News Article 05/05/2006

Ulysses Systems: Software should work the way people do.

Economic Outlook, April 2006, p.16

Established in 1996, Ulysses Systems is an industry leader providing business intelligence solutions. Ulysses delivers a suite of products and services that drives profitability across customer and business interactions, by distributing critical business insight throughout the extended enterprise when and where it is needed most.

As Mr. Pantelis said, "Ulysses provides technological business services to the marine industry based on advanced telecommunication and information systems that help people work intuitively without special software training, and make information processing more efficient". He highlights that Ulysses'' vision is the establishment of software architectures that are truly user-centred. Ulysses'' product design has a core understanding of how human beings perceive and process information. In other words, software that works the way people do.

Mr. Pantelis explains that Ulysses Task Assistant products help companies effectively comply with nearly all managerial self-improvement targets as well as new external regulations. Task Assistant assists in demonstrating continuous improvement, which is increasingly emphasized in the industry especially with recent legislation such as OCIMF, with the TMSA.

With regard to how the Task Assistant handles ship management, Mr. Pantelis highlights that in general, the value of software lies in the degree to which it can improve process and better support user performance. One example is by improving access to vast volumes of decision related information and knowledge. Different software systems provide immensely different degrees of usability by affecting ROI more than any other factor. Ulysses improves this by a quantum step via its unique Task Orientation, giving 2 multiples of the ROI competitive products.
The economic and the practical benefits that a company gains are coming from the fact that Ulysses adds a very substantial layer of performance support to its software and meets the above challenges in an intuitive and ergonomic way.

The annual license cost of most maritime software modules is the equivalent of 1 to 4 man-days of salary per year of a senior officer or shore-based superintendent.
Most software related processes vary tremendously in the consumption of time and effort from user to user, ship to ship and software vendor to software vendor. Efforts to reduce these are the primary reason for performance support in software design. Mr. Pantelis explains that reporting maintenance on a tanker in accordance with TMSA could take 100 to 400 man-hours per year. A difference of 150 man-hours per year is close to 20 man-days. That doubles when you add more modules and have the chief engineer turn into a clerk. So saving man-days should be high on the priority list.

"Imagine," Mr. Pantelis says, "how the defects/non conformance to the closeout process newly described by TMSA can be done conveniently, given the risk analysis requirements. Surely, some careful design and user support in this cycle of reports will make an essential difference in time and in preoccupation."

"It is true," he adds, "that all the above man time savings do not represent a great percentage of gross income of a tanker if converted to dollars. However, when adding all the components of expenditure on clerical work, it is in the order of one broker commission or one percent of gross revenue. In fact, these savings represent a greater percentage when expressed in terms of operating costs and an even greater percentage when expressed as management overheads. Above all, it is unintuitive work that no mariner wants to do."

As Mr. Pantelis says, Ulysses supports the performance of the user by use of advanced and unique ergonomics via Task Orientation. These are applied to all our modules, which include planned maintenance, purchasing, crewing, document management, on board operations and quality management.

The difference is like the distinction of travelling by plane versus a train.

Both can be effective, however, the decision on which to use is based on the total time it takes to travel and your value of time.

Referring to the distinctiveness and the competitive advantage of Task Assistant, Mr. Pantelis highlights that unlike existing software, which expects users to adapt their thinking to the navigational layout of the product, Ulysses software using highly configurable Task Orientation, matches the navigational layout to the way each role/user thinks through a process. This saves valuable time for multi tasking employees, which is by far the most costly expenditure in software lifecycle costs, while offering the highest level of process control.

Mr. Pantelis stresses that , Ulysses'' Task Assistant software is different in that it has a proven track record of being:

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to deploy
  • Easy to modify by the client

"As a leading supplier to new accounts for Planned Maintenance software, Ulysses offers similar functional features to other popular Planned Maintenance systems. However, we have uniquely given emphasis on the above three priorities as actual experience in the field and client feedback have found that, 80% of software lifecycle costs and company preoccupation is exhausted in these 3 areas"

Panteleimon Pantelis

Pantelis joined Ulysses in 1998 to assist Ulysses with supporting their customers. Previously, he has worked in the technical department in Lyras Shipping and has firsthand experience in ship repair, maintenance and operations. Pantelis has a BEng in Mechanical Engineering, an MSc in Advanced Manufacturing Systems and is an Associate of the City and Guilds Institute.

About Ulysses Systems

Ulysses develops Task Orientated Software that helps companies evolve and effectively comply with most kinds of managerial self-improvement targets as well as any new external regulations. Ulysses Systems established in 1996 is based in London, with offices in Greece, India, Singapore and the United States. Ulysses' roster of clients includes more than 50 shipping companies worldwide.