We all know Google and Microsoft do not cooperate much with each other, so if you were puzzled at the title of this article, you were right ! Google would never host its most expensive asset, its data, on the servers of Microsoft. The shipping industry is known for its fierce asset players, aggressive chartering people, and endless stories of sophisticated down market buyers.
Would you ever use "naive'" to describe anyone in this business? highly unlikely one would think. As it turns out, some of the most aggressive and cautious companies, are rather naive when it comes to their data and architectures. We have recently witnessed a flood of shipping companies who decided to sell their internally developed ERP product on the market. There are many things wrong with that trend, starting with the fact that running a software business within a ship management business, have virtually nothing in common. The corporate DNA of a real software company is almost in complete contradiction to that of a good ship-management company.
The greater concern it that a ship managers would actually buy a software from a direct competitor. Lets make it specific as an axample, so if you heard that Niarchos used to put all of his cash and accounts in a bank owned by Onasis, you would probably react similarly to the Google and Microsoft example. Actually, putting your cash in your competitor's owned bank is safer than putting your data on their server. Cash is cash, and you know when its taken, a bank is also regulated, you cant take cash and use it, it cant be copied. When you put your data on the servers of your competitor, how do you know that it's not being used ? the margin on ERP software are slim, yet one good VLCC fixture can be worth millions. What will happen when you lose a 5mm fixture to someone, do you have a way to know that CHRS took the other ship because they knew about your incidents ? or PMS issues and breakdowns ? or Capt issues with the office ? or your real TMSA situation ?