Swiss Sustainable Yachts is using ShareFile as its document collaboration platform to build the solar-hydrogen yacht ‘AQUON One’
A 19-meter motor catamaran that glides almost silently through the sea, powered by green hydrogen and solar energy: this is the AQUON One, the world's first CO2-neutral solar hydrogen yacht. Swiss Sustainable Yachts AG has been working for several years to make this vision a reality. The first yacht of the Swiss company is scheduled to set sail in 2024.
The topic of sustainability has become increasingly important for the yachting industry in recent years. Many manufacturers are now thinking about how they can reduce the impact of shipping on the ecological balance in the sea. The AQUON project is considered an industry-wide pioneer in this regard. "Our goal is to use the latest technologies from different fields to build a truly sustainable ship, from emission-free propulsion to the consistent use of recyclable materials," says Christine Funck, Co-Founder and CEO of Swiss Sustainable Yachts AG.
To put the innovative concept into practice, Swiss Sustainable Yachts brought together experts from a wide range of disciplines. Engineers from Switzerland, shipbuilders from Spain, designers from Italy and specialists from other countries are involved in the construction of the AQUON One. The company also cooperates with numerous scientific institutions and research institutes including the University of Applied Sciences of Eastern Switzerland, the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM).
"We are a virtual team spread across Europe," explains Franziska Steidle-Sailer, Strategic Market Development Manager at the company. "We therefore needed a platform that would allow us to collaborate and share information very flexibly and efficiently."
The security of sensitive data such as construction plans played a crucial role. "We wanted to have a protected space in which we could develop the AQUON One together without having to fear losses of data and intellectual property," Funck emphasizes. "Because ultimately, it's the development work that creates the value of our company and sets us apart from other suppliers." Swiss Sustainable Yachts was therefore looking for a solution to securely store, share and collaborate on any files and documents with both internal employees and external partners.
After extensive market research, the company decided to use ShareFile. "We had looked at several solutions, but only ShareFile offered the combination of ease of use and high security without comprising easy collaboration we needed for our project," Funck says.
ShareFile is a secure service for sharing and synchronizing corporate data. Unlike other cloud-based file sharing services, the solution offers full flexibility in the choice of storage location. Companies can decide for themselves whether they want to store their data with a public cloud provider, in their own data center or in a hybrid environment. "For us, this was a very decisive criterion," emphasizes Steidle-Sailer. "With ShareFile, we can ensure that all company data is stored exclusively in Switzerland in a highly protected infrastructure."
All access is delivered by a central portal - users can start immediately without installing any software. "This is also part of our strategy: we are a lean company without our own IT department and rely on applications and services like ShareFile that we can use as easily and intuitively as possible," says Funck.
Only ShareFile offered the combination of ease of use and high security without comprising easy collaboration we needed for our project.
Swiss Sustainable Yachts was able to map its existing project structure very quickly with ShareFile and integrate all partners and service providers involved. Each partner has its own folder in which all relevant documents and information are stored. A separate folder is also created for each important meeting, so that the recording of the online call and the content discussed can be accessed at any time later.Podio has now automated over 95% of man hours and has enabled Kandio’s staff to focus on less routine, more strategic areas of work. These automations have given substantial time back to three departments: contributor, partners, and HR operations; giving the business the flexibility and scalability to meet spikes in demand quickly and efficiently.
"ShareFile supports our way of working perfectly," explains Steidle-Sailer. "As a matter of principle, we don't send files as e-mail attachments, but share links to the documents in our central portal exclusively. This ensures that we are always on a consistent level of information." Changes to documents are transparent and traceable for everyone involved thanks to ShareFile's versioning function.
At the same time, ShareFile gives Swiss Sustainable Yachts full control over who gets access to what information, how and when. For example, project managers can specify that partners can view a technical drawing but hinder the capability of downloading it. In addition, access rights can be limited in time and sensitive documents can be marked with virtual "watermarks". All access to the AQUON portal is also secured by secure multi-factor authentication.
"We can protect our intellectual property very effectively with ShareFile," Funck concludes. "The solution gives us a complete overview of who is working with what information and also notifies us, if we wish, when someone has just downloaded a document. Adding new partners is as easy as deactivating access rights when collaboration with a partner is complete."
The company receives consistently positive feedback on the solution from its collaboration partners: "Our partners appreciate that we take the issue of data protection very seriously," reports Steidle-Sailer. "At the same time, the comprehensively secured platform also helps us build trust with potential customers. After all, our buyers also consider it very important that their data be treated confidentially."
Today, it is impossible to imagine the business processes of Swiss Sustainable Yachts without ShareFile. Since the start of the development of AQUON One, more data and documents are managed via the platform every day, and numerous new partners and service providers are now working with the core team to complete the first yacht.
"We see further great potential for the future," says Funck. "We also want to use the platform in the future to map feedback and approval workflows. We are also thinking about utilizing ShareFile’s integrated electronic signatures in our processes. ShareFile offers the right technologies for this and makes our digital processes even more efficient."
We are a lean company without our own IT department and rely on applications and services like ShareFile that we can use as easily and intuitively as possible.