What is digitalisation?
You might have heard of digitalisation, as it is a growing topic in importance, so it would be good to start with a definition of it:
“Digitalisation is the ongoing integration of digital technologies and digitised data across the economy and society.” (Source: Digitalisation)
From a business point of view, we can consider also this definition:
“Digitalisation is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.” (Source: Gartner Glossary)
In the next chapters we will address in detail the aspects of digitalisation related to sea schools and why is it important.
Why is it important?
All organizations across industries are being challenged by disruptions, especially starting with December 2019, and many are finding ways to align or reinvent their activities to respond to change in market and customer behaviour by using digitalisation.
Digitalisation represents an enormous opportunity, which is revolutionizing the world of work and at the same time it comes with great challenges for the current generation.
Digital technologies are more and more part of everyday life, both private and professional, of almost every human being. The exchange of information, how is it stored, how is it communicated, the ease of access to information and technology for all generations, is growing faster than ever before. The technical development compared to only 5-10 years ago is visible and will continue its upward trend.
Integration of digital technologies and digital data is done by using computers, mobile devices, smartphones, social media platforms and networks, software applications, Internet, and many more and can be seen today in all society, including in daily classroom practice and in management of schools.
Also, recently, the pandemic situation demonstrated the value of digital initiatives in e-commerce, deliveries, supply chain virtualization, process automation and other activities, especially where physical activities were no longer possible, demonstrated also for schools and other training organizations which had to stop physical activities for several months and adopt new technical solutions in order to be able to keep functioning, to allow their teachers to deliver their practice to students.
What may be its benefits to a sea school with few examples?
The benefits of digitalisation for sea schools are very visible and are changing the way these institutions have functioned before the implementation of digital technologies and digital data.
One of the best examples is the use of Digital Conferencing software which offered sea schools a new way of reaching the clients who attend the sailing courses.
Before digitalisation, in most of seas schools, the theoretical sailing courses and some practical courses were conducted physically, most of the times in one location only which had to be rented for the duration of the courses, which would imply the clients had to travel to that particular location or city and attend the courses for several days in a row, adding extra costs regarding accommodation for out of city clients.
By implementing the Digital Conferencing software, the client base was expanded exponentially, allowing clients from distant areas to join the courses, allowing access to courses from the comfort of their own homes, while saving money related to transport/ accommodation.
Another example are the learning platforms developed particularly for the nautical domain: www.ecolregs.com and www.egmdss.com, where clients from around the world can enter at any time (according to their local time zones), access the theory, use the simulators and evaluate their knowhow of COLREG notions and GDMSS SRL/LRC radio communication notions which are critical regarding safety at sea.
Examples can be seen for Marketing and Sales (and After Sales) and we can mention: website optimisation tools, online shop modules, e-mail marketing tools and social media platform tools combined with search engine analytic tools can boost the client base for sea schools, simplifying the communication between parties and delivering targeted content only to certain segments of the client base.
Other examples can be seen for Human Resources and Management where the time sheets of staff, payrolls and other employment related documents could be easily stored and accessed by using digital tools and the use of CRM software and LMS software brings real time reports related to clients/students and might help make day to day management decisions much faster and also more accurate.