What is the best drilling software for drilling contractors?
Looking for the best drilling software for your diamond or RC drilling business? It can be challenging to know where to begin and what to consider. But we’ve got your back!
We’ve put together this comprehensive list of the top drilling software companies based on software type, specifically designed to support diamond and RC drill rigs.
We will also provide a rapid-fire list of things to consider when selecting drilling software, the link to a free a drilling software buyer's guide and an overview of what Australia’s leading drilling contractors like Topdrill, DDH1, Topdrive and Raglan Drilling are doing when it comes to drilling software.
Ready to take your drilling business to the next level with the best drilling software on the market? Then let’s go.
Which drilling software is best for RC and diamond drilling?
First, let’s begin by clarifying that there is no best drilling software for every drilling contractor.
What’s best for you might not be best for your competitor down the road, and vice versa. This is because every drilling business has a slightly different set of needs, based on a range of factors.
Not to mention, there are also several different types of drilling software. For example, some focus purely on plod digitisation, whereas others focus on drilling management, operations management or even analytics and reporting. We’ll take a look at each of these shortly.
But first, if there’s no one best drilling software for drilling contractors, how can you determine which is best for you?
Choosing the best software for RC and diamond drilling: a rapid-fire list of things to consider
- Your goals and the size of your business
Can the software handle the scale of your operations and is it configurable to meet your specific needs?
- How many metres you’re drilling
It’s a common misconception that you have to be a large business drilling a lot of metres to use drilling software. In fact, many new startup drilling contractors are leading the charge to start their businesses off on the right foot.
- Drilling software pricing
It’s important to look beyond the initial cost of drilling software and consider the long-term value it will bring to your business. Just because a product is cheaper up-front, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll save in the long term.
Further, be sure to ask about any implementation or training costs, as these are usually additional to the monthly or annual subscription price.
- User experience
The more intuitive and user-friendly the software, the more likely it is that your staff will actually use it. When it’s used correctly, you’ll receive the full benefits of making the switch.
If the software is challenging to use, for example by forcing drillers to complete plods in a specific order, rather than allowing them to enter the details throughout the shift as they occur, it can slow down the data capture process and lead to errors.
- Customer support
A great service provider will not leave you feel stranded if something goes wrong.
Make sure you can access prompt, friendly and reliable customer service and technical support from your drilling software team. Ideally, it should also be free.
As a drilling contractor, your income is reliant on the data you collect from the field. So you want to make sure that your drilling software is reliable. And if problems do occur, that the software provider is responsive in making sure they get fixed ASAP.
Online reviews are a great place to start. Better yet, check out a software provider’s website and call your mates using the product.
- Customisation vs configuration
Customisation versus configuration. What’s the difference? Well, customisation is when software is tailored to specific needs, often requiring extensive programming changes, whereas configuration involves setting up the software to suit a particular use case through easily adjustable settings.
For drilling contractors, configurability is preferable to customisation. This is because there’s a lot of similarity in how a hole is drilled and recorded between drilling contractors. Whilst technique and drill type absolutely will create differences, the end outcome and goal is the same: to drill a hole according to the client’s plan and capture great data whilst you’re at it.
This is why configurability makes sense for drilling in comparison to other industries. Small changes between operations can be accounted for using configurability at a much faster rate and with less cost than building a custom solution.
- The future of your business
Consider the future of your business and whether the software is flexible enough to grow and evolve with your operations. If the software can’t scale easily if your business grows, it will quickly become obsolete, and you’ll be on the hunt for another software provider sooner than you would have planned.
Drilling software buyers guide for drilling contractors
We also have a drilling software buyer’s guide for drilling contractors that explores what to consider before buying drilling software. Download for free now (no email or password required!).
List of the best plod management software for RC and diamond drilling contractors
Plod management software enables plod digitisation by using a mobile app to capture and upload daily drilling data. A web portal is used to edit and share this data with clients (usually in a pdf) plus some basic summary reporting.
Lantern Drilling is a daily drilling report (plod) management software tool that enables drilling contractors to capture and share drilling data with their clients.
Lantern users enter drilling data into the Lantern mobile app, where it can then be validated by a supervisor and shared with exploration teams via a client portal.
Krux Analytics offers drilling contractors a wide variety of features, but its plod management tools are solid.
