CIO50 2022 #26-50 Joshua Bovell, Perenti
Joshua Bovell bravely discusses an embarrassing career lowlight, one that he has learnt from over the years.
In his mid-20s, he started a web and platform development company with a colleague he thought knew reasonably well after working with this individual for about 12 months prior.
The business became reasonably successful, generating about $100,000 in revenue each month with about $30,000 in overheads. But the organisation rapidly dissolved after Bovell commenced legal proceedings against his business partner.
“The lesson was about trust and governance. My business partner was embezzling funds and had been for months until I discovered the anomalies. The first lesson was the clear value of governance and the need for transparency. The second is that trust is earned and should not be given.”
Bovell is now chief information officer at global mining services group, Perenti.
Over the past decade, the organisation has grown through acquisition. But the absence of a deliberate and managed integration led the organisation to become technologically very complex and disparate.
James Clarke, group manager, engagement and innovation at Perenti, who nominated on Bovell’s behalf, says that this presented an opportunity to innovate in data management to address a decoupled and heavily manual mining value chain held back by legacy technology.
“Josh quickly identified that the organisation was extremely challenged in how it collated the vast wealth of data to better understand how it was performing as a business and how it might optimise assets to improve productivity and shareholder return.
“The complexity was unrivalled across the 5o+ mining operations, with hundreds of applications, including more than 30 customised ERP instances – all attempting to interface with other mining systems, databases, spreadsheets and environments internally and with external customers.”
The situation was serious as data integrity and availability was diminishing at an accelerated rate. This was clearly an issue in an increasingly competitive mining sector that is leveraging data from systems, sensors and heavy vehicles.
To address these issues, Bovell spent 18 months designing and delivering to production the Perenti Analytics Collaboration Environment (PACE) data platform.
PACE addresses four major objectives: Facilitate mining value chain optimisation, performance and improvement; replace legacy technology, rapidly leverage emerging mining technologies; and ensure statutory and regulatory information transparency and integrity.
To make this work, Bovell and his team needed to bring together the traditional practices of IT’s non-real-time domains such as data warehousing, master data management and analytics with operating technology’s real-time domains such as process control, machine monitoring and sensoring onto a single platform.
“The results have been impressive. Not only did the outcomes deliver, we have seen a material cultural and behavioural shift in both the frontline operational and the operational technology workforce towards data as an asset that fundamentally improves the way we operate,” he says.
PACE is now made up of five critical elements that Bovell was instrumental in delivering and supporting.
- Strategy and architecture: Bovell engaged with his peers in the executive team to agree that data was a key pillar for the success of the business.
- Data governance and master data management: Bovell facilitated and led discussions with divisions across the organisation to identify and demonstrate the value of master data in the business. The team developed the governance standard for master data to ensure disparate information sources are put through a risk and security assessment. They also ensured that data owners and stewards are identified and cleansed data sets are then made available for reporting.
- Insights through analytics: PACE enables users to interact with their data through dashboarding, anywhere in the world.
- Global reporting solution to leverage PACE: Reporting using low integrity data sources was replaced with a common, standardised reporting platform that uses the highest integrity data from PACE.
- Education, awareness and promotion of citizen developer philosophy. A key focus for Bovell and his team was to facilitate awareness and training through education while empowering the frontline workforce on the use of data to drive better and more responsible decision-making.
Bovell’s career has seen him transition over the past 20 years from hands-on operational technology roles into senior executive leadership. He has had to advance his own skills throughout this time, learning valuable career lessons that have propelled him into executive leadership roles.
“Josh is willing to share his own successes and failings that have shaped him in his career. He is a strong advocate of technology career development and he does this through hands-on coaching, succession planning and professional learning,” Clarke notes.