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2016 May June Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry

MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE remain a popular method of Internet use, there is no denying that it appears mobile devices will become the preferred choice to access the Internet. Provided the marina data is protected and with reliable Internet connectivity, this means that many marina employees have already moved from being tied to a desktop or laptop PC to connecting to the marina management system from anywhere. Comms on the go With greater coverage and relative decreases in the costs of Wi-Fi, cellular and high-speed Internet access, the use of smartphones and tablets for working in-and-around the marina and boat yard is becoming common place, ranging from meeting customers on the water and at the dockside, carrying out muster checks and dock walks, to taking meter readings for pontoon services such as water or electricity; all accessing and updating the incumbent marina management software. Whilst technological changes in the last ten years or so have made a lot of faceto-face communication unnecessary, in the case of marinas, mobile technology and Internet connectivity is freeing up staff to give a more personal service. Tablets and mobile devices don’t mind being moved, customers do! With the continuous innovations in cloud-based information storage security, marinas are gradually moving away from keeping data on-site. Most multiple site marinas now opt for an internally managed hosted solution, i.e. one that allows information such as customer and boat records to be shared between individual marinas, giving clear benefits to customers and providing the marinas with information to offer exceptional personal service. With the associated cost of cloud offerings on a downward spiral, many single marinas are now opting to host their own customised marina management systems too. It is worth considering other kinds of digital transformation currently being seen in the marina sector. Many marina websites are no longer dominated by just type-written pages. In collaboration with marina management suppliers, the websites include customer portals for on-line contract renewals, statements and booking berths, all talking to the back office systems. Many boat owners and customers expect such services, so it’s important to react quickly to changing customer demands. Business Dashboards designed for mobile devices and collecting data from marina management systems, which provide a brief snapshot of the entire business, are becoming increasingly popular and mainstream. Nowadays it’s very easy to customise such screens to suit the marina and make it available on any device, in any location with an Internet connection. Such technology makes it easier to raise the right questions, which, when answered, lead to more informed decisions. Time to integrate More than any single technology, marinas need to continuously consider the integration of systems that will allow them as a whole to move quickly as the marketplace changes. For example, we are seeing more web services and Apps developed for boat owners, such as Blue Water App in Europe and Snag-A-Slip in the United States. For participating marinas, these allow boat owners to search for and reserve berths in minutes. Sooner or later this new market place will consolidate and, provided it takes off, marinas may feel that for sound business reasons they have to sign up to this new sales channel. At the end of the day, a marina business is no different from any other. It’s all about getting things done, creating value and delivering products and services to boat owners and customers in a rapidly changing technological environment, ruled by the ruthless and often brutal discipline of competition and profit and loss. The good news is that the best way to find out what someone wants is to talk with them, and for marinas this new mobile age should give them the technology to do just that. Contact HavenStar/Star Computers Ltd in the UK on email: marinainfo@starplc.com 36 www.marinaworld.com - May/June 2016

Image: Hull Marina A new generation of harbour and marina management software. Whether you’re managing the largest international harbour, or an independent family-run marina, keeping a tight ship is critical. • Secure “Cloud” based solution, accessed from any location, on any device. • Integrated CRM, every customer, all of their contact and boat info, preferences & history. • Bulk invoicing, Contract renewals, emailing, letters and e-marketing. • Full operational and financial reporting. • Instant “Live” view of Customers, including their Vessels, Contracts, Renewals, Payments and Communications. • Mobile and online payments built in. • Location/Asset Management, Maintenance scheduling and logging, Task Management and Resource scheduling. • Military-Grade Hosting; ISO 27001:2005 Audited and Certified and PCI Level 1 Certified. • Data is 100% safe and 100% protected. www.harbourassist.com | info@harbourassist.com | +44 (0)1208 590616

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