A SOUTH Brisbane information management services company finds a niche in the thriving mining game.

Glentworth is optimistic it can ride the Queensland resources wave by meeting demand for new enterprise information management systems (IMS).

Managing director Neil Glentworth (pictured) believes the Queensland Resources Council’s prediction of 66 projects, worth $142 billion by the year 2020, will fuel demand for IMS upgrades.

“The booming mining sector across central and southern Queensland has meant organisational perimeters are bulging at the seams," he says.

“With great intakes of staff and their collective information, companies need to think very carefully before introducing new IMS to meet their growth needs.

“A good IMS helps mining companies track information relative to their compliance requirements including environmental, legal, asset management and tracking issues. They also address operating licences, asset maintenance, drilling, resource extraction and cost-reductive collaboration.”

Glentworth believes many companies fall into the trap of choosing an IMS with unnecessary functions without first identifying problems needing to be resolved.

“They end up creating a bigger mess. You need to know the purpose of information discovery, gaining a single view to meet corporate needs,” he says.

Glentworth suggests software as a service is gaining popularity due to the lower cost of ownership.

“Most people use browser-based applications through a public or private cloud system, which provides flexibility. Some include tools to capture data from emails as well as both structured and unstructured information from social media networks,” says Glentworth.

“You can get a really good system from $20 a month, making powerful computing accessible for smaller operators through an internet connection. You do not need two separate internet connections, just highspeed wireless or cable broadband.”

The company, which employs 25 staff and turned over $2.1 million in the 2011 financial year, has predicted 80 per cent growth for FY12. Its workload is so hectic that, on average, one new employee is appointed each month.

“We are extremely busy. A lot of staff work overtime and on weekends to keep up,” says Glentworth.

“I see an enormous future with the rollout of the Federal Government’s $40 billion National Broadband Network. There are brilliant opportunities to give workforces far greater flexibility, while attracting and retaining human resources in regional Queensland.”

Glentworth recently resolved data-collating issues for oil and gas explorer Santos.

“We gave them a single information model for sharing and management, giving staff access to information in a timely fashion. They chose Microsoft SharePoint collaboration software, which increased productivity, reduced search time, improved employee engagement, compliance and auditability,” he says.

“They could rapidly obtain information and connect with employees. We saved each employee up to two hours a day by helping them quickly find geology and environmental reports, so they were not spending around 30 per cent of their time searching for information.”

He suggests not-for-profits (NFPs) and smaller businesses might consider purchasing Microsoft Office 365 since NFPs can receive it at a significantly discounted rate.

However, he warns that cloud computing carries the risk that data security and sovereignty may be compromised.

“Would you be comfortable with personal data being stored overseas? Do you know where that data is stored and who can access it? It is important to think about who has got what and where,” he says.

“Throughout our work with clients, we know the first step needs to be gaining an understanding of the breadth and scope of the information problem at hand.”

Glentworth recommends planning ahead to help avoid unnecessary losses.

“Smaller companies still need to put in a proportional amount of effort up-front for benefit later on,” he says.

“Business plans are always changing and evolving. Things do and can change and therefore pre-planning is essential.”

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