developer, the fifteen year-old Microsoft Gold Partner is keenly aware of the challenges that the sector faces.
In developing Neuroverse, Snowden technology general manager, Jason Pearce, said Snowden looks to "capture the heritage capabilities" of its standalone solutions in a new, cloud-based solution that can deliver the flexibility and reach required by the mining sector.
“The mining companies out there in the world are well and truly embracing cloud-first strategies and we wanted to be on the front foot of that,” explained Pearce.
“We have developed a number of algorithms and optimisation routines that Snowden industry consultants have been using for years. These will all now be available to our clients and we are calling them 'Snaps', or Snowden applications.”
“They are everything from block models, pit optimisation, and reblocking. We are also opening up the ability to visualise and analyse all sorts of operational data for example weather inputs and rainfall, which are some of the non-traditional sources.
“The platform takes all of the source data into one consolidated view and brings in other data to compare, for example, dust, weather and financial components in delivering a valuable solution to mining operations. Comparing traditional data sources with less obvious sources is very powerful.”
The company’s first foray into technology, as a subsidiary of Snowden Mining Industry Consultants, was with Microsoft technology stack with websites and SQL server backends.
Pearce said that, traditionally, Snowden had products that were on-premise, using the Microsoft technology stack and Windows servers and SQL servers.
“We needed to evolve our products to go to the next level. Therefore, it made logical sense to move into the cloud,” he added.
The move to Azure also enables the full functionality of Snowden’s on-premise solutions, which provide miners with systems that manage geological statistical analysis through grade estimation, plant compliance, and reconciliation across the mine value chain through to matching models against actuals, but made available through Neuroverse.
Pearce said the cloud platform will also allow Snowden to make available to customers, for the first time, some of the tools it has developed to support its consultants, allowing customers to craft what are essentially bespoke cloud solutions to meet both current and future requirements.
Pearce said that, whilst Snowden physically leverages Microsoft’s platform, the company has also leveraged its long-standing relationship of more than fifteen years, which has been valuable in terms of the company’s new direction in the cloud and its go-to-market strategy.
“We have been an ISV for many years but particularly within the last twelve months, Microsoft have been providing investment in not only time and effort, but we have been given access to their technical experts and evangelists at any point we have needed guidance on a particular component," he added.
“We have also been working with them in a go-to-market style partnership.
"We are in the app catalogue, and if their business development personnel find a client with industry problems that we can solve, they’re aware of Snowden solutions in their own internal app catalogue and can reach out. It’s everything from technical to sales to marketing.”
Pearce said that, while all of the company’s existing products in the market today will evolve to be either fully, or partially, enabled by Neuroverse, the goal is to have all of its existing customers using Neuroverse in some way by the end of the financial year.
“We are already starting to deploy in Africa and are starting to embrace new markets and will be looking to diversify outside of mining,” he added.
Snowden will sell the solution both direct and through partners in Australia and internationally.