The cost of managing and supporting software applications and data repositories has risen significantly for most businesses in the maritime industry over the last couple of years. As more data is becoming available digitally, more sophisticated and powerful software is needed to extract value from the data. The complexity of the systems makes it a burdensome, costly and somewhat risky task to update or optimize the software and data repositories for efficient use.
SaaS (software delivered via the internet) and DaaS (data from an existing data center accessed via the internet) is by nature delivered to the user online and therefore free of organizational or geographical barriers. The use of SaaS and DaaS can effectively control an organization’s software and data management costs while strengthening data processing and analytics.
Concerns of data security and governance have been a significant reason for companies to own and control their business applications, data storage and networking infrastructure in the past. This opinion is changing as security and access protocols improve. Companies are realizing that the benefits to be gained by implementing SaaS and DaaS solutions outweigh many of their data security concerns.
In addition to the advantage of avoiding large upfront costs on hardware and software, subscriptions for SaaS solutions are attractive for the following reasons:
- No software installation or maintenance
- No need to upgrade hardware to support additional applications or data storage
- Software availability, performance and security are managed by the service provider
Applications provided by SaaS are typically accessed via a web browser. Users are simply provided with a URL and username/password to access the application and associated data from anywhere in the world.
DaaS is an attractive solution to maritime organizations that have an existing system in place [e.g. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application], but want to offload the risk and burdens of data management to a third party. DaaS providers offer their customers flexibility in accessing their business-critical data online and take responsibility for data quality and security. Analytics can also be offered by a DaaS provider to extract only the information of value from the data repository, and deliver that information as part of the service.
As an example, a port may have interest in comparing a predicted estimated time of arrival (ETA) for a ship against the ETA provided by the ship’s agent. The port does not need access to all the supporting data used to generate the predicted ETA, just the day and time that the specified ship is predicted to arrive at the port. This way, port operators are not met with unnecessary amounts of data, but only the data and information they need.
Often, when large data repositories and analytics are discussed, they are associated with larger businesses. In fact, SaaS and DaaS may have as much or greater applications to smaller business looking to gain a competitive advantage without a large capital investment. Regardless of business size, organizations in the maritime industry have much to gain from utilizing SaaS and DaaS to reduce their IT related costs and ensure that their technology and capacity remains at the forefront.