Rio Tinto to build 500-strong in-house software development group

02 November 2022 2 min. read
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Rio Tinto has kicked-off plans to build an own in-house software development team, as the multinational aims to downsize its reliance on external technology consulting firms such as Accenture, Capgemini and CGI.

The mining giant has for years relied on a group of external consultancies for its software development activities. But with software emerging at the forefront of the company’s innovation and improvement agenda, Rio Tinto’s chief information officer Dan Evans said the time was right to bring these activities in-house.

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

Rio Tinto to build 500-strong in-house software development group

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

Evans continued, “Developing in-house product software development capability will be core 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 around 1,000 staff, 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 to date 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 provider of talent, and over time extract itself from the organisation as the in-house team shapes up.

During the process, Endava’s experts will guide the setup and growth of the in-house team, and provide training and coaching of Rio Tinto’s technologists in software design, modern agile delivery and customer-centric product design.

“We’re working alongside and coaching Rio Tinto teams, helping them deliver on their critical software programs while we transform their internal capability together,” said Steve Harding, Managing Director of Australia at Endava.

Over the course of the coming year, Rio Tinto will also hire software teams in other locations globally.

Ironically, Rio Tinto’s recruitment hunting efforts will include talent which the company previously sourced from partners such as Capgemini in Australia, CGI in Canada, and Accenture worldwide.