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Hanseaticsoft sees rapid rise in digitalisation due to COVID-19

Alexander Buchmann

With almost two million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, the pandemic is having a substantial impact on society, but out of adversity also comes opportunity, says Alexander Buchmann, managing director of Hanseaticsoft.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"} Working from home has become the new normal for most and many industries have quickly adjusted, he says. Tech giants such as Microsoft[1] or Amazon reacted quickly and asked their employees to work remotely to minimise risks. But in an industry that is as traditional as shipping, this is causing a major shake-up.

In recent years there has been an ongoing trend to modernise processes in the maritime sector, but there are still factors holding companies back. Basic tasks such as communicating with colleagues, handling tasks as a team, or simply having access to data have always been a problem but now these issues could pose a critical challenge. This is especially true for companies that are still heavily reliant on paperwork or legacy systems.

In some cases, even companies that have already “digitalised” are currently realising their technical solutions are not as sophisticated as they had hoped and offer only partial solutions to problems or are based on technologies that are already outdated. Integrating these solutions with existing systems and processes can be very complex, and in some cases impossible. In addition, the option to work remotely is often not available due to licensing or technical restrictions.

In order to operate efficiently in the current situation, access to accurate and up-to-date data is crucial and we see that shipping companies are aware of this. Now, more than ever, a system that is easy to implement, makes data centrally available and is usable regardless of the user’s location, is vital for continued success.

Buchmann says that at Hanseaticsoft they are seeing a dramatic rise in the number of users of their cloud-based all in one management system, Cloud Fleet Manager. The number of requests for a demonstration of the software is also skyrocketing. Buchmann says that despite the challenging circumstances, it is encouraging to see that digitalisation is building momentum.

For anyone who has been considering switching to the cloud, now is the time to act, says Buchmann. To ease the switch-over, Hanseaticsoft is currently offering a bundle of essential apps to help companies get started. Since the bundle works right out of the box and is completely web-based, the system can be up and running in a matter of days.

Even though many industries, and particularly maritime, have been faced with challenges, the last few weeks have proven that it is possible to rethink processes and to modernise. It is great to see this drive in the industry, the continued digitalisation, and the pace at which new technologies are being adopted and we are happy to support any shipping or ship management company currently looking for ways to innovate their processes.{/mprestriction}

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    He notes these challenges are leading more shipping companies to move their management processes and systems into the cloud, to optimise their processes and increase efficiencies.

    However, there are still some in companies which are slow to invest in digital systems and software because they do not understand how easy it can be.

    “Going digital can really help maritime companies futureproof their businesses – moving them away from outdated, legacy technology systems to using intuitive and flexible cloud-based solutions to manage their entire fleets," said Buchmann. "Some may get left behind because they are unaware of just how simple it is to move to the cloud. They wrongly assume that changing their software would involve manually transferring all their information and data which would take significant time and money. They worry they may lose vital information especially if data is held in different systems or they may need to allocate extra man hours to get this done."

    “But this isn’t the case. It is a very straightforward process to transfer data from a wide range of older maritime management systems quickly and without staff having to dedicate time doing this. Thanks to a variety of powerful application programme interfaces, or APIs, data can be imported from most maritime systems into a new software solution.

    “As we move through the pandemic, we expect more companies will adopt cloud-based software solutions to streamline their management and operational processes, become more efficient and stay competitive in what could be challenging economic conditions ahead.”

    One of the key benefits of using cloud-based software is that it enables the real-time sharing of information and data. With data accessible in one central place, it breaks down business silos and enables employees to communicate, share information and collaborate easily no matter where they are located.

    Business critical information such as important maritime instructions, crew schedules, payroll data and other key communications can be shared by the team onshore with crews at sea and actioned immediately, ensuring the company is responsive and dynamic and can react to any situation.

    It also supports better data management and analysis which improves business decision making, business performance and success. The cloud facilitates the sharing of data from different sources, which can be transmitted from vessels simply and quickly. Data is synchronised as soon as it is entered into the system and can be accessed immediately by all relevant personnel.

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