Each year I write a basic resources paper for this website that offers some suggestions on how businesses, particularly maritime businesses, can improve their service offerings and increase their revenue. The main points covered include getting individuals to assess their current operations, their future requirements, and think about little changes they can make to help improve their business operations. Some pointers include:
- How to automate their operations and shipping i.e. fully unmanned operations;
- How to collaborate and share ideas across people and business.
- How to think longer term. I.e. Do you need to speed up your innovations or slow down and think more longer term?;
- Assessing your business issues; and
- Thinking of your innovation development ideas.
Looking at technology innovations specifically.
The main thing about technology innovation is there are many individuals, businesses and even in-house talented people presenting many ideas, solutions, and ways of improving services. The key is working out what YOUR business really needs. If the system you want to implement works with other systems, or if it needs to work with other technologies you have, and how and when you can implement it. Many times, you see big expenses spent on introducing new technologies for maritime businesses, in fact also non maritime businesses, and they fall apart, do not work, or are not even needed in the longer term. The staff refuse to use them, or they find them so difficult. And then do the staff have the needed skills to use them? Is there a better technology solution available to meet the business need that is an improved fit? Even when businesses conduct usability testing and training sometimes the system is not a fit.
Take the storage of data for compliance: systems must keep the required data and documentation to be compliant with legislation, for customs clearance, legalities, standards and more, but is there a better way? An improved system? When businesses put out tenders for technology suppliers are they receiving the best applications and systems presented to them to make the most informed decision?
Then companies might turn to getting their inhouse talent to develop their own technologies in the hope they know what they need best! Sometimes an inhouse development works and sometimes it does not! Outsourced companies spend many many years honing, developing, and researching what is needed and therefore, they sometimes have the better solutions. It depends on what technology innovation is needed. Its about making sure businesses go and consider all options carefully.
These factors are always mentioned on this website because they are important for great user experience and adoption of new technologies! And technology is one of the innovations businesses consider often. Of course, before even considering the adoption of any new system or idea, it is essential for businesses to conduct full usability assessments and go and speak to the very people who will be using the technologies: their employees. To get input about what they do, what they need, and their current processes and how any new technology would simplify their lives.
So, when siting at work thinking about what system your business needs consider the following:
- User experience
- System needs for compliance, for improvements etc.
- Technology solutions available i.e. does a system I need exist, or do I need to develop my own etc.
- Training staff require
- Tendering, inhouse development, etc.
- How will be manage our change process.
This blog has briefly examined the innovations to do with systems mostly, but of course many of the innovation ideas and inventions are NOT the implementation of technology. These too need to be considered, discussed, assessed and more. When a staff member suggests a change that helps reduce business expenses, or a way improve trade, sustainability and any other business functions it is important. So important, as it may help improve business processes. And sometimes a creative solution that is the best, might not be considered, while a bad idea is adopted across the whole business. SO, something useless might get adopted, while something useful ignored. Hence, it is especially important for businesses to look at all the considerations BEFORE introducing and implementing any new solutions.
What innovations for 2020 has your business decided to implement and why?