Mining dump trucks transporting Platinum ore for processing
ComplianceESGOctober 24, 2023

Implementing BowTieXP Enterprise - Interview with David Howe part 2

We sat down with one of our partners David Howe to talk about his experience in the Mining Industry. David is the president and managing director of the consultancy company Site Safety Inc. In the second part of this interview, we are talking in more detail about a BowTieXP Enterprise implementation with his clients. To read part. 1, click here.

Is the use of BowTieXP Enterprise considered easy to understand for customers?

I think most clients understand it very quickly and for those who don’t have a background with bowties, the lag time to understand it is relatively brief. The bowtie tool is all about communication and collaboration while talking about risk. The visualization of what you are talking about is pretty much immediate. Of course, somebody has to be the person on the keyboard putting the information in the program. During training, it is often me who inserts the information in the software. While the customers are talking, they can visualize everything right away. In this way, they understand that the communication process starts right away.

Let’s dive into the implementation of BowTieXP Enterprise with a concrete example you’ve had with a client. My first question would be why was BowTieXP Enterprise a good solution for them?

Again this pivots on communication. A few years back, there was a new feature released in BowTieXP Enterprise allowing a global/local relationship with the bowties, so the global bowties could be used in an underground mine and updated with risks related to that specific mine.
For example, in the global bowtie at corporate level, you may see something like “working with mobile equipment in an underground mine”. While pretty generic, it is a good global risk. However, if you are working in an underground gold mine in Northern Canada for example, you have to make it more applicable to your local situation, because it has local specifics and details that can further drive the risk and identify the controls for the risks.
In my opinion, this is one of the main benefits of BowTieXP Enterprise as a solution for customers.

What you are saying is that the global bowties can be used as a template across the company and each location can then add more specific additional information when creating their own local bowties.

Yes exactly. If the headquarters are based, let’s say, in Vancouver, that is where they can drive the global process and communicate it across the United States, Africa, Asia, or any other country around the world. It draws everything together. The different sites have global bowties for their mine to use and can develop their local solutions. These solutions can then be communicated back and be accessible across the platform, not just in virtual meetings. Everyone can see the risks that are analyzed in each location, and the controls that are being implemented everywhere in the business.

The bowtie tool is all about communication and collaboration while talking about risk.
Can you tell me a little bit more about your learnings while helping clients implement the solution?

Yes. One thing I learned while working with one of my latest clients is how important it is to have a project manager on their side, dedicated to the implementation of BowTieXP Enterprise. It’s a process that can take, at best several months. I think if you looked from the training perspective to the rollout, I can say that the whole process would probably be two to six months. The company needs to have somebody to drive that process in-house and, of course, have a consultant/partner like myself to help fluidify the process to keep it going and make sure that it’s properly in place. I think it’s been a good learning for me in the last 6 or 8 months with this particular client, as there were some challenges in that aspect.

Would you say that without the project manager, it takes longer or that there is not as much drive or willingness to implement it?

I think both. To be frank, there is a budget commitment to implement BowTieXP Enterprise. When you pass that process, you need to have someone to keep implementation in line and manage the process.
Can they do it without a project manager? Yes, I suppose. But it would take longer.

Earlier on, you said that the software is easy to grasp,  how quickly is the company to adopt that new tool, whether there is a project manager to guide and push the project or not? 
In other words, how difficult is it for the company to change its approach to risk?
It can be pretty hard. I think it needs to be driven from the top down. The budget commitment usually comes from a very senior management position in the business. The pivotal point arises when they communicate to the entire business the adoption of the software and, sometimes, new methods. The project will then be handed off to a project manager who can drive the process and have the authority to do so. So from our standpoint, I think it is important to communicate that from the very beginning.

Could you provide additional details about the step-by-step process during the implementation with a client?
Usually, the clients who consider BowTieXP Enterprise are familiar with the software or the method and they want to expand its footprint within their business. That is why we normally start with a demo meeting where we show some of the features of BowTieXP Enterprise. It’s a great opportunity to show them how, with BowTieXP Enterprise, they can log in and view the bowties already made by their colleagues as well as edit and create them online.

From there, we try to determine:

  • what are the company goals, 
  • how many users they want, 
  • what budget they have and whether or not they want to own the platform or work on a subscription basis.

After that, we go to the training phase. Before we move to the rollout, we want to make sure that the client understands that there is a big training component.

Now the customers have decided, what are the steps? How do you advise them and help them through the transition?
During the rollout, they go through a succession of trainings. In there, they will have desktop training, the Super user training, and the admin training. 
As they grow into the whole training process, the IT department will need to get involved.
From the customer standpoint, IT is very involved in the process as they are the ones who will install the platform and who will usually handle the admin part.

How long is the training usually?

For the BowTieXP training, it’s a two-day process. We also do shorter refresher training from time to time.

You’ve already talked about the necessity of having a project manager, but what other tips can you share regarding a successful implementation of risk management software? 
What is also important is to have a senior manager of the company communicate efficiently on the process to all of the employees, in particular those that are involved in the risk management process (which can sometimes be more than “just” risk management employees). They also need to explicitly say who the project manager is and make sure that everyone knows the project manager has been given the authority to implement everything. Implementing a timeline is key too. Then, just revisit it when you think you’re done to make sure that the goals set at the beginning of the project were achieved.
Those elements create the recipe for success.

Do customers come back to you after a year or two of using it fully? Or when there is a new support pack released?
Yes. I get emails quite frequently when a new release is rolled out, often seeking guidance on how to use certain functionalities. I think it’s part of the whole process: when customers buy the software and the platform, they also pay for support and maintenance for the product. So they have access to tactical support and maintenance available from Wolters Kluwer Enablon. But they can also have support from partners like myself and be able to implement different parts of the software. I can provide them with some instructions by email or by setting up a quick meeting to show them how to do something.

Anything else you wanted to tell us?
You know when I first got involved in the process in 2008, for the potash mining client, and they were using an Excel Spreadsheet, I realized how terribly inefficient this was. It’s essentially a flat piece of paper with risks on it. Every time, they wanted to look at risk, they had to recreate that piece of paper. I worked with that system for a few years. That mine is still not yet running and probably won’t be for several years. But being part of that process opened my eyes to BowTieXP and the strength that it has when it comes to communication and collaboration but also talking about risk and getting people engaged and interested in controlling risks.  
A visual diagram is easy to understand by just looking at it very quickly. So, an Excel spreadsheet with numerous and complicated information wouldn’t be the easiest way to grasp that information.
Yes, exactly. Another good thing about the software is, if I enter a meeting with a client and they want to talk about a particular risk scenario, I can quickly create a simplified bowtie based on the information they’ve given me. I think it’s important for these kinds of meetings to have the right people participate. As consultants, we are not always experts in one particular area, but by having the expert in the room with me, we can get the right information and the right bowtie right away. I mean it’s ok if you don’t get it right the first time, but you want to revisit it with the people who are knowledgeable in the process to verify and validate the whole thing.
Thank you very much Dave for taking the time to talk to us about your experience and expertise in the mining industry. 

If you want to know more about BowTieXP Enterprise click here.
You can find part 1 of our interview with David Howe here: Trends and Challenges in the Mining Industry.

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