Migration of a core legacy system to a .NET platform that eliminated the risk of not being able to maintain day-to-day operations.
Steamship Mutual is one of the largest and most diverse Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Clubs in the world, and a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs participating in the International Group Pool.
Steamship Mutual’s aim is to provide a comprehensive P&I service backed by sound underwriting and strong reserves. Club members remain at the centre of their business as Steamship strives to offer the best advice and support wherever they are in the world.
Steamship Mutual and Future Processing have been working together since 2008 on a range of projects.
What the client needed
Steamship Mutual’s IT department found that supporting several applications of business-critical importance was becoming increasingly difficult and costly. The reason for this was a rapidly declining resource pool and the inability to maintain the old programming code.
To alleviate the risk to the business, Steamship Mutual identified a need to migrate the applications to the .NET platform that their more recent applications were written in.
combined owned and chartered gross tonnage in 2019/2020
number of our team members working for Steamship at different stages of the project
Scope of work
Migration of a core legacy system to a .NET platform which eliminated the risk of not being able to maintain day-to-day operations.
Results of our partnership
The project was a very complex task technically as it involved working with a large programme. The old PowerBuilder code was difficult to read, there was limited documentation and the procedures and business logic behind the code were highly complex and had evolved.
We decided to address these issues by dealing with one application at a time, breaking work into three-week iterations. This approach allowed us to grow and shrink our team from anywhere between 9 and 35 people as required.
Steamship Mutual asked us to design additional functionality for the applications. Once they had been migrated to .NET. – we helped with architecture, design and provided ongoing Quality Assurance and testing.
While it was a very technically complex project, Future Processing made it pretty painless for us. (…) Future Processing has experience of lots of different clients with different technical issues and solutions, so it is very helpful for us to tap into their expertise and get ideas that we sometimes hadn’t even thought of. As well as helping with the architecting and design of the new applications, they have also given us advice on other projects.
Communication in the project
In any large, long-term project, a key factor to a successful outcome is communication. We have learned that the approach that works best is meeting the client after each iteration.
However, we felt that we can do more to make our communication as smooth as possible. That’s why we developed our own software – a combination of Instant Messaging and a project management tool – we called it Project Notes.
It has allowed the client to make comments directly in the code and ultimately, made projects easier to measure. Project Notes truly makes a material difference to projects and their outcomes. We now use it within Steamship Mutual’s on all IT projects and it has really improved our capture and measurement.
The solution proved so successful that it was introduced inside Steamship.
We created a bespoke Android application that provides details on law regulations behind the functioning of P&I Clubs.
Users are also provided with the current profile and financial situation of the club as well as contact details and correspondence for staff.
The app, available for most Android and iOS devices, is aimed at ship owners, charterers, brokers, lawyers, surveyors and anyone interested in maritime affairs.
It makes Steamships’ day-to-day work easier, since all the necessary information is just a click away, instantly available, regardless of location.
We have been able to work with Future Processing time and time again, on a range of projects from application development, to QA, mobile application development and even IT consultancy. Consequently, we have worked with a range of different employees with different skill-sets, but every time we have been delighted with the outcome of the individual projects. (…) We were also very impressed with their approach and adopted some of it for our own in-house projects. We remain impressed with the level of QA the company provides.
Main benefits of our partnership
We are proud to have eliminated Steamship’s risk of not being able to maintain their core systems and ensured the continuity of their business during migration.
We successfully migrated all data, resulting in easy to maintain and upgrade .NET applications that gave Steamship Mutual a chance for further development of their business.
What’s more, the new functionality that our team added enables users to automate more tasks and complete critical business processes a lot quicker.
We have become a near extension to Steamship Mutual’s own IT department and continue supporting them successfully, advising on introducing new features, updating software and adjusting it to law changes.
Future Processing has delivered well-documented, high-quality, user-friendly software that has little technical debt and will be easy to maintain and add further functionality to. The new .NET applications created by Future Processing, along with the supporting documentation, will, in the long-run, be easier to maintain and upgrade and consequently will last the company much longer. The users like the new applications and are happy with the new user interface and the enhancements which were implemented alongside the migrated systems and that is a key success criterion for us.
Used in the project
Looking to the future
Steamship Mutual is planning to continue to work with Future Processing in other areas.
We have been working with Future Processing since 2008, continuously. In the interests of best practice, we have reviewed all our partners during that time, Future Processing included, but they have always come through as the best choice for us. Future Processing has such a large pool of highly skilled and hard-working IT staff that whatever challenge we have thrown at them so far, they have completed successfully and with great attention to detail. We enjoy working with them and I expect we will continue to do so for a long time.
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