Authored by Nicole Ghalwash, product marketing manager at OCI, Nitin Kapoor, director of customer and partner experience programs at OCI Cloud Engineering, and Christopher Pratama, cloud architect engineer at OCI.
The authors want to thank Wei Min Zeng, head of IT at CWT Globelink, for his contributions.
Formed in 1988, CWT Globelink is a global freight forwarder with a network of over 100 offices in 32 countries and about 3,200 employees. Headquartered in Singapore, its core competency is consolidating loose cargo, combining goods from multiple shippers into full containers. The company also provides a range of value-added services, including repacking, repalletization, customs clearance, and import and export documentation.
CWT Globelink prides and differentiates itself with both the strong products and services it offers and the range of customers it serves. The company services anyone from large, international customers to customers in the small and medium business sector. Its portfolio of products and services includes technologies that provide multiple touch points to meet the needs of all customers, ensuring that each customer has a unique and pleasant experience.
Over the years, CWT Globelink’s freight management systems have evolved: They have added more capabilities and modules, such as tariff management to customer booking automation. To keep up with their evolving products, CWT Globelink adopted a data-driven strategy with cloud technology at the forefront. