Shipamax is AI-powered data extraction software for logistics teams that offers the most powerful toolkit for data entry automation. In early 2019, SEDNA and Shipamax partnered up to power a shared vision of transforming the way teams communicate—cutting email volume by 70% without missing out on new and critical information.
We chatted with Jenna Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of Shipamax, about the biggest technological challenges high-volume organizations face, how to measure the value of new solutions, and setting teams up for success during the implementation process.
What do you think are the biggest technology opportunities and challenges in high-volume industries today?
Three major areas for innovation are cloud, integrations, and automation.
When it comes to cloud, if you look at the growth of a system like CargoWise over the past 5-10 years, it’s been enormous. That trend is already well on its way and is being further accelerated by the need to adapt for remote work with COVID.
However, many of these rollouts are still taking place slowly because of the sheer amount of migration and organizational change that is needed. As companies shift to cloud systems and away from all-in-one, on premise, customizable tools, the need for integrations to sync up these systems is growing.
Automation is the new kid on the block. We speak to businesses that are growing at such a rate, they actually start struggling. They literally don’t have another choice apart from figuring out some way to automate. Automation allows them to maintain stability as they scale.
How can organizations measure the value of new technology?
Sometimes there are key metrics that organizations measure, like the number of files managed per operator. If they’re tracking that, it’s super straightforward to calculate value because you can see the before and the after. Other times, you need to do a bit of digging because they might not be measuring value so specifically.
So it’s crucial to figure out how much time they’re spending doing certain things and estimate the time saved to give people an idea of the benefit.
I’m always really impressed when an organization already knows exactly how long they’re spending on something and already have the full business case at hand.
When you see that kind of clarity, it’s a sign of how aligned the direction of that company is in general. And it’s also a delight to work with because we can say, “That’s the challenge, now let’s try and improve it.”
When is it better to buy vs. build?
I think sometimes startups lie to themselves when they think they’re the only ones who can hire great talent. These large companies have big budgets and impressive teams.
Sometimes there can still be a little bit of resistance from people wanting to build things internally because they believe it’s part of their core business. How far that definition can sometimes stretch is quite unbelievable. I think it’s really important to clearly ask whether resources should be spent building in-house solutions when there may be many alternatives existing on the market.
In my opinion, when looking at the “buy versus build” question, the advantage of working with an external company is focus. If that’s the only problem the company works on solving, the technology will never get old. It’s always being upgraded versus when you use internal developers and have to fight for their time and resources. And sometimes you don’t want to handle the support requests to deal with that technology once it’s built.
If technology teams are already aligned on where they can add the most value to that business, there shouldn’t necessarily be a conflict. Most external providers can work closely with internal teams to act as an extension on your internal capabilities.
What are some ways to make the implementation process as smooth as possible?
You’ve got technical headaches, and then you’ve got operational headaches.
Way before we even sign a contract, we map out with people exactly what their processes look like and help identify anything that needs to change before they roll out a new technology. Because sometimes, if you don’t address those things up front, it’s not really a great experience for anyone.
Often companies will have project managers or business process managers who are quite good at digging out and mapping what’s going on with their teams.
I think the bigger thing that’s not always done is trying to involve end users and operations managers in the decision-making process as early as possible. Even if they’re not involved in that decision, having really transparent communication about what it means for those teams that are going to use the software is valuable. Particularly if it’s something like an automation technology that people can have fears around.
If you communicate that up front, those teams can get quite excited. Often they are actually overworked. In most cases, all you have to do is bring that conversation a little bit forward rather than it coming as a bit of a surprise at the end.
On the process side, I think it’s crucial to have individuals who are already responsible for driving success in these areas and mapping out the processes, and who can really own it from end to end.
SEDNA and Shipamax
Learn more about how SEDNA and Shipamax work together to drastically reduce email volume and streamline team communication.