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Why Midsize Mining Companies Need Quality Outsourced IT Services

What is the best decision for a midsize mining company? Is it more cost-effective and efficient to outsource to an IT services provider? 

Midsize mining companies are focused on meeting customer needs and staying profitable. However, the critical operations that run those companies require high-quality IT services. The question is, should you maintain a fully-staffed highly-skilled IT support staff within your company, or should you keep your employees working on your core business while outsourcing your IT services? The answer to that question is dependent on where you want to focus your budget. If you prefer to focus your attention and budget on the mining business, outsourcing your IT services is the best choice. That’s because the IT industry changes so quickly, it’s difficult for any team not completely immersed in the industry to stay current on developments, news and issues. No matter how skilled your IT employees are, they aren’t the dedicated team of IT specialists that you’ll get when you hire a managed IT services company for your midsize mining operation.

A dedicated IT services provider specialises in not only keeping your IT functioning properly, but also making sure it is secure from malware and phishing. Problems can be caught during routine maintenance checks and solved before they become major issues. But you still need to find the provider who is the right fit for your business. To assist you with that task, here are questions you can ask providers as you interview them.

Over the next five years, more than three quarters of jobs in Australia’s mining industry will be enhanced or redesigned by technology. (Mining Technology)

What Should a Midsize Mining Company Ask Outsourced IT Services Providers?

1. What Type of Services Do You Offer?

An IT service provider can work within your budget and requirements to partner with you. They can take on all of your IT management, or just some of it. For instance, if you need help during a transition to new IT hardware or software, or in a move to a new location, they can help you. But if you want to hand over the bulk of your IT work to the provider, they will be happy to accommodate you.

Some of these services include:

  • Network Architecture and Implementation – Working with your internal IT manager to develop a network map and implement hardware, software and procedures more efficiently with expertise and training.
  • Telecom Architecture and Implementation – Assessing, installing and maintaining solutions for telecom needs including LAN, mobile, VSAT, radio and other communication networks.
  • IT Security and Data Protection Planning – Creating a practical disaster recovery plan, secure backup strategy or compliance outline using best practices and procedures to meet auditors’ requirements.
  • Bandwidth Optimisation – Depending on the geographical location you are operating in, adequate bandwidth can be a problem without the implementation of the right tools.
  • Hosting Services – Managing your online work in a secure environment in the cloud including emails, website, FTP site, anti-virus, backups, firewalls and more.
  • Remote Accounting and Administrative Services – Timely recordkeeping including ledger entries, payables, payroll, expense accounts, government reports, financial statements, end of month and year recording, letters, presentations, mailbox and office space, CFO on demand.
  • Business Process Analysis and Optimisation – Defining and documenting the business process workflows to support operations. Offering advice as to best practices and industry-specific recommendation. Helping to set up IT resources to support the construction of a new mine.
  • ERP Selection and Implementation – Selecting, implementing and supporting ERP for mining organisations.
  • Software Solutions Architecture – Recommending the best software solutions for mining integration and environment.
  • Operating Systems Integration – Integrating operations into new technology.
  • Data Conversion – Migrating and integrating complex data from an outside system into your IT system.
  • Platform Migration – Planning, operating and supporting the integration and upgrade from older technology to new technology.
  • Business Intelligence Strategy – Developing an efficient operation using real-time decision-making using experience and expertise to provide real-life strategies.

2. What is Your Company Culture?

The company culture tells you a lot about priorities, values and staff at the IT services provider you are interviewing. You need to feel comfortable working with them. Therefore, getting to know the company culture can help you learn more about who they hire and how they operate. You can also spend time interviewing the representative who will be your main contact to decide if you’ll like partnering with them. Levels of training and security certifications must match your equipment and needs.

3. What References Do You Have?

Having references is helpful only when you can compare your business to the referrers. The best references for you to see are from other companies that are about the same size as yours is and in a similar industry. Talk to people about any security issues they’ve had and how they were resolved. Be specific when asking about best practices, and how they help midsize mining businesses.

4. How Will You Improve Our Midsize Mining Business?

This is the crux of the matter when it comes to outsourcing IT services. They need to fit seamlessly into your organisation and grow with you. Look for information on how they fit into other clients’ companies and how well they work with the companies’ staff. Discuss with them how they will improve your efficiency and secure your files. Make clear which IT support needs are your highest priority. Then see if you feel satisfied with their solutions for your mining company.