As COVID-19 Coronavirus affects more and more people worldwide, millions have been forced to work from home. Not surprisingly, this has led to a substantial uptick in the use of modern tools for project management and collaboration.

Microsoft Teams, for example, has seen a 500% uptick in the number of meetings, calls, and conferences in China since January 31. Zoom, the video conference application, saw its share price nearly double. While some businesses found the transition seamless, others are still struggling to adapt to the new normal presented by prolonged remote work.

Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 56% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is at least partially compatible with remote work. It is also predicted that there will be a significant upswing in remote work adoption after the pandemic has settled down, with an estimated 25-30% of the workforce working from home multiple days a week by 2021.

These numbers can be misleading, as it is highly dependent on a business’ technology solutions—especially in the commercial maritime shipping space. As a result, the extended remote work scenario necessitated by COVID-19 has caused many maritime shipping organizations to place a concerted effort on shaping strategies for digital connectivity and disaster preparedness.

The following are some questions to determine remote work readiness when it comes to your commercial maritime shipping workflow.

Can users quickly and readily access the system remotely?

While this question may seem fundamental, many maritime shipping organizations lean on locally-bound technologies for core functions, making it very difficult to efficiently connect every worker remotely. If your system adds layers of middleware between remote workers and business-critical systems and information, it may be time to consider a web-based approach.

Do users have complete, reliable, and timely data?

But just because a user can log in remotely doesn’t mean they have what they need. Commercial maritime shipping decisions are affected by a multitude of factors that are continuously changing. Maximizing profitability means making the best, most-informed decisions at all times. If your existing solution doesn’t offer up-to-the-minute insights, or has users relying on outdated information, you may want to consider a different solution that provides decision-ready data to every user.

Are there requirements for manual data entry between systems?

A remote work scenario is incompatible with time-consuming and error-prone manual data entry, particularly if that manual data entry requires taking data from one on-premises system and loading it into another. It is critical to evaluate your solution’s ability to serve as a single source of truth throughout your entire commercial maritime shipping workflow—including its ability to feed data into your other systems via seamless integration.

How effectively can users collaborate with one another?

The commercial maritime shipping space is rife with complex operational challenges that require team coordination and collaboration in order to solve. It is not enough to simply provide isolated users the appropriate access. In order to enable equivalent productivity in a remote work scenario, a solution must also empower users to work with one another from wherever they are. If your existing system is not doing this, it may help to look for a solution that was designed to facilitate collaboration across global teams from the very start.

Does your existing solution require in-office maintenance?

Slow connectivity and incomplete access are not the only challenges afforded by on-premises solutions. These solutions also require a physical presence in the office to troubleshoot should a hardware issue occur. In an extended remote work scenario like the one presented by COVID-19, it is essential that a solution mitigates internal IT burden and doesn’t chain your organization to a physical location.

Empower Your Remote Workforce with a Cloud-Based Solution

While these questions cover a diverse range of challenges, they share a common solution: cloud technology. With the unique ability to break down barriers between workers and the information and tools they need, cloud-based solutions are key to virtualizing the maritime workforce. Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, maritime shipping organizations have been increasingly embracing the power of digital connectivity. In fact, cloud-based software solutions are expected to hold about 60% of the digital transformation of the maritime freight market share by 2027. There is no doubt that COVID-19 has only accelerated this transformation.

The connectivity and visibility facilitated by cloud technology empowers commercial maritime shipping organizations to work dynamically, efficiently, and effectively from wherever they are. With nothing more than an Internet connection and a standard web browser, users have instant access to all of the business-critical data and tools they need to keep up productivity as if they were in the office.

At Veson Nautical, we are committed to serving as partners to our industry during this challenging and unprecedented time. As developers of the Veson IMOS Platform (VIP), the industry’s leading cloud-based solution for commercial freight and fleet management, we know what it takes to enable the advanced connectivity and data sharing commercial maritime shipping organizations need to work at their pace of business during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Are you unsure of how to navigate the challenges associated with remote work, or interested in exploring what a cloud-based solution can do to power business continuity in the future? Contact our team today.

Speaking of virtual, Veson Nautical has decided to move our ONCOURSE user conference to a fully digital setting in order to ensure the health and safety of our clients, partners, team, and community. ONCOURSE Online 2020 is a free, half-day virtual conference hosted on June 17, 2020 from 9:00 am - 12:45 pm (EST), featuring a keynote presentation, the launch of Veson University, a spotlight presentation of new product features, and more. Register today!