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Majority of Navis customers interested in switching to the cloud

Majority of Navis customers interested in switching to the cloud
Andy Barrons, chief strategy officer at Navis

As many as 67% of Navis customers are interested in moving their terminal operating systems (TOS) from an on-premise model to the cloud or adopting a hybrid solution, according to a survey from the software developer.

Today the company has around 15-20 customers who run a Navis TOS solely in the cloud, whether N4, Octopi or Master Terminal, while around 50 sites around the world are utilising some Navis software in a hybrid setup.

Reflecting on the survey which followed Navis Connect in November, the company’s virtual conference, Andy Barrons, chief strategy and marketing officer at Navis, told CM: “It is clear that there is a segment of customers who are very interested in full cloud and a segment of customers who are very interested in a cloud and on-prem hybrid solution. There’s tremendous interest across the customer base.

“It’s a combination of awareness of the total cost of ownership (TCO), the business case for moving to the cloud and its availability – now there is an N4 solution available that wasn’t available 18 months ago. It’s also understanding the change management process and how much lift is required to move from an on-prem system to a hybrid or cloud next generation solution.”

Some terminal operators are finding that when compared to the challenges and costs associated with setting up their own data centres run by their own skilled IT teams, the business case for running N4 in the cloud may be preferable, Barrons added.

Additionally, certain customers requiring hardware refreshes are choosing this time to also look at the option of running N4 in the cloud.

“Every seven to ten years, there’s a big tech cycle and we’re really responding to the cloud tech cycle, which is late for this industry, but it’s going to be very significant over the next five years,” added Barrons.

In Q1 2022, the developer plans to elaborate on the roadmap for its next generation TOS. In particular, it is looking to expand on capabilities around AI, leveraging the existing Navis Smart platform, which enables data to be extracted from the TOS and then applications and data services to be built on top of it.

It also wants to add further detail on the concept of a digital twin to enhance scenario planning and improve and streamline workflows.

Barrons noted: “The next generation TOS will enable greater connectivity between stakeholders and enable sharing of information in addition to providing cloud services, using AI to improve predictions so that our customers can get ahead of problems and manage their operations to reduce bottlenecks in the future.

“Connectivity and the use of AI will help in part to alleviate the kind of congestion we’re seeing. Obviously, automation also helps in terms of the amount of labour you need to run the operations. If there’s a labour shortage, if you’ve got automated operations, then labour shortages can be more manageable.”

Regarding the considerable congestion that has affected container terminals and supply chains in the US and Europe, he pointed out that enabling a more predictive supply chain should be a priority, even if delays are inevitable.

He explained: “It’s one thing when freight is moving unpredictably and it’s another thing when freight is moving slowly but you can predict it. So long as I know reliably when it will get to me, then I can plan. That’s one of the benefits of more visibility and control, which you get from a more predictive TOS.”

Another key takeaway from Navis Connect was a high level of demand for software that can contribute to raising operational productivity, through improving moves per hour, gate turnaround times, berth management and yard planning.

Currently, the software provider has a project at the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) where its tools are being used to improve the allocation of rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes and raise the efficiency there.

Cloud-based analytics are also gaining traction, with customers looking for solutions that can sit on top of N4 to help them make better decisions and have real-time views into the operations.