Knowledge is Power
Frequently Asked Questions
Plan Your Escape
My current system is old but sort of works so why change?
To compete or just to survive, carriers today are looking to technology as an enabler of change. Legacy systems are likely to perpetuate old business practices and severely constrain the ability to be responsive to customer expectations.
My current system is highly customized for our unique requirements - would it be better to build our own?
Older systems were generally built for a specific carrier and therefore needed substantial modification to meet the needs of other carriers. By design and using modern technologies, we are able to provide extensive user configuration options which enable adaptation to each specific carrier's requirements. This offers substantial advantages over the risk and cost of in-house development.
What about the risk of disruption to our business?
Our proven Odyssey Implementation Plan will ensure control of the project and will minimize the impact on the business. Because we are a cloud solution there is no need for hardware, software and IT support to implement the system. We provide a rapid setup and minimum time to go live.
Implementing our current system was painful and expensive, and we do not have the appetite to do this again.
As a modern flexible solution built using the latest technology and designed specifically for carriers, Odyssey is designed to resolve the challenges of legacy solution and their implementation, significantly reducing the resource requirement, time and costs and ensuring a smooth fast transition.
Can we take our time and just replace one component at a time?
A module by module replacement is sub-optimal at best, is more expensive and generally perpetuates all the issues with the current legacy systems. Odyssey implements a high degree of end-to-end integration and use of digital connectivity which ensures rapid implementation and a shorter time to benefit.
We would move to a new system if it is cheaper than the current one.
The cost of maintaining a legacy system is rarely just the annual software maintenance fee. We give some guidelines on actual costs in the determine the BENEFITS section below. Implementation of a new solution also delivers substantial upside returns not available through continued use of legacy solutions.
Define the Vision
What does a modern software solution for a carrier look like?
Modern solutions are very different from legacy solutions which were primarily a collection of functional modules sitting on one or more databases. To meet current and future needs a solution needs to incorporate technology and functionality in the following SEVEN areas (we call these the 7 pillars of next-generation carrier technology - the unique blueprint of the Odyssey platform).
Scope: No longer restricted to the internal requirement of a carrier, Odyssey supports the end-to-end process including customer, shipper portals, agents, ports, terminals and depots. A network approach ensures inter-operation, connectivity and inter-enterprise workflows as well as providing added value to existing and new carriers as the network continues to grow.
Technology: Where legacy solutions were on-premise or hosted, Odyssey operates in the cloud - benefiting from ease of adoption, connectivity and collaboration as well as increased performance, availability and cyber-security. Delivering the software as a service (SaaS) eliminates many of the risks and costs associated with legacy and non-cloud solutions by avoiding technology and solution obsolescence and ensuring all carriers on the platform benefit from continued research, development and enhancements. Odyssey Connect is the powerful foundation for the Odyssey solution enabling digital connectivity while also accommodating new technologies such as APIs, IoT, AI, Machine Learning, Elastic Search, and Blockchain as a few relevant examples.
Integrity: A 'Single Version of the Truth' - real-time consistency of data at all times for all participants and all users. One up-to-date version of the Schedule, of Bookings, of Tariffs, of Equipment, of everything - for everyone!
Agility: Legacy solutions were often functionally rich but this functionality was often developed for a single carrier and implemented in a rigid way making it difficult to be adapted for another carrier or to reflect changes in requirements. Odyssey benefits from a technology foundation which allows significant levels of user-driven configuration and adaptability to minimize implementation time and cost and to ensure ongoing adaptation to new business processes and requirements.
Customer-Focus: Legacy systems often reflected the previous asset focus and commodity nature of the shipping business and therefore were primarily focused on the operation of the carrier alone. With carriers recognizing the need to offer increased customer service, Odyssey incorporates a comprehensive portfolio of customer-facing functions (typically white labelled with a carrier's brand), improved data quality and increased responsiveness designed to drive customer loyalty and to provide service differentiation.
Automation and Digitization: Data increasingly makes the world go round and a modern solution, therefore, needs to enable end-to-end digital operation, automation and ease of digital connectivity. Odyssey is unique in its powerful technology infrastructure which supports an extensive range of digitization options.
Intelligence: As data has become an asset (through consistency, real-time availability and quality), Odyssey has incorporated a range of decision support and intelligence tools to aid operational, tactical and strategic decision-making through the use of advanced analytics, algorithms, AI and Machine Learning.
Will a new solution provide competitive differentiation?
Competitive Differentiation is enabled by technology in combination with Service, Process and People. Technology alone does not provide differentiation but is a vital component and key to ensuring that execution delivers to the service expectation. Odyssey is designed specifically as a customer-facing solution supporting service differentiation with seamless integration to, and real-time consistency with, the operational functions of the platform.
Is this only for the largest carriers?
Technology increasingly allows middle-sized and smaller carriers to provide a cost-effective solution and service previously only available to the very largest carriers. We use a Maturity Matrix Template tool to help a carrier understand where they are today, where they aspire to be and where they need to be at a minimum. This provides a template for the degree of transformation required and how best to enable this with a new technology.
Determine the Benefits
My current system only costs me annual maintenance, so a new system will be more expensive?
The true cost of legacy systems is typically much greater than the annual maintenance including for example;
Hardware, Database Software, Network infrastructure and other infrastructure costs, maintenance and replacement costs.
IT resource (internal and outsourced)
IT services costs including customizations, EDI connectivity, peripheral solutions, interfaces etc.
Upgrade costs to implement new versions of database and operating system
Upgrade costs for the legacy system itself typically associated with installation and testing of a new release and the redevelopment and testing of customizations and interfaces
The cost profile of a cloud based solution smooths the cost over time as there is no up-front software license fee and no support and maintenance cost. We have been able to cost-justify implementation of Odyssey for some carriers purely on the basis of transition from legacy technology to a cloud solution even without taking into account the significant economic benefits outlined below.
How do I cost justify replacement of my current system?
Carriers who have implemented Odyssey realize benefits across the following areas:
Reduced IT Infrastructure Costs: As outlined above
Increased Efficiencies: Reduced end-to-end process times (for example a reduction in the time to produce a door-to-door quotation from 2-3 days to less than 10 minutes), significant reduction in manual interventions, improved collaboration with Agents, less fire-fighting. Efficiencies result in lower costs, the ability to grow without increasing costs and/or the more effective deployment of resources.
Increased Cash Collection: Improved demurrage, detention and storage recovery, reduction in quotation and pricing errors, reduced time to invoice and reduction in invoicing errors.
Improved Customer Service: Reduce firefighting and customer issues, increased data quality and responsiveness, increase customer retention, improve customer experience through customer portal and online facilities
We work with carriers to assist in the construction of a compelling business case using the Odyssey Business Case Template.