Crowley Maritime achieves agility, responsiveness and innovation in providing services and staffing solutions for shipping.
Crowley Maritime, a global leader in marine solutions, vessel management, energy and supply-chain management, exemplifies just how valuable it is to focus on these goals. Since 1892, Crowley Maritime has constantly, innovated, adapted and worked hard to become the internationally respected industry leader it is today.
More than 20 years ago, Crowley Maritime moved its operations onto the IBM mainframe. Over time, the company developed and deployed hundreds of custom mainframe applications. But after two decades of rapid growth, it became increasingly clear that Crowley Maritime needed to modernize its IT, to move out to the cloud and significantly reduce dependence upon mainframe.
Moving to the cloud meant establishing a cloud-based Enterprise Service Bus architecture that could support distributed processing for analytics and reporting. That in turn meant integrating all existing applications and data. To get there, Crowley Maritime had to overcome many challenges. But one issue emerged as a major roadblock: Integrating mainframe data into the new distributed, cloud-based architecture.
The complexity, labor time, expense, and risks of directly porting decades of data and hundreds of customized mainframe applications made that approach completely unworkable. A different path to mainframe integration had to be found.
In total, Crowley Maritime’s business was being run on over 300 separate mainframe applications, most of which had been developed many years earlier and could not realistically be updated or expanded. While many of those applications were handling tracking of ship and container movements, port operations and land logistics (truck, rail, etc.) were being managed on entirely separate applications. All the associated data each application generated were also stored in separate Db2 databases.
This led to many operational challenges. For example, each time a customer inquired about the status of their shipment, Crowley’s customer service agents had to query as many as 17 different systems to get the answer. Compounding the issue was the fact that none of the agents involved had full visibility to all systems.