Maritime Software Landscape – So many options out there!
(Update September 2020)
2020 is about to enter the last quarter, and we all know it won’t be remembered by most as an incredibly happy nor successful year, many would actually say that the world came to a stop, that the industry should scrap it in its entirely.
This article tries to put some order giving insights about how the software landscape for the maritime industry is changing, and what may look like in the near future.
As part of the core business for Indeets Consulting, we are continually monitoring the digital space, looking for news and changes in the landscape. Is not uncommon for companies to merge, for new startups to pop-up and sometimes disappear, our mission is to help any shipping company searching for a technology advantage on their competition or simply helping with their digital transformation.
This research is continually refined and available to our customers but will be presented to the broader audience once a year (September) via our website.
Therefore without further ado, let’s and see how the first update looks like!
Download Indeets Maritime Software Landscape in high resolution here
Saturated or not?
At first glance, the list of software providers looks very crowded, 163 different companies have been mapped during this research and if considering that most of them offer multiple solutions is clear that could be challenging to find your way in this digital jungle. Additionally, we have decided to add only companies that provide services and products specifically designed for the maritime / Oil & Gas Industry. Still, in some areas such as cybersecurity or analytics, there could be several more software that would work just as good even if developed not having our industry in mind.
So is there too much option out there? The answer, in our opinion, is absolutely not!
Apart for the obvious reason that a tighter competition will push all the various supplier to improve their solutions, we also think that the maritime industry is so heterogeneous that a one size fits all approach doesn’t exist.
Starting from the technical area: if someone could review in depth all the options, will soon realise that even if most of the products tend to be similar and bring to same results, some differences, especially in UX/UI, could make such solutions more suitable for a large fleet rather than small operations just to make an example.
In this area is where we could find some of the oldest product, as historically this is one of the first domains where shipping companies manifested the need of digital tools, due to regulations in regards to Planned Maintenance Systems. Some of those solutions are on the market since 20/30 years, bringing much expertise to the table but also showing the signs of time in terms of technology used and user experience. On the other hand, younger companies are keeping on joining the party, and some have already obtained the trust of several customers worldwide. There is to say that often these startups are born as side projects of larger shipping companies and then promoted to autonomous organisations, which has its pro and cons.
Another factor to keep in consideration when deciding which tool to implement, is the overall size of its offering. Specifically more and more ship management companies involved in the technical management are looking to reduce their cost of ownership trying to find the most comprehensive software, hopefully covering all the different areas from maintenance and procurements to voyage management, performance and analytics. Most of the players on the market are moving towards this direction, but none comes out as the best in everything. Therefore customers often have to prioritise and go for the solution that is the best in a strategic area but kind of average for the remaining.
Alternatively, if budget is not an issue and you are also equipped with a strong IT team, you could implement the best in each module and then create a network of interfaces to put them in communication. A very ambitious plan indeed!
The domains where more activity has been seen in the last years are logistics and analytics, where the increased focus toward Business Intelligence (BI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have found their natural application. This is very true, especially considering the amount of data that shipping companies are inserting and collecting on a daily basis since several years but only recently, the industry has realised the value of such intelligence. We can foresee that more companies will be joining the market with the demand that will undoubtedly increase.
What shall we expect for the near future?
The whole market had big expectations for 2020 in terms of what jump the technology could have done. The pandemic has affected this schedule, which realistically has been slowed down of 6 months maybe one year. Some shipping companies have delayed or cancelled investment as a reasonable and wise precaution. In the same way the various software houses have reduced development budgets, but we believe the ball was already rolling and therefore is only a question of time before we will see the results.
Finally, we would like to add, that one positive outcome of this whole situation has been that shipping companies like any other business around the world, have experienced a wake-up call and have been forced to understand the importance of digitalisation. Even if in a financially restrictive environment, IT consulting firms have reached revenue records in the last months, and the reasons of this could be traced to the Working From Home scenario that has resulted in complete software tools reviews. We are firmly convinced that this will widen and solidify the basis for what will come next.
In case you don’t find your company in our analysis please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are constantly looking for new tools and providers to help our Customers, so we will be happy if you could show us more of your products.