Author: Manish Singh
Today marks the anniversary of when our group companies shaped a shared identity as Ocean Technologies Group. 2020 will go down as an extraordinary year of disruption for all, not least our customers, but for us it also represents a monumental shift in our identity as our six brands have combined into a single family of Oceaneers.
So, on this our first birthday, I thought it would be an opportunity to reflect on our first year together and some of the ways in which we have tried to support our customers, seafarers and Industry partners.
Our first opportunity for members of the group to combine our efforts came early in the pandemic as we quickly responded to the emerging COVID 19 crisis to provide a free training resource. “Corona Virus – How to Beat it” was downloaded over 2,000 times and also added to the libraries of our training brands.
One of our key responses was to try to ensure that learning didn’t get locked down, our remote first approach to training meant that our customers faced little disruption to our services, but we were also able to share tips and advice on how to take learning online in a series of free webinars as well as moving to add virtual classroom into our core platform, but more of that below.
We also helped others to deliver their courses online such as our friends at Nautical Institute and along with BIMCO enabled Institute of Chartered Ship Brokers to provide online learning to their stakeholders.
And helping to keep communications going in the pandemic wasn’t confined to training, in April we collaborated with Splash 247 to launch the Maritime CEO series enabling some of the key thought leaders in shipping to discuss issues affecting the sector as a whole.
One of the great things to come out of the pandemic is the way we have all pulled together as an Industry in response. The health emergency and subsequent crew-change crisis have placed unprecedented strain on our seafarers, and it has been more important than ever to support our maritime charities. Through ISWAN we have been able to sponsor two new counsellors to help provide seafarers with help via their 24 hour support helpline. In December we joined an Industry wide #SeafarersDeliveryChristmas campaign to raise awareness of the plight of seafarers and to acknowledge them as key workers and produced a crowd sourced video singalong to help raise spirits. Sadly, seafarers continue to experience difficulties as the pandemic continues and we have continued our support, in February announcing we would help the Mission to Seafarers to distribute their “We Care” e-learning material via our new learning platform at no charge to them.
It has also been a year of welcoming a host of experienced colleagues to our global team. In May we welcomed Susan Steele as our new Chief HR Officer and in July followed up with key appointments of Caspar Atkinson as Chief Product Officer and Johan Gustafsson as Chief Revenue Officer. In August Maarten Van Gool joined as Chief Financial Officer and with Raal Harris from within the business as our Group Creative Director the executive team was complete. Each of them has further developed their functional areas bringing in the talent we need to better serve our customers.
Having a single executive team and their respective functional teams operating across the group was important to ensure that we could bring together a global team across a growing number of brands, in March 2020 we were joined by the Seattle based Maritime Training Services and in June last year a historic partnership with our long term clients V Group saw maritime English language leaders Marlins become part of our portfolio and team.
The partnership with V Group will see us provide training software, content and services to their 600 plus vessels and is only one example of us entering into bigger more ambitious partnerships with our customers. Last year began with OSM installing our Tero Marine TM Master software across the fleet and this year began with the strengthening of our partnership with Wallem Ship Management as they announced that they would be implementing our new Ocean Learning Platform
The release of our new Learning Platform in January marked a new chapter for our learning brands and we had a fantastic turnout of nearly 600 attendees come to our online launch to hear us explain the new features we are releasing and new direction we are taking. It was our privilege to announce that another long-standing customer Wallem Ship Management chose to incorporate our learning platform as part of their ongoing transformation drive. Things like our new virtual classroom are taking us further into a seamless shore and ship joined up solution and plans to open up the platform to 3rd party content enable us to solve more problems for our customers than ever before. This was to be quickly followed by the announcement of an exciting new partnership with Wärtsilä that will enable us to offer ‘on-demand’ access to cloud simulation and type-specific training.
The other big focus for us throughout our first year has been that of user experience and data visualisation. This was not only important our learning solutions, our TM Insights program launched at the end of the year converts real-time fleet-management data into intuitive reports and charts which, when measured against pre-determined KPIs, identify trends and uncover hidden problem areas so remedial action can be taken to improve operational efficiency. We hope that by the time we look back from our second birthday we will be able to look back on performance analytics that cross the learning and operational technology domains providing greater than ever performance analysis capability.
Proud as we are of all we have achieved this year, the thing that gives me most satisfaction is the wonderful support we have had from our customers and friends in the Industry. The amount of goodwill, interest and willingness to engage with on our journey to transform our businesses has been humbling and we thank you all. All the most successful, lasting initiatives in our Industry are born of collaboration, trust and comradery and we look forward to working with you to ensure that Ocean Technologies Group delivers for all its stakeholders.