Did you know that approximately 70 percent of scenarios in which a digital transformation was unsuccessful were attributable to poor user adoption or lack of behavioral change?

The reason? Not for choosing the wrong solution. Not for unmet requirements. The lion’s share of digital transformations fail because users are not embracing the technology in their day-to-day work.

That means, even with the best, most innovative technology, a digital transformation is incapable of moving the needle without user adoption and behavioral change. Fortunately, proper change management isn’t magic, nor does it happen by chance. Rather, it is the natural outcome of proper planning, which begins well before initial solution design.

Home to some of the most complex processes and distributed operations in the world, the commercial maritime space is greatly affected by the quality of change management. Let’s take a closer look at the key tenets of change management that will set your maritime business up for success.

The Destination: Defining Current & Future State

If you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there. That’s why the first tenet of change management is clearly defining your business’ current and future state. This includes a detailed analysis of your chartering, operational, and financial processes today, as well as the development of “to be” processes, which capture your maritime business’ new way of working once implementation is complete. Your “to be” processes should fully articulate where new technologies fit and how your team will adapt in order to fully embrace these capabilities in practice.

Make sure to get specific. Without the proper processes, a transformative technology will never unleash its full, value-building potential. In what ways will responsibilities change? Where will automation come into play? Who will be responsible for new tasks? How will your organization leverage data to make better decisions? The answers to all of these questions should be clearly defined in your “to be” processes as early as possible in the implementation process.

The Change-Agents: Empowering Business Process Owners & Superusers

After “to be” processes are defined, the next logical question is, “Who owns those processes?” and “Who will ensure they are upheld throughout the organization?” The importance of this step in the digital journey cannot be overstated, as a “to be” process without an owner will remain hypothetical.

Business process owners (BPOs) and superusers play an integral role in prompting organization-wide change by actively championing new workflows, facilitating adoption, and providing essential internal subject matter expertise. Ideally, these individuals should be strategically placed throughout the organization, directly benefit from the digital solution, and have the aptitude and communication skills needed to perform as active agents of change. Maximizing the impact of BPOs and superusers requires their early engagement and buy-in, effective training, and support throughout the lifecycle of the maritime solution.

The Communication: Speaking Early & Often

Think of communication gaps as small holes in the bottom of the ship that ultimately compromise the speed and effectiveness of your implementation long after go-live. The precedent for strong communication is set in the beginning stages of the project and includes having difficult conversations early, asking the nuanced questions and communicating with candor every step of the way. Beyond technical communication, it is equally critical to communicate the benefits of the solution, including how it will positively impact your business’ ability to capitalize on market opportunities, work more efficiently and effectively, and improve chartering decisions moving forward. Strong communication continues after the implementation is complete, and the lines of communication should remain always open via responsive support channels and ongoing account relationships.

But communication pertains to more than you and your technology partner. In addition, it is essential to facilitate frequent, open communication within your organization. How can departments within your business work together to maximize new efficiencies? Are there capabilities or practices that are maximizing value within your chartering operation that could also benefit your claims desk or back office? Engage in frequent information sharing to ensure best practices permeate the entire organization.

The Journey: Continual Advancement throughout the Solution Lifecycle

When it comes to digital transformation, the journey is the destination. Leading maritime organizations are set apart by their ability to continually embrace digital technologies in new ways that enable them to improve and evolve. What will that journey look like for your business? How often will you realign and reengage? Identifying a technology partner that is committed to helping you adapt your digital solution to your evolving needs is a key determinant of what life after implementation will look like. Selecting a maritime technology partner that is dedicated to your success is the most future-proof investment you can make.

Master Change Management with Veson

When a vessel operator or tonnage charterer embarks on a digital journey with Veson, they receive more than the most proven and innovative platform in the maritime world. They receive the benefit of an entire team of skilled maritime technologists and business process experts, wholly dedicated to their success. Our proven implementation methodology has yielded substantial business results for the 14,000+ professionals that use our platform each day at more than 300 of the world’s leading maritime organizations. From initial solution design, to system integration, user training, ongoing support, and continuing education, our professional services organization prides itself on empowering each user to maximize success, at every point of the solution lifecycle.

Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and the remote work it necessitates, Veson Nautical has developed rapid migration packages to enable select clients to move to the Veson IMOS Platform (VIP) in approximately 3 weeks, plus 1 week of Hypercare. To inquire about your eligibility for rapid migration to VIP, please reach out to your Account Manager or Support contact.

We are dedicated to supporting our clients throughout this time, and remain fully operational to remotely serve our community. To read more about how Veson is taking action during this time, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.