It works much the same as Lantern, however, drillers can also enter survey data along with drilling activities into the daily drilling report.
CorePlan Drilling Hub
Like Krux, CorePlan offers its users a wide range of additional features, but it has the most developed drilling revenue management platform in the drilling game. It’s currently the only option on the market that supports a two-way client-contractor collaboration process, even if the exploration client is not using CorePlan.
This means that plods are approved by the drilling supervisor before going to the client, but there’s a digital process in place for contractors and clients to negotiate on the particulars of the plod if there’s any disagreement. This includes a full history of the plod and who was involved in the process so there’s total transparency for the client.
The benefits of plod management software
Plod management software is where many drilling contractors first dip their toe in the drilling software world. This makes sense because it solves many of the issues involved with using paper plods and spreadsheets to try keep track of what’s happening at the rig. Plus, it satisfies increasing demands from clients to supply digitised data so they can import it into their own systems.
The cons of plod management software
A major drawback of plod management software is that it’s benefits finish at the plod, when that data still needs to be used to complete other tasks. In other words, this means drilling contractors who rely purely on plod management software are still stuck having to manually run reports, generate invoices and other repetitive paperwork tasks using other software or even Excel spreadsheets.
As a result, many drilling contractors who have tried plod management software end up making the switch to more complex products like drilling management software or drilling operations software so that they can automate more tasks, save more time and have more consistency across other areas of their business.
List of the best drilling management software for RC and diamond drilling contractors
Drilling management software includes the capabilities of plod management software, but with a much broader range of additional features to help drilling managers stay on top of all aspects of their drilling workflow, such as planning, planning, drilling, billing, analysis and reporting.
Krux Analytics has a complete in-field workflow for drilling management, beginning by importing the client’s drill plan and recording drilling intervals and survey data based on the plan. Once the data is captured, it’s approved by the supervisor and sent to the client. A cost report is also produced based on the contract for easy billing.
CorePlan Drilling Hub
CorePlan offers drilling contractors an easy way to execute a client’s drilling plan in the field from planning to completion. This includes use of a rig scheduling tool to optimise rig planning, and a spatial view of drill holes to help managers understand exactly what’s going on in the field across all of their clients, even off-site.
The data capture and management process is similar to that of Krux, but there is a key difference that drilling managers will want to know about.
CorePlan has dynamic cost tracking capabilities that can apply conditional cost contract clauses like minimum shift rate and slow pen rate automatically based on the drilling data. Without this capability, this has to be done manually and it’s much easier for a human to miss the details in the fine print and send out incorrect charges. Dynamic cost tracking can help to ensure that the bill that ends up the clients hands is correct every single time, saving you precious time, hard-earned dollars and your reputation.
The pros of drilling management software
Drilling management software can go a long way toward helping your team go paperless at the rig by digitising plods, checklists, documents and more. It can also really speed up your reporting, analytics and billing by using automation to complete these tasks.
Overall, it’s a great solution to digitise everything that happens in your drilling workflow.
The cons of drilling management software
Because it touches more steps in the workflow, more training with more personnel is required in comparison to plod management software. It will take longer to implement and configure compared to plod management software, which is ready to go immediately out of the box.
It will also only help you manage what’s happening with the actual drilling itself, so you may still need to rely on other systems for tasks related to the drilling such as rig scheduling and safety management.
List of the best drilling analytics and reporting software for drilling contractors
This type of software analyses drilling data to deliver performance insights and reports. This goes beyond basic summary data like total metres drilled, total shift hours, summary of costs etc to provide targeted insights that aren’t easily possible using tools like Excel.
Krux have a range of built-in analytics to help drilling contractors connect the dots between operational drilling data and financial performance. Using Krux, drilling contractors can explore metrics like penetration rate and time activity breakdown.
Krux also provide an additional product called KruxDAQ that connects to downhole instrumentation data and analyses drilling parameters.
Reflex’s IMDEXHUB-IQ brings a range of datasets into one place for validation and interpretation. This includes bringing together plod and downhole instrumentation data into the one place for QA/QC and to verify what happened at the rig.
Note: Reflex and Krux have recently announced that Reflex’s parent company IMDEX intends to purchase a 40% stake in Krux.
