CargoWise edi used the software-plus-services approach to create a highly competitive IT solution for global logistics businesses, expanding growth by 55 per cent. CargoWise edi is an innovative logistics software company based in Australia. In 2007, it redeveloped its flagship product called ediEnterprise to incorporate a range of Web services and technologies. The software-plus-services approach was the catalyst for a 55 per cent growth in business during the height of the global recession. CargoWise edi Chief Executive Officer Richard White says that customers are attracted to the company’s flexible purchasing model and the ability to pick and choose a range of services on a per transaction basis.
CargoWise edi Experiences 55 Per Cent Growth in Tough Business Climate
Richard White, Chief Executive Officer of CargoWise edi, a global logistics software provider based in Australia, has a lot to smile about. In 2007, the company’s already successful flagship product—ediEnterprise—was redeveloped and deployed using software-plus-services. Since then, the business has experienced steady and significant growth. In fact, during the global financial crisis—the period between June 2008 and June 2009—when businesses were highly focused on decreasing costs and streamlining or minimising IT spend, CargoWise edi enjoyed 55 per cent growth. “We’re very excited,” says White. “If we can expand that much in the middle of a financial crisis, imagine what we can achieve in the good times.”
Software-plus-Services Approach Helps Expand Customer Base
ediEnterprise is a modular solution running on Windows Server® 2008 and Windows Vista® operating systems. It incorporates a range of Microsoft Dynamics® tools and several Web-based services to deliver the functionality for managing all aspects of industry operations—including tools for customs brokerage, shipping agency, warehousing, and rail/air/sea/road transportation businesses.
|It’s a win-win situation. Customers can pick services to fit their budgets and business requirements, while we can ‘squeeze’ revenue from even the smallest opportunities.|
Chief Executive Officer
CargoWise edi began selling the ediEnterprise software in 2002 as a locally installed application serviced by its own team of experts. But business opportunities were limited to those in the local Australian and New Zealand logistics markets. By re-engineering ediEnterprise using a software-plus-services approach, CargoWise edi immediately increased the product’s commercial appeal and expanded its geographical reach. White explains: “The Microsoft software-plus-services strategy emerged at the same time that CargoWise edi was planning a new version of ediEnterprise.
“CargoWise edi created several delivery options for the same application. It integrated these with third-party Web-based applications, and built multiple language versions. This strategy was the catalyst for our recent success, opening up new business opportunities and helping us to win lots of new contracts. Very quickly, we’ve moved on from having clients in two countries to having hosted clients in 50 countries,” he says.
White’s 20 years’ experience in the logistics industry helped him to understand his customers’ needs in depth. Early on, it was clear to him that a traditional software delivery model couldn’t always address their requirements and held the business back. He says: “CargoWise edi has several competitors that offer multiple applications in different countries. But these are not what you’d call ‘global’ systems.”
Locally run logistics applications don’t always integrate seamlessly across different business areas. Data isn’t connected and functionality can’t support a range of business requirements—for example, there’s no way of carrying out cross-analysis of different business areas, such as accounting, customer relationship management, and operations. Or, users have to log on to external systems to access information from external transport suppliers.
But with ediEnterprise using a range of software and services, CargoWise edi can address all these requirements. Customers can choose the way they want to run the application—for example, as a CargoWise edi-hosted service, at customers’ data centres, or hosted by a third-party provider.
It was only when White researched the software-plus-services approach that he could see real expansion and growth opportunities for CargoWise edi. He says: “One of our biggest challenges was delivering ediEnterprise in our customers’ preferred format. They want all their data stored locally because they perceive it to be more secure. But at the same time they require ease of deployment, ease of use, and a rich user experience. We realised that by creating different versions of the product and integrating Web services, CargoWise edi could solve our customers’ issues around control, while increasing the functionality and choice on offer.”
Providing a simplified, lower-cost solution for smaller businesses opened up extra opportunities. White explains: “Many of our smaller customers don’t have the experience or skills within their IT teams to manage software in-house. It was difficult for us to maintain the level of service they required, and it was too expensive for them to finance. These customers can now run ediEnterprise as a hosted service and also pay for transactional functionality, such as our online flight schedules, on a per-use basis.”
Pay-Per-Transaction Services Attract Customers and Stimulate Revenue
The online flight schedules service is just one example of the way CargoWise edi has used a combination of software-plus-services to seize a business opportunity quickly. White says: “Our hosted customers usually rent the software on a per-month subscription basis or a one-off licence basis, depending on the delivery model to which they subscribe. This gives them access to basic operational functionality. But we have also created various services, such as the online flight schedules, that operate on a transactional price per activity basis—rather than a fixed price per access basis—which they can access as needed. When a user transfers items between countries and borders, they can click on a button that accesses a Web-based schedule service. This provides all possible airline routes and air and shipping schedules that transport items anywhere in the world. “
This information integrates with local software that aggregates all data on customs tariffs, department codes, and dangerous goods requirements. It costs the customer just 25 cents for each transaction.
White says services such as this are a great way to increase revenue: “If customers with software already in place are offered new, value-added services at low cost, it’s likely that they will choose to adopt them. It’s a win-win situation. Customers can pick services to fit their budgets and business requirements, while we can ‘squeeze’ revenue from even the smallest opportunities. Our growth in the past two years is proof that it all counts.”
Solution Offers a Rich User Experience within a Desktop Environment
With this level of choice and customisation it’s not surprising that CargoWise edi has rapidly become one of the leading IT logistics companies in the industry. But the product’s success is not just about the purchasing model. Zubin Appoo, Senior Manager of the Freight Products Team at CargoWise edi, says that one of the most appealing features for customers is the user experience. He explains: “Users interact with ediEnterprise in the same way they do with any other desktop application. But because it’s connected to the Web, their experience is richer and the range of features is greater.” For example, while integration with the online flight scheduling system provides customers with the ability to retrieve up-to-date flight schedules for any airline, to any location in the world, users don’t think of it as connecting to the Internet. “To them, it’s merely a one-click tool for carrying out mission-critical tasks,” says Appoo.
Scalable Service and Software Environment Supports Future Growth
“With ediEnterprise based on the software-plus-services approach, a greater number of customers have the tools to increase visibility into operations and decrease running costs. These features help businesses remain competitive in a tough market,” says White. “ediEnterprise is quite different from the other applications currently available.”
CargoWise edi will continue to use this approach in its development of new services that help customers respond quickly to market demands. “We’ve already identified a range of new opportunities and we expect to be able to transfer these conceptual ideas to reality quickly and cost effectively,” says White.
“I recommend that other businesses consider the software-plus-services approach because it helps to focus on what customers want and what your business needs to deliver—without the constraints of a traditional software model.”
Software + Services
Software-plus-services is an industry shift driven by the fast-growing recognition that combining Internet services with client and server software can deliver exciting new opportunities. Microsoft is dedicated to helping individuals and businesses take advantage of these opportunities. By bringing together the best of both software and services, we maximise capabilities, choice, and flexibility for our customers. The broad software-plus-services approach unites multiple industry phenomena including software as a service, service-oriented development, and the Web 2.0 user experience under a common umbrella.
For more information about software-plus-services, go to: www.microsoft.com/softwareplusservices
Learn more about CargoWise edi at:
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published October 2009