In an industry that transports more than 80% of globally traded goods, data-driven processes and insights can help enhance efficiency and overall productivity. In this article, Dr Shahrin Osman, Regional Head of Maritime Advisory, SEA, Pacific & India at DNV GL, discusses the importance of leveraging big data in the maritime industry and actions to take moving forward.
‘Big data’ has become a buzzword in recent years, as the maritime industry sails towards an increasingly digitalised future. So, what is it? Big data refers to a large amount of data that requires advanced tools to analyse, store and process. Sectors such as finance, healthcare and banking have benefitted greatly from the utilisation of big data. In recent years, the maritime industry has started to leverage this, creating new opportunities for many players in the industry, such as ship owners, charterers and operators.
The first step to leveraging big data is having sufficiently advanced technological infrastructure. Presently, many maritime companies have already embarked on the digital shift, focusing on technological solutions to improve and optimise work processes. On top of having the right infrastructure, companies should ensure that their cybersecurity efforts are sufficient in safeguarding sensitive data. Despite the numerous benefits that big data has to offer, some companies may be reluctant to invest in technology due to insufficient resources, or the lack of clarity and certainty of the returns.
The human element is also critical to digital transformation.
“One of the most common problems that organisations encounter in the digital transformation journey is the commitment from everyone in the leadership team to start on the journey together,” shared Dr Shahrin. “Most projects tend to get stalled or fail to achieve objectives due to poor management processes.”
However, that is not to say that it is just about the leaders or those in the Information Technology (IT) department. The entire workforce needs to have the right mindset and be well-equipped with the right skills to benefit from digitalisation and big data.
“DNV GL has established various other digital innovation programs and initiatives for employees to benefit from big data,” said Dr Shahrin. “We collaborated with INSEAD to design a ‘Leading the Digital Transformation Programme’ for our senior management, to ensure full commitment from the top. This program was further extended to heads of departments, team leaders and digitalisation champions throughout the organisation via online modules. Subsequently, in early 2019, we jointly developed a Digital Transformation Program with a leading learning partner for all employees worldwide.”