Ocean Network Express (ONE) is the world's sixth-largest container carrier, with a fleet size of about 1.6 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units). Operating more than 220 vessels, the Singapore-headquartered company serves 120 countries.\n ONE\n\nKosuke Wada,\u00a0senior vice president of business process, IT strategy, and innovation, Ocean Network Express (ONE)\n\n\nFormed in 2017 from three Japanese liner companies, ONE started its services in April 2018, with its IT system a complex m\u00e9lange from its three parent companies. \u201cThose IT workloads were still working with on-premises-based architectures,\u201d said Kosuke Wada, ONE\u2019s\u00a0senior vice president of business process, IT strategy, and innovation. \u201cSince then, we have started to shift our workload to the cloud. We engaged with Google Cloud and have already shifted some enterprise application systems to the cloud. We plan to eventually shift all of our workloads to the cloud.\u201d\n\n[ Learn the 8 CRM implementation practices and how to tell your CRM system is in need of an overhaul. | Get the latest CIO insights direct, with our CIO newsletter. ]\n\nNeed for faster information updates during the pandemic\nAs the COVID-19 pandemic choked the global supply chain across the world, ONE\u2019s operations were greatly affected. The company provides timely information to its customers on schedule or delivery delays via its online and offline platforms. However, the information got outdated fast during the pandemic, with so many last-minute changes to the vessel schedules, train schedules, and terminal efficiency. It was challenging for Wada\u2019s IT team to ensure the delivery of timely and accurate information to their customers.\nAt that time, ONE was using Microsoft Dynamics CRM tool to manage sales, customer performance, and service levels globally. But Dynamics struggled to handle the fast-changing information, primarily because ONE\u2019s IT stack is largely based on Google services, not Microsoft ones. So ONE moved to Salesforce CRM, whose \u201cintegration with Google Workplace was an enormous advantage right off the bat,\u201d Wada said. \u201cWe also selected Salesforce because of its extensive configuration-based features, such as EAC [Einstein activity capture], flexible security model features, API integration, and dynamic process flow.\u201d\nOver six months, ONE implemented Salesforce CRM in 10 pilot countries and is on track to roll it out globally by October 2021,\u201d Wada said, for a total of nine months of implementation. Wada\u2019s team worked with several services firms: Accenture as the global cloud systems integrator, Neuraflash as the North American contact centre provider, and Salesforce as the CRM provider.\n\u201cOne of the greatest challenges we met was coordinating various partners to align on the dependencies and timeline to meet the product delivery schedule,\u201d Wada said. \u201cBut with a great team effort between ONE and Salesforce, we managed to overcome these challenges and delivered a quality implementation on time.\u201d\nLessons from ONE\u2019s CRM implementation\nWada credits the smooth implementation to four critical strategies that helped the IT team focus on timeline and delivery of scalable systems:\n\nAligning the IT strategy with out-of-the-box Salesforce features as much as possible to maximise ROI and reduce time to market.\nTaking the time to understand the philosophy of the CRM provider to find the best fit for your organisation.\nValuing employee experience by ensuring the CRM system integrates with the other software employees rely on, so as to reduce the friction of its rollout.\nCreating a solid change-management plan to communicate effectively across the organization. As part of creating that plan, ONE used Salesforce\u2019s Trailhead gamification platform to test out various scenarios to help increase user adoption.\n\nNext steps for ONE\u2019s IT systems\nWith the new CRM system nearly in place, ONE\u2019s next steps in its IT roadmap include building a data analytics platform in Google Cloud, introducing new BI tools, implementing a machine learning platform, and improving the data governance process \u201cto use the data in a deeper way,\u201d Wada said.\nAnother challenge the company is tackling is the organization-wide adoption of agile development methodologies and devops. \u201cWe are training our IT engineers to be ready for the latest software engineering methods and approaches, and we opened our digital factory [an agile application development center] in Vietnam last year to facilitate our digital transformation,\u201d he said.