Transforming an ageing technology infrastructure to unleash efficiency and innovation.

The limitations of ageing technology infrastructure. 

Our client, a leading independent shipping feeder operator, faced difficulties in providing efficient, real-time and targeted services to its customers while maintaining competitive prices. A complex and opaque supply chain, hyper-bespoke agreements with every customer, manual processes, and a lack of digital capability resulted in low trust of the data and invoice errors.

To address these challenges, our client needed a complete transformation of their back and front office software systems and processes, as well as greater agility within their workforce and overall business model. 

A human-centric solution, powered by technology, and backed with years of expertise. 

At Alumni, we recognised the need for a modern integrated set of systems that were easy to use internally and for customers and partners to integrate and rely on. Alongside the ability to build cloud-native applications which leveraged real-time data fabrics, Alumni provided full programme management in the strategy and embedding of the new software programme into our client’s front and back-office teams. Our team of Consultants and Technologists delivered the Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) into four workstreams – a booking system, a contracting system, a scheduling and capacity management system, and a system for ships arriving in port to manage the distribution of accounting. 

The platform was built on Confluent Kafka and Kubernetes, and Agile software development pods and designers focussed on end-user experience and optimisation. 

Yet however fast and sophisticated our client’s new technology and systems were, without the active empowerment of their workforce, the full benefits of their transformation may remain unrealized.  

To ensure the success of the transformation, we took a top-down approach to foster an innovative, collaborative, and entrepreneurial culture. Leadership was trained in Objective and Key Result training and a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Project Management Office was established to align the IT and Business Transformation units and define a client-specific, systematic pathway to achieve Agile ways of working.

An extensive internal communications plan was enacted to direct and publish video updates bimonthly on the progress of the transformation, conduct regular Change Impact and Readiness surveys, as well as engage support meetings to key users during the migration. We also wrapped these services into our differentiated contractual model and proprietary tool, so that our clients would have program visibility on their desired outcomes, assurance of their delivery milestones, and control over expenditure.

We accelerated the result of the acceleration programme. 

The Alumni Hyperscale Data Fabric and cloud-native Application implementation drove significant benefits to our client, including expediting integration with major partners and invitations to present at industry bodies on the future of data exchange in shipping. 

The first two MVPs were successfully delivered against the release plan, achieving 92% and 100% adoption, respectively, across 75 agencies and product owners in more than 50 countries within 10 months. 

In conclusion, the programme was designed and delivered against 5 key value markers: 

  • The digitisation of the shipping fleet management provided end-to-end enhanced visibility, including booking-to-arrival visibility with real-time notifications. This increased the accuracy and reliability of data for bookings and capacity planning and allowed for a single source of truth that could be translated into value-driven KPIs and a strategic dashboard optimized for cost, time, and carbon emissions. 
  • Scalable and efficient operations were achieved through our scheduling and capacity simulations, giving our client greater control over vessel routes, schedules and profitability. This included the management of Remaining-On-Boards (ROBs) and cost allocation across parties such as ports, charters, and contracts.  
  • Our client now has a centralized platform that tracks and reports shipments, manages contracts, and sends invoices with ease. This streamlining of information between supply chain partners has improved the quality of data output, and reduced manual processing time and errors, as well as unplanned vessel downtime. Line managers have reported significant time savings in their workload, enabling them to focus on long-term business strategy and development. 
  • By automating processes and integrating our solution with third-party systems and their existing infrastructure, we generated real-time visibility for our client’s end-to-end reporting, more efficient and accurate bookings, and differentiated products that ultimately repositioned our client’s value proposition from price-based to value and experience-based. 
  • This new competitive advantage not only increased revenue but strengthened customer relationships with the assurance that their data was being safeguarded through a secure management environment with automated backups, archive capabilities, and managed data quality of service monitoring. 
  • We trained and coached more than twenty employees at the executive level on all aspects of Agile and how to effectively embed an Agile mindset and cadence downstream. Key elements included Product Ownership, Prioritization, Sizing, User Story Writing, and how to align SAFe PMO with corporate governance. A client-specific Agile playbook was then created to be in effect for all projects moving forward.