Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 45-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, Norwegian invites consumers to “Cruise Like a Norwegian” on one of its 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea. The Company has two 4,000-passenger vessels, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, on order for delivery in April 2013 and April 2014.
- Microsoft SharePoint
- Metalogix Replicator for SharePoint
For Norwegian Cruise Line, consolidating its content and making it accessible form a central server meant implementing SharePoint. The main SharePoint installation, located at Norwegian Cruise Line’s corporate data canter, is relied upon to deliver critical information to every ship in its fleets en route to or from major worldwide destinations. This ship to shore content delivery poses a unique challenge because it requires the use of satellite transmissions. When there are thousands of guests on board a ship also requiring the use of the same satellite bandwidth to make ship to shore phone calls and conduct business from onboard internet cafes, this bandwidth is at a premium.
As Norwegian Cruise Line’s Intranet Manager, Brenda Kepner was tasked with making the previously static and labor-intensive intranet dynamic and functional; making intranet content available to personnel on board each ship, addressing the challenges of satellite transmission and deploying the company’s mission critical International Safety Management (ISM) system. Given the limited pipeline for accessing content and physical circumstances that interrupt connectivity, lapses in the availability of intranet content are not unusual on board ocean-going vessels.
To accomplish this goal, Kepner set out a number of key deliverables: the solution had to satisfy compliance requirements for ISM documentation control; centralize document control with rapid deployment of updates to all ships; provide a more powerful search engine that leverages metadata; empower business owners to update; and maintain regulatory compliance. To address this critical initiative, Kepner saw the need for better updating of the company’s electronic Safety & Environmental Management System (SEMS).
Initially, our specific requirements exceeded SharePoint’s capabilities alone. With Metalogix Replicator for SharePoint added into the mix, we addressed deployment issues and concerns regarding metadata and versioning.
From a user perspective, Metalogix Replicator has a low learning curve. Because it is built upon the SharePoint server, all the key features of Replicator are built right into SharePoint’s user interface
Norwegian Cruise Line laid out a 3-phase plan for deploying its corporate intranet. Phase 1 would roll out the SEMS content with plans for replicating document libraries, HTML web pages and lists. Phase 2 would involve replicating SEMS site features and phase 3 would be a fully automated system for replicating all types of changes made to the intranet & SEMS.
“Following an extensive proof of concept, we decided to implement SharePoint to serve as the foundation for our corporate intranet, but we had some very specific requirements and satellite bandwidth restrictions to consider,” said Kepner. “Microsoft suggested Metalogix Replicator for SharePoint might be able to address those challenges and requirements. We determined the combination of products from Metalogix and Microsoft to be the complete solution that could address all of our concerns.”
In SharePoint, various departments utilize workflow templates for their content approval processes. Version histories are maintained for all documents and audit trails are available on the SharePoint server located at the company’s data center.
“Initially, our specific requirements exceeded SharePoint’s capabilities alone,” said Kepner. “With Metalogix Replicator for SharePoint added into the mix, we addressed deployment issues and concerns regarding metadata and versioning. All in all, we’re able to better adapt the technology to the unique needs of our environment.”
With network latency the chief drawback to communication from ship to shore, Norwegian Cruise Line determined that replication would have to be one-directional – from shore to ship. The inbound area of the Metalogix Replicator for SharePoint status page indicates selection for either bi-directional or one-way replication.
Another key feature is the use of Replicator’s ability to make use of byte-level differencing to minimize demand on bandwidth. The feature enables replication of only the changes made to documents, as opposed to replicating an entire document again. Likewise, incremental replication means that if the company’s satellite bandwidth is interrupted at any time, the replication package in progress will resume replication where it left off once the satellite feed is operational.
“From a user perspective, Metalogix Replicator has a low learning curve,” said Kepner. “Because it is built upon the SharePoint server, all the key features of Replicator are built right into SharePoint’s user interface. We are still working within the familiar SharePoint user interface. It just has a lot more features with Replicator included in the solution.”