CorePlan’s analytics are slightly different to Krux and Reflex’s because there is a focus on drilling and operational analytics. CorePlan’s analytics cover a range drilling metrics relating to drill production and rig performance, but there’s also additional charts and graphs to break down costs, sampling, safety and more.
CorePlan also has a unique and detailed time activity model to measure rig utilisation at the project and global levels to assist drilling managers to deeply understand how every activity contributes to their margin.
The pros of drilling analytics and reporting software
Every drilling manager wants to optimise their drilling performance and impress their clients with detailed insights, and drilling analytics and reporting software can help you get there.
Whilst it’s possible to a lot of powerful analysis using spreadsheets, it’s also very time consuming. As a decision-maker, you want to be able to make the call now, not next week once the spreadsheet has been built.
Drilling analytics and reporting software can give you fast access to the right data, presented in the right way, to make data-driven decision making a breeze.
The cons of drilling analytics and reporting software
Whilst drilling analytics and reporting software has excellent data processing capabilities, it takes the drilling data out of the context in which it was collected. This means that users may need to go back to their drilling management or plod management system to truly understand what happened during the drilling process and verify their decisions.
Additionally, drilling analytics and reporting software can be complex and it can be easy to get lost in the details. It requires someone with expertise to know where to look and focus to extract the most critical information that will help drive better decision-making.
The best drilling operations software for diamond and RC drilling contractors
CorePlan Drilling Hub
CorePlan is the only drilling operations software designed to help diamond and RC drilling contractors to manage both their drilling AND their operations in one place.
CorePlan’s one-of-a-kind drilling operations software includes a full suite of tools to help drilling managers plan, manage, execute and report on all aspects of their operations including client and staff management, costs and consumables, performance, contracts, rig scheduling and more.
It's a drilling data platform that combines all of the capabilities of plod management software, drilling management software, drilling analytics and reporting software AND drilling operations software into one.
The pros of drilling operations software
Drilling operations software covers the widest range of needs for drilling contractors, helping with the management of their entire end-to-end drilling operations, from planning to execution, reporting and analysis.
It’s time to ditch those spreadsheets, because your entire drilling operations can now be run from one place.
The cons of drilling operations software
You might be thinking that, with all these functionalities, drilling operations software is expensive.
But we think you’ll be surprised by how affordable it is - particularly when considering how much time is saved across the business (and we all know that time = money).
Really, the biggest drawback is that you’ll wish you made the switch sooner!
Drilling software used by Australia’s best drilling contractors
Australia’s top drilling contractors like Topdrill, DDH1, Topdrive and Raglan Drilling have all made the switch to CorePlan.
They wanted to end multi-system chaos by consolidating multiple software products into one.
CorePlan helps you say goodbye to using a mix of paper plods, mobile apps, spreadsheets, and software licenses. It simplifies your drilling workflow by bringing every stage and every project into one easy-to-use package.
They wanted to save time and hassle by generating accurate drilling invoices the first time around.
CorePlan's data approval workflow saves drilling teams hours of manual paperwork every month. In the case of family-owned drilling business, Terra Drilling, it saves the team over 30 hours in paperwork alone each and every month.
Because CorePlan automatically reconciles drilling data against your rate schedule to produce an instant cost summary, there’s no back and forth at the end of the month.
They wanted a solution that was easy to use and configurable to their needs.
Just because drilling is a tough business, doesn’t mean your software needs to be. Using CorePlan, these drilling contractors were able to simplify complex processes and data into a tidy package that everyone can use. Plus, it’s configurable to the unique needs of their operations, so they get the data they want and need, when they need it.
They wanted drilling software that just works.
Don't just take our word for it; check out our wall of love to see what our customers have to say.
Your complete guide to drilling software for drilling contractors
Want to find out more about drilling software before making a decision? Our Ultimate Guide to Drilling Software for Drilling Contractors is here to help.
Our team are also available for personalised recommendations based on your business goals. Talk to us now.
This article was produced in good faith by referencing publicly available materials on our competitors websites in February of 2023. We have taken great care to be as accurate as possible based on the available material. If we have missed any information please don’t hesitate to contact us and request a revision.
We recommend evaluating all options and making a decision based on value, time to adopt, ease of use and future-proofing. A drilling contractors’ software buyers guide is available to assist you with this.