De­vel­op­ing dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture: Get­ting ba­sics right

The first ses­sion was rather more in­ter­ac­tive and in­ter­est­ing as the au­di­ence and the in­dus­try lead­ers tried to find an­swers to some of the most in­trigu­ing ques­tions on dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion, PCS and use of tech­nol­ogy in the mar­itime sec­tor.

Maritime Gateway - - Contents -

The first ses­sion was rather more in­ter­ac­tive and in­ter­est­ing as the au­di­ence and the in­dus­try lead­ers tried to find an­swers to some of the most in­trigu­ing ques­tions on dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion, PCS and use of tech­nol­ogy in the mar­itime sec­tor.

Q. What is stop­ping com­pa­nies from adopt­ing tech­nol­ogy or dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion?

Vi­jay Minocha: The rea­son for re­luc­tance in adapt­ing tech­nol­ogy is a mix of ad­di­tional cost in­curred, re­luc­tance to change, not hav­ing in­ter­nal ad­vo­cacy and fear of un­known. When you look at where we are to­day with re­gard to where we should be, this is not some­thing which will hap­pen in one day. Digi­ti­sa­tion has be­come a com­pet­i­tive ne­ces­sity now. This in­dus­try is go­ing to be far more con­nected and there are go­ing to be more in­di­vid­ual neu­tral plat­forms that will lever­age tech­nol­ogy to reap on ef­fi­cien­cies and re­duce cost. There is go­ing to be a lot more data and it will be prop­erly har­nessed us­ing this tech­nol­ogy. The in­dus­try will be­come more ag­ile.

Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion is tak­ing more time be­cause our in­dus­try is also plagued by low mar­gins which re­duces the bud­get al­lo­cated to IT. But this will change as tech­nolo­gies that de­liver short-term ROI will be used in the in­dus­try. INTTRA records about 800,000 trans­ac­tions per week, which means data shar­ing is hap­pen­ing. When data is used for pro­duc­ing value far more than the trans­ac­tion it­self that’s when you get worth from us­ing tech­nol­ogy plat­forms.

Vivek Kele: Tech­nol­ogy has to­day be­come the lan­guage of busi­ness. If you use proper tech­nol­ogy it will be easy for your ven­dors to sup­ply to you and your cus­tomers can bet­ter use your ser­vices. ‘Fear of the un­known’ is the first thing I be­lieve that stops com­pa­nies from adapt­ing tech­nol­ogy, es­pe­cially peo­ple from the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions who have been fol­low­ing tra­di­tional work cul­ture suc­cess­fully. Peo­ple of­ten look at tech­nol­ogy as an ex­pense and not as an in­vest­ment.

Ab­hi­jit De­sai: One of the ma­jor is­sues that holds back busi­nesses from adapt­ing tech­nol­ogy is trust. I see that peo­ple don’t want to share in­for­ma­tion on plat­forms. This af­fects the trans­parency of the trans­ac­tion.

Q. A lot of in­de­pen­dent plat­forms ex­ist to­day. How should a user choose the right plat­form?

Liji Nowal: Ship­ping in­dus­try is dif­fer­ent from the rest be­cause each stake­holder is tightly cou­pled with the other, while each has their unique re­quire­ments. So ask­ing them to come on a com­mon plat­form may not be cor­rect, in­stead they should be given the op­tion of con­nect­ing with the com­mon plat­form. A plat­form that is best for a car­rier may not be op­ti­mal for a ship­per as each have their own unique re­quire­ments. As a plat­form provider it is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure in­ter­op­er­abil­ity among all stake­hold­ers. The way for­ward is to have col­lab­o­ra­tive plat­forms.

Ab­hi­jit De­sai: I have seen most of the tech­nol­ogy im­ple­men­ta­tions are of­ten top-down and this is where it fails. Peo­ple on the ground level for whom you are de­vel­op­ing so­lu­tions

need to be con­sulted and there is need for change man­age­ment.

Q. How far do you feel In­dian reg­u­la­tions and en­force­ment is ro­bust to en­sure no com­mer­cial/per­sonal in­for­ma­tion is leaked?

