Technology should make life easier for those who use it, eliminating repetitive and mundane tasks and allowing users to focus on what they’re best at and what they enjoy doing. And for small to medium sized shipowners and managers who have the suspicion that there are areas of their business that could be improved upon – for example maritime recruitment processes or crew management methods – this could be down to a data gap.

But what is a data gap? At its very simplest, a data gap is exactly what it sounds like: it is a gap in an organization’s data. Something is not connecting in the way it should connect, leaving the business unable to fulfill its full potential. 

First of all, it should be determined if there is actually a data gap in the first place. If everything is running at peak performance and crewing systems, maritime recruitment efforts, crew management tactics, and software tools are working as one cohesive whole, that’s fantastic! But if there are areas that could be improved upon it could be well worth running a data gap analysis.

What is data gap analysis?

Gap analysis is something that compares the expected outcome of something with the actual results. For example, maybe a company expected to fill a certain number of vacant positions within a fleet in a yearly quarter but came up short. That would indicate that there is a gap in their maritime recruitment strategy. And that gap needs closing.

Once the target outcome has been compared with the actual results, ways to close the gap between them can be explored.

Data gap analysis can be done to examine a company as a whole, different departments and teams, and even individual employees.

How to perform data gap analysis

Performing gap analysis doesn’t have to be…well, a performance. It doesn’t have to result in major upheaval and the answer to under-performing areas or teams could be as simple as tweaking a few processes, working more closely with a certain employee, or implementing a new software solution, such as a crewing system.

See the steps below:

  1. Identify the team, area or process to be analyzed
  2. Identify the best possible results or outcome
  3. Analyze the present results or outcome
  4. Compare the present outcome with the ideal outcome
  5. Look at the gap and assess the difference
  6. Consider how to solve the problem to close the gap
  7. Implement the solution to the problem and monitor results

How technology can help close the data gap

It is quite possible that any gaps identified lie somewhere between two of the most valuable assets of any business – people and information. At Martide we’ve embraced the new wave of technology-driven change that impacts these assets in order to help them work more cohesively. 

For example, a software solution such as a crewing system will enable a business to extract the maximum value from their data, manage crew more effectively and thus allow them to keep pace with – and ideally outperform – the competition.

It’s often said that people are the backbone of any organization. But the problem in the maritime industry is that many companies are not just managing the employees who are working in shore based maritime jobs. They’re also managing crews. And seafarers and contractors are often isolated. So how can these valuable assets be brought closer together to gain the maximum advantage from them?

In the maritime industry technologies such as crewing systems, and crew management and maritime recruitment platforms can have a huge impact in terms of empowering seafarers and connecting them with the rest of the organization.

For example, Martide’s mobile app for seafarers not only helps them find jobs, and shipping companies fill vacancies more quickly and easily, it also bridges the disconnect by making it simpler for employers and crew and candidates to stay in touch.

Technology is also a force for change: it can be harnessed to help companies work more efficiently by eliminating reams of paperwork, predicting ETAs, ensuring there are no breaches in safety and security, and improving and modernizing training for seafarers.  

Stop for a moment and think about what the biggest challenges that your organization needs to overcome are in order to close your data gap or gaps.

For example, is your data scattered across a confusing mass of tools and programs and even filing cabinets? Is it hard to keep track of who has access to what information? Is the information flow in your business less of a flow and more of a stagnant puddle?

If so, it might be time to take action.

<Eve Jones> for Marine Startups