Digital technology is the lifeblood of successful businesses today. The reason is simple: The companies that make it to the top are open to trying new solutions and can stay shoulder-to-shoulder with the competition to deliver satisfaction to their customers. As a result, almost every industry is increasingly reliant on technology as a critical component for providing customers with a flawless user experience. Regrettably, the Maritime Business appears to be lagging, perhaps because manual processes have historically been used to manage data used for tactical and strategic decision-making.
However, this reliance on manual methods is becoming unsustainable to navigate an increasingly complicated business reality in which factors such as increased geopolitical risk, economic volatility, and, most recently, the pandemic add to the uncertainty and complexity of everyday operations.
As a result, digital connectivity should be regarded not only as a cost-cutting measure but also as a key enabler for your entire maritime business operation.
The Importance of Data
Data is king, and your maritime business will need to collect and use more data than ever before to create new opportunities across the supply chain. If you haven’t already, consider incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) to automate your business operations and, by extension, data collection.
That said, proper data management is critical to the success of the digitalization of your business and will help you extract the absolute value from the data collected. Even the most sophisticated digitization program will fail if the processed data does not meet the appropriate standards concerning transparency, completeness, and quality.
As a result, advanced initiatives such as predictive analytics, business intelligence reporting, data lakes, and MDM (master data management) techniques are required to consolidate and centralize data from multiple sources to create a single version of the truth (one data set) that will be used throughout your organization’s supply chain and operations.
Here’s how to master data management.
How to Build a Strong Data Management System
1. View Data as a Resource
Data management is frequently regarded as a burden by organizations transitioning from manual to digitalized operations. This can result in lost opportunities, inefficiencies, and unnecessary risk.
Your organization can improve service delivery, reduce risk, and drive growth through continuous optimization, innovation, and efficiency if it has a digital storehouse of reliable data and a structured data management framework in place.
But first, there must be a top-down organizational culture shift in which data is recognized as a valuable asset.
2. Evaluate the Current Framework
- Examine the data sets being used in your organization closely.
- What kinds of information are being gathered?
- What is the purpose of the data collected, and who uses it?
- How is data managed throughout its life cycle — how is it cleaned, verified, collected, secured, audited, and distributed downstream?
By extensively studying the data that influences the way you make decisions and how it accomplishes this, you can start identifying the data architecture that would serve as the starting point for your organization’s digital transformation.
3. Create a New Data Management Framework
Data-driven initiatives do not deliver the value expected unless the proper data governance model is in place. So, develop a framework that masters all of your data sets per your digitized operations to ensure that the data collected is consistent, accurate, and ready to support analytics and automation across your organization’s operations and supply chain model.
4. Evaluate Your Capabilities
The data metrics for the maritime business is rapidly becoming more complex than your internally developed systems may be able to address.
If this is the case, the cost of keeping these capabilities in-house will be prohibitively expensive, time-consuming, and distracting from your primary operations.
Consider outsourcing data management to get the best of both worlds: access to data needed for business operations and less effort required to manage the technologies that collect and distribute the data you need for decision-making.
Improving Digital Connectivity to Boost Maritime Business
A synchronized workforce must accommodate extreme peak pressure on port operations and the day-to-day operations. This is aided by good real-time communication among all parties involved in the maritime business chain, mainly when critical decisions must be made.
However, for some, the communications structure for those at sea is vastly different from land networks. This is unfortunate because advanced communication systems technology can improve operational performance tremendously.
For example, new types of wireless voice sensor technology such as the Thuraya MarineStar provide excellent functionality (for voice communications, monitoring, and tracking), have condition-based navigation (push notifications for SOS and other emergency alerts), are unaffected by extreme weather conditions, and can be used across the world’s busiest sea hotspots and routes.
With minimal investment, the best part is that these new marine communication systems can be easily retrofitted into existing ships, including those equipped with a standard analogue phone.
Top Challenges of Digitization and How to Combat Them
1. Talent Gap
New talent and skills will be required to implement digital technologies effectively. This presents a challenge because your maritime company will have to compete for digital talent with other – and often more visible – businesses and industries.
Furthermore, this talent is unlikely to have the same competitive mindset and will expect higher levels of corporate social responsibility from their employer than is currently the norm in the maritime business.
Fortunately, attracting this talent is not an overwhelming task. One option is to restructure your maritime business to make it more inclusive. Working with innovative start-ups is also one way to attract young talent and bring the necessary digital mindset to your company.
2. Cybersecurity Risks
Unfortunately, increased digitization means your maritime business will have to manage increased cybersecurity risks. As a result, even though digitization can improve safety, it also creates new vulnerabilities for your maritime business.
Therefore, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the cyber risks your business faces, their potential consequences, and the best methods of preventing and mitigating them.
Boost Maritime Business: On a Final Note
Strong communication will continue to be a significant driving force in advancing digital connectivity in the maritime business.
To stay ahead of the competition, you’ll need to keep an eye out for new forms of communication technology that allow for the instant exchange of data and can be extremely useful for ship security; you should also be willing to make the necessary changes. In other words, you need to remain adaptable to change.
Check out: Top 10 Most Important HR Tech Trends in 2021