Why Now is the Time to Embrace SaaS-Based TOS



Sumitha Sampath, Vice President, Cloud Operations, Navis, and Ajay Bharadwaj, Senior Director, Product Management, Navis


There is no doubt that software as a service (SaaS) has disrupted the traditional on-premise license software model.

From finance and HR to sales enablement and marketing, companies are increasingly adopting subscription based SaaS solutions in virtually all functions of their businesses.

This surging demand shows no sign of slowing. In 2020 alone, global analyst and advisory firm Gartner (Costello & Rimol, 2020) forecasts that the SaaS market will grow to more than $104B. By 2022, that number will increase to more than $140B.

Yet when it comes to the container shipping industry – and terminal operations in particular – adoption of SaaS-based solutions has been relatively slow despite the availability of viable and proven offerings. For many terminals with highly complex operations and well-established processes/workflows, comfort with the status quo is often a formidable roadblock.

Concerns around operational disruption, a lack of skilled personnel to implement and manage system upgrades, and limited advocacy for change are also contributing factors – and have stalled terminals from reaping the benefits of SaaS.

But the tide is changing and momentum is building. Pioneering container terminals around the world have begun to publicly acknowledge their commitment to SaaS-based
TOS solutions and cloud-hosted services – with many more expected to follow suit. A recent survey (Navis, 2020) of global container terminals revealed that interest in cloud solutions has risen 40% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Further, 79% of survey respondents reported having an existing timeline to move or considering moving to the cloud.

So why is now the right time for the industry to collectively make the jump?

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