Digitise to unlock business opportunities

ODeX today has a user community spanning 50,000 users belonging to over 22,000 organisations. Ask Liji Nowal, Managing Director, ODeX India Solutions Pvt Ltd, what is driving this growing user community? She quickly points at the realisation that digitisation can unlock opportunities and create more value from business

Q Tell us about the user community of Odex? How has it grown over the years?

When we launched ODeX – there was no true community platform in Shipping in this part of the world. We wanted to create a platform where all stakeholders could experience seamless trade – through digitisation. We launched ODeX in 2015 with 1 carrier and a few hundred users. Today over 50,000 users belonging to over 22,000 organisations are all a part of ODeX.

Q What are the apprehensions of stakeholders across the maritime and logistics sector while going digital?

The major concerns that stakeholders have center around:

  1. Data security & privacy concerns
  2. Neutrality of the solution provider
  3. Community acceptance and reach
  4. Scalability of the solutions

Q What are the questions that businesses mostly ask before they join the Odex platform?

Most of the questions are on how using ODeX will improve their performance – be it in terms of time, costs or revenue. They also ask about how will getting on-board ODeX improves the efficiency of their teams. In case of multinational organisations – there are also many questions related to the sharing of commercial information, compliance with International norms on data protection and security and scalability across multiple regions.

Q Have pressures of cost and competition provided an impetus to the digitisation of the Indian maritime sector in the recent years?

More than cost and competition; there is now a realisation that digitization can unlock opportunities and create more value from existing business – while simultaneously reducing the overall cost of doing business. People are now looking beyond costs and competition.

They want to see how digitisation can enable collaboration between completely different business models – like fintech & transport tech coming together to provide solutions to Freight forwarders. They’d like to understand how new technology adoption can bring them non-traditional business – for instance can adopting AI open up opportunities from a completely different business vertical.

Q How does ODeX’s data security mechanism insulate it from hacking threats?

We have mult-level encryption – not just for the data, but also on user roles, access levels and passwords.

There is also additional multi layered access control – thus ensuring that no admin user can compromise data security.

We also adopt continuous VAPT testing and are compliant with GDPR and other global security regulations. Even when not required by law, we comply with multiple security protocols followed by the financial services industry – to ensure that user data is safe and protected.

Q How far ODeX’s solution can lead to decentralisation of recordkeeping networks?

ODeX has made it easier to manage ‘record keeping’. And because we have digitized the “interstakeholder” workflow – it’s now very easy for all organisations to store and retrieve data relevant to their transactions in a secure manner.

However, we do believe that the intermediaries or service providers play a very important role as they help ease trade through expertise on the subject, understanding of underlying regulations and compliances and assessment of the risks associated with various transactions. As such, I do not see any stakeholder being replaced.

Rather, over the last 3 years I have noticed that our stakeholders have become more efficient since they are not spending time and effort on repetitivetasks and can focus on the real value-added services.

Q Is integration with cyber security policies of various maritime stakeholders a major challenge?

It is – only to the extent that we have to invest in continuous learning and improvement. But I consider it money and effort well spent since it ensures that we are always forward thinking and are able to stay ahead in terms of security and compliances.