Navis is the leading provider of maritime software solutions for cargo operations and vessel performance globally. Part of Cargotec Corporation, Navis delivers operational technologies and services that unlock greater performance and efficiency for the world’s leading organizations across the shipping supply chain. Navis provides its N4 terminal operating system and related solutions and professional services to container-shipping terminals located across the globe, as well as carrier and vessel performance software and a maritime business network that gives its customers real-time information and actionable visibility into their shipping operations.
Everything about Navis’ business is big, from the container ships docking at their customers' shipping terminals to the massive amounts of data they process and analyze.
Navis solutions manage the equipment that manages the movement of containers responsible for transporting the vast majority of the world’s goods. The enormous and intricate system of shipping terminal operation depends on Navis software to tell each piece of highly automated equipment—from the cranes that lift containers on and off ships to the vehicles that move containers around the terminal—what to do next.
But according to Navis Vice President of IT Dave McCandless, legacy business intelligence (BI) tools designed help Navis optimize their solutions to enable their customers to ensure their shipping terminals run smoothly and improve operations “didn’t give us the answers we needed. Those tools don’t have great ROI,” he says.
Like most other large enterprises, Navis struggled with data queues. “We had mad users who were frustrated because they couldn’t get the information they needed when they needed it, and it was difficult for our various business units to collaborate with one another,” McCandless says.
“Sigma is more than a tool for Navis; it’s a collaborative platform.”
— Dave McCandless, Vice President of IT, Navis
Several years ago, as they embraced big data and cloud computing systems, Navis executives introduced the concept of BYOQ: bring your own questions. The idea was that business experts could bring their questions to data experts, who would query the data to find the answers. The problem, McCandless pointed out, was that there were never enough data experts to keep pace with the business experts’ questions. Navis needed to find a different approach to helping its people work and collaborate more effectively.
“When I first heard about Sigma in 2017, I was intrigued,” says McCandless. He set up a proof-of-concept (PoC) project with Sigma to see if it lived up to its promise as a better kind of analytics tool. “Sigma encompasses all the analytics power of previous leading-edge tools, but without the baggage of the BI community,” he says.
Navis has deployed Sigma across all its business units. For example, the finance department uses Sigma to aggregate all its customer-related data to yield a customer 360º view. Customer support uses Sigma to track trends in customer experiences so they can improve their services or design new ones to respond better to real-world needs.
Sales managers use Sigma to hone compensation plans for sales representatives based on up-to-date performance metrics. The product marketing, product management, and sales operations teams use Sigma to merge data across all their systems of record so they can respond more effectively to evolving global markets.
“All our data is now equal,” says McCandless. “Sigma lets us point and click and add other sources of data, including data in the cloud, as part of our data collection.”
Navis business units have more immediate access to the full complement of company data. “Customer service representatives can answer questions more rapidly and completely using data they didn’t have access to before,” says McCandless. “We are finally able to implement our BYOQ plans, now that business experts across the organization can use Sigma to get answers to their own questions.”
“Sigma gives us access to all the data from all the technologies that Navis needs to compete and thrive.”
— Dave McCandless, Vice President of IT, Navis
McCandless recognizes that the core of the future of the maritime industry is tied to Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. “IoT enables more communications, faster,” he says. “With increased automation at all the ports around the world, it’s important to merge the data from these new technologies with existing data warehouses. For us, Sigma is the enabling technology that will let us access all the data from all the sources that Navis needs to compete and thrive.”
Sigma is enabling McCandless to ask important new questions such as, what does it mean to be an innovator? He is approaching this question not only for Navis as a company but also for the entire global maritime industry. “Sigma is more than a tool for Navis; it’s a collaborative platform,” he says. “It will let any of our business experts get to all the data about 800 million container shipments annually in several thousand vessels, which means they can work together to create better systems and solutions for our customers. Sigma also is enabling Navis to respond to broader needs of the global maritime ecosystem. By uniting knowledge around the industry and making it available, we intend to help this community come alive.”
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