Experience in software development for the maritime enterprise
Development experience and leading technology for Ulysses Systems among other things means the following.
The flexibility to revise jobs at the fleet level. Advanced document management with controlled document flow allows to change procedures and parameters on several ships at once. Component structures that are based on makers and model numbers.
This means that owners of a Task Assistant Software Application can manage tasks and procedures in the entire fleet by categorizing maintenance jobs into procedures and demands from the maker, class and company. Jobtext management makes it easy to prevent reoccurrence of defects on different ships with the intelligence gained through a central database.
Look forward to Optimized Asset Management, Shared Knowledge on a Fleet Level, Improved Task Performance and Defect Reoccurrence Prevention.
Improving software is hard
No matter how elegant the software design, improving the software is hard.
For example: ERP systems are inflexible to changes, making upgrades expensive.
And User Interfaces (UIs) often make the software difficult to use because it is so hard to adapt them to client needs.
Yet, in Shipping, the scale of changing application UIs is not insignificant! Because there are hundreds of UIs to change for each data field that must be added to an application!
And ERP providers selling software in more than one vertical have even greater problems with flexibility. Their software is therefore expensive to adapt, customize and upgrade to meet client needs.
And when ERP providers deliver a major software upgrade, it is not unusual for them to suggest you discard all your customizations and start again…
Domain Situational Awareness
Yet it is impossible to discount that without domain situational awareness, software requires major adjustments. And we have already seen that, with an inflexible ERP, usability deteriorates. But not only because the updating of UIs creates major problems. But namely because the sytem requires domain situational awareness.
For instance, a system needs awareness when it notifies its users. Otherwise, the system risks annoying people with notifications and requirements that bear little relation to current situation and priorities
There are many examples where domain situational awareness is absent:
Busy users find software bureaucratic
Often, software vendors meet with senior managers and busy users who find software bureaucratic.
In our experience and with the examples quoted earlier, without domain situational awareness, software is always going to be bureaucratic.
Which verticals require domain awareness?
Every vertical, without exception, requires domain awareness.
Mainly because each vertical differs. For example, Asset Management, Procurement, HR, and Operations software transactions and interactactions differ. Furthermore, in each enterprise, within each vertical, they interact very differently. We mentioned before that ERP providers selling software in more than one vertical have great problems with flexibility. Is it likely, then, that an ERP vendor, addressing 10 or 20 industry verticals, will integrate software modules that interact differently in the verticals of one industry?
Select software that is situationally aware
How, then, does one select software that is situationally aware?
This is our answer. Find the vendor, who truly integrates different ERP modules to interact seamlessly between each other. Just as the verticals in a marine enterprise do.
Software that is built differently
And does this mean we need software that is built differently? In other words, different in the way that it achieves domain situational awareness?
The answer is “yes”; because there is no universal situational awareness. If there was, there would have to be only one situation in the whole world.
But there are abstractions. If we understand the domain, we can make abstractions that apply across verticals. And the abstractions break down into the specific situations within a vertical that software must address.
To summarise, there are two conditions that software with situational awareness must fullfill. It must be software which makes it easier to model the real world. And software that is dedicated to one vertical. Just one.