Rio Tinto will create an internal software development group of 500 people

Rio Tinto has launched plans to create its own in-house software development team, as the multinational aims to reduce its reliance on external technology consultancies such as Accenture, Capgemini and CGI.

The mining giant has relied for years on a group of external consultants for its software development activities. But with software emerging at the forefront of the business innovation and improvement agenda, Rio Tinto Chief Information Officer Dan Evans said now is the time to internalize these activities.

“We are a mining and metallurgical company, but if you look at our autonomous trucks and drills, remote operations centers, advanced process automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, there is no doubt that we are also a technology company,” he said.

“With the rapid evolution of digital technology and the incredible volume of data generated every minute in our global operations and offices, we want to improve how we integrate data and technology across the value chain to enable insights and fast decision-making to improve safety, productivity and value.

Evans continued, “Developing in-house product software development capability will be key to accelerating our digital transformation. »

The chief information officer added that the change in strategy would also position Rio Tinto as a more attractive employer for IT talent. The company’s Information System and Technology division currently has about 1,000 employees, and over the next five years, the miner will seek to hire up to 600 software developers.

Starting from scratch, the ASX-listed company has so far hired 20 people in Brisbane and signed a deal with global software engineering firm Endava, which has provided 50 developers to help establish the practice. Endava will initially serve as a talent provider and over time will exit the organization as the internal team is formed.

During the process, Endava experts will guide the establishment and growth of the internal team, and train and coach Rio Tinto technologists in software design, modern agile delivery and customer-centric product design.

“We work alongside Rio Tinto teams and support them, helping them implement their mission-critical software programs while together transforming their internal capabilities,” said Steve Harding, Managing Director Australia at Endava.

Over the coming year, Rio Tinto will also be hiring software teams in other locations around the world.

Ironically, Rio Tinto’s recruitment hunt efforts will include talent the company has previously recruited from partners such as Capgemini in Australia, CGI in Canada and Accenture around the world.