Digitalisation: Building an ecosystem

Digitalisation IT & Technology
Hermes Logistics Technologies is taking digitalisation to the next level by turning its software solution into an ecosystem. We found out more from CEO Yuval Baruch.

Pictured: Yuval Baruch, CEO of Hermes Logistics Technologies

The Cargo Management System (CMS) was the core of Hermes Logistics Technologies’ software before the decision was made to develop an ecosystem.

The CMS remains at the core, with other products surrounding it including Business Intelligence, Integration, Track and Trace, and Truck Visit Management.

The latest addition is the Learning Management System, all of which comes together through an on-prem, SaaS (software as a service) Managed Service or hybrid solution delivery, says CEO Yuval Baruch.

He says, “The Hermes Ecosystem is a cloud-based variety of products that is built around a core CMS. We then give our customers access to a variety of additional solutions, some directly from us and some through partnerships, which expand the ability of the CMS through enhanced functionality.”

For users, all the solutions are integrated so data generated by the Hermes software is seamlessly integrated with any third-party systems.

This interoperability is an outcome of Hermes’ research and development which gives customers a tailored solution without the need to look for additional technology or double key information due to the ability of information to flow between systems seamlessly.

Baruch describes the Hermes Ecosystem as an evolution of digitalisation, calling the apps, designed to reduce paper and manual work, the first stage.

Developing apps without a cohesive ecosystem, he explained, required multiple solutions, which involved keying information more than once, running the risk of independent solutions being unable to exchange data.

“Here, you get a comprehensive ecosystem and the idea is to increase this until it covers the end-to-end needs of our customers. Once you do that, they get the most optimal possible operation because all systems then talk to each other and all the information on these various systems becomes available in one place,” says Baruch.

For the customer, it requires a lot less effort to use the Hermes Ecosystem and if they need to deal with various vendors and solutions, Hermes’ integration capabilities resolves this.

Additionally, by using one ecosystem that collects all your internal data consistently, this reduces errors and increases efficiency.

Users still require training but everything behind the scenes such as vendor or application management is taken care of by Hermes’ team of experts.

Baruch adds that the Hermes Ecosystem saves the customer money, highlighting the recently-launched Learning Management System, which he calls the next step in digitalisation.

Staff can be trained on each component of the Hermes Ecosystem at their own pace and in their own way.

“When you think about the digital journey through our suite of solutions, it started with applications, now we are talking about a customisable ecosystem. Our most recent development is that the training to use the ecosystem can now be done online. You don’t need expensive trainers, spend money on training the trainer, or even employ us for training, you subscribe to a digital tool,” says Baruch.

Customers have praised the ecosystem, with the first customer establishing it in Asia Pacific. It is being implemented with other customers and there is interest from other companies who have received demos.

What really interests customers is the managed service ecosystem, which is different from the on-premises ecosystem as customers do not need to make large IT investments and deal with the complexity of managing their servers and applications.

He says, “If a customer opts for a managed service, we will host the ecosystem on their behalf and maintain and upgrade it for them. We will do everything necessary so our customers can focus on knowing how to use the applications, making sure connectivity on the ground is solid so they focus on processing cargo.”

Paper barrier
Going paperless has been a challenge with Baruch highlighting two barriers, firstly, customer adoption due to unwillingness to invest in digital solutions and a lack of understanding of the benefits.

Software vendors are the second barrier because of a lack of collaboration, which Hermes is challenging by pushing its ecosystem’s integrated capabilities and working with third-party vendors.

Baruch believes customers have a better understanding that managed services and SaaS solutions are valuable because they save money and makes operations more efficient.

SaaS solutions also allow Hermes to offer better pricing and service to its customers.

He also believes that the pandemic showed the benefits digitalisation can deliver and proved that digital solutions should not be seen as a cost centre.

Prior to the pandemic, the air cargo industry was technologically behind with Baruch saying SaaS had been around for almost 20 years but it is only now being widely used.

“I don’t know if it was the pandemic, we are a slow industry but, in my view at least, I feel there is better movement in the right direction for digitalisation, which will help us go paperless,” he says.

Hermes is on a mission to drive the uptake of digital solutions across the air cargo industry, exemplified by the creation of its Learning Management System, which Baruch calls unique because it makes users skilled with digital tools.

Once they gain these skills, there will be no need to go back to paper-based systems, which makes the business paperless from the bottom up.

Baruch says, “Our LMS removes the need for paper training documents, manuals or handouts. Moreover making sure Hermes users are well trained helps remove the need for physical paper too. When you are trained to a high level and you have confidence in the applications, and a digital tool which contains all the information you might need should you need a refresher, you can go paperless. I think our Learning Management System will be a very strong catalyst for that.”

This article was published in the October 2023 issue of Air Logistics International, click here to read the digital edition and click here to subscribe.