COSCON, China's largest container shipping company, is relying on IBM software and services to help streamline its business processes, increase efficiency and enhance collaboration with its customers, partners and suppliers.

As a leader in the shipping and logistics services market, COSCON has 127 container vessels, and has shipped more than 320,000 containers to date. Its ships are regularly deployed to ports across the globe each with their own regulations. To support these diverse requirements, COSCON had an electronic data interchange (EDI) system that consisted of 21 different applications with a variety of architectures and development languages supported on multiple servers. As COSCON's business continued to grow, its complex IT system hampered the company's ability to respond quickly to its ports of call and its external and internal customers.

To become more competitive, COSCON tapped the software and services expertise in IBM's service-oriented architecture (SOA) Design Center in Beijing. The IBM center designed a solution based on IBM's WebSphere software that integrated COSCON's existing EDI applications by deploying an SOA. The open standards-based technology approach from IBM enabled COSCON to connect its silos of data and software applications to allow its internal business to better interoperate with its customers, partners and suppliers. In addition, IBM consolidated COSCON's infrastructure by reducing the number of servers from 17 to three. This solution leveraged the existing resources within COSCON and augmented it with a solution that improved productivity, allowing for more efficient communication and enabling COSCON to quickly react to changing market conditions.

"Over the past few years, we have witnessed an increase in demand for our shipping services. This increased interest has placed additional pressure on our business helping us realize that we needed to revamp and invest in our internal technology infrastructure to position our business for future growth," said Mr. Ma Tao, Deputy General Manager, Information Technology, COSCON. "To do this, we reviewed and tested a number of technology solutions from a variety of vendors and we found IBM's SOA approach to the solution offered the most comprehensive approach to meet our needs both now and in the future."

Since deploying IBM's SOA solution, COSCON has witnessed a dramatic increase in internal efficiency and has achieved higher levels of customer satisfaction. COSCON can now respond more quickly to the changing regulations set by foreign ports. In addition, COSCON has reduced the time its takes to configure and modify its IT system from two to three months to just two to three days. This time savings and greater development efficiency has resulted in higher customer satisfaction levels and has offered sizable cost savings.

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