Naval Singh: When peo­ple move to new work sys­tems or Cloud they are very cau­tious about where the data is stored. Data is stored in tran­sit and be­fore tran­sit in en­crypted for­mat. IBM Blockchain pro­vides shared, distributed mea­sure in a per­mis­sioned net­work so you know who are the trusted par­ties and the data trans­mit­ted is se­cured by SHA 256 al­go­rithm. When peo­ple are mov­ing from a pa­per-based to a paper­less en­vi­ron­ment they need to un­der­stand that as the in­dus­try be­comes more ag­ile, the se­cu­rity as­pect is han­dled by ser­vice providers like IBM who en­sure data is prop­erly se­cured.

Vivek Kele: When thou­sands of ship­pers are shar­ing their bill of lad­ing with me, I should have no prob­lem in shar­ing my data as long as se­cu­rity con­cerns are ad­dressed.

Liji Nowal: As a plat­form op­er­a­tor it is our duty to en­sure we pro­vide se­cu­rity to our cus­tomers. There are three cor­ner stones to en­sure se­cu­rity - the first is tech­nol­ogy it­self to en­sure data is stored in en­crypted for­mat and not ac­ces­si­ble to hack­ers. The In­dian In­for­ma­tion Se­cu­rity Act gives as­sur­ance to peo­ple shar­ing data. Com­pa­nies of­fer­ing plat­forms for data shar­ing need to take cog­nizance of GDPR. If data is open it brings the busi­ness model into ques­tion, so tech­nol­ogy providers also need to make a con­scious ef­fort to en­sure there is no leak­age.

Ab­hi­jit De­sai: Hav­ing a se­cu­rity mech­a­nism in place does not make your data fully se­cure, but it re­duces the pos­si­bil­ity of you los­ing the data­bank. There are laws that gov­ern­ment of In­dia is put­ting to­gether for data pro­tec­tion. Ser­vice providers should en­sure they stick to these norms and there is re­sponse mech­a­nism to en­sure if there is a data theft how best you re­duce its ef­fect and pre­vent its re­oc­cur­rence.

Q. IPA is the owner and Por­tall is the ser­vice provider. Who is re­spon­si­ble in case of se­cu­rity breach?

Ab­hi­jit De­sai: IPA owns the data and the sys­tem, so the pri­mary pro­tec­tor of the sys­tem would be IPA.

Q. In PCS can we have an API or Web in­ter­face where we can pull com­monly used in­for­ma­tion di­rectly into an ERP?

Ab­hi­jit De­sai: Yes. It is pos­si­ble. In fact, one of the first things we did when we got the con­tract was the APIS. Gone are the days of EDI and log­ging onto web­site for en­ter­ing data. For a suc­cess­ful plat­form ERPS should be able to con­nect to it and this hap­pens only through APIS. API ar­chi­tec­ture opens up a vast arena of ap­pli­ca­tions that you can bring onto a plat­form to make it a suc­cess. APIS will also make PCS more af­ford­able as there is not much up­front cost in­volved and it will at­tract more mar­ket play­ers to con­nect.

Q. Cur­rently dis­cus­sions about a so­lu­tion are more over doc­u­men­ta­tion. Is it only digi­tis­ing the ex­ist­ing doc­u­ments or we will move up the value chain?

Vi­jay Minocha: If you look at the steps that need to be taken it is from man­ual to dig­i­tal to con­nected to in­tel­li­gent to in­tu­itive and that’s how it will progress. Cur­rently we are at the bot­tom, mov­ing to­wards dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion. The next step will be Blockchain which is be­ing con­nected.

Liji Nowal: It de­pends on the ge­og­ra­phy. For ex­am­ple, Aus­tralia was an early adopters of bank­ing tech­nol­ogy sys­tems, while West Africa is a later adopter. In West Africa busi­nesses are forced to in­no­vate and now they are at the in­tu­itive level. In­dia to­day is some­where at the third level which is in­ter­op­er­abil­ity and we can di­rectly go to in­tu­itive level, if tech­nol­ogy providers dare to do it.

Q. Is the ship­per be­ing con­sid­ered while de­vel­op­ing the PCS 1X? What is the level of his un­der­stand­ing of the plat­form be­ing de­vel­oped?

AMTOI has formed a Tech Coun­cil which is bring­ing all the tech­nol­ogy ser­vice providers to­gether to dis­cuss the fastest way to get to the plat­form. A ship­per can­not come to the plat­form un­til the ser­vice providers are con­nected to it via APIS. Cur­rently the Tech Coun­cil has lim­ited its scope of con­sult­ing to ser­vice providers, but once we gain trac­tion we will also con­sult the ship­pers.

Q. While many tech­nolo­gies are emerg­ing as dis­rup­tion to busi­ness, can there be any dis­rup­tion to INTTRA’S busi­ness?

Vi­jay Minocha: Each tech­nol­ogy is bring­ing a dif­fer­ent value so it ex­ists. We have been present for 18 years and are still grow­ing. There should be more com­pe­ti­tion and dis­rup­tion, but the con­cept at INTTRA is that do not recre­ate what some­body has al­ready done, but add value to it and build on it. We have part­nered with 150 soft­ware en­ter­prises, so that they can use our plat­form and build over it.

Q. Is there any merit in de­vel­op­ing in­di­vid­ual Blockchain based so­lu­tions or do we need a mod­er­a­tor like IATA?

Vivek Kele: There is no prob­lem in de­vel­op­ing in­di­vid­ual so­lu­tions be­cause they will have to ul­ti­mately con­nect to a plat­form. We need these in­di­vid­ual so­lu­tions as they help con­nect to a plat­form im­me­di­ately.

Q. The ses­sion is ti­tled “Get­ting ba­sics right,” so what is right for In­dia, right now?

Vi­jay Minocha: In­dia needs a plat­form which will bring syn­er­gies as re­quired. Plat­forms through col­lab­o­ra­tions will be the suc­cess of the PCS.

Vivek Kele: Plat­forms are in­de­pen­dent, but we have to en­sure that phys­i­cal move­ment of cargo and data in­ter­change hap­pen si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Cur­rently, data in­ter­change is slower than phys­i­cal move­ment of cargo, but af­ter adop­tion of PCS, data in­ter­change will be faster than the move­ment of cargo.

Liji Nowal: Get­ting the ba­sics right is im­por­tant. The first thing be­ing de­vel­oped is the blueprint. What needs to plug-in is not just providers like us but the end-users to get them build so­lu­tions for them­selves. This re­quires con­tin­u­ous en­gage­ment with users who are ac­tual doc­u­men­ta­tion users, lo­gis­tics ex­ec­u­tives. Dia­logue should be­gin with these peo­ple first be­cause the power of the plat­form will be seen if their lives can be sim­pli­fied.

Ab­hi­jit De­sai: Put­ting a PCS to­gether and en­sur­ing reach to the last con­stituent of trade is what will make it suc­cess­ful. Align­ing with INTTRA or sim­i­lar so­lu­tion providers will only en­sure there is more func­tion­al­ity made avail­able. On the other side, the air cargo sys­tem is also com­ing up. In some point of time we are go­ing to have an amal­ga­ma­tion of plat­forms to­gether of­fer­ing a sin­gle view.

(L to R) Vivek Kele, Di­rec­tor,team­global Lo­gis­tics Pvt Ltd; S Pad­man­ab­han, Di­rec­tor, SATTVA Lo­gis­tics Group, Ram­prasad, Ed­i­tor in Chief and Pub­lisher, Mar­itime Gate­way; Vi­jay Minocha, Pres­i­dent, Asia Pa­cific, INTTRA Pte Ltd; Ab­hi­jit De­sai, Head - PCS, Por­tall; Liji Nowal, Manag­ing Di­rec­tor, Odex In­dia So­lu­tions Pvt Ltd; Naval Singh, Man­ager- IBM Cloud, IBM In­dia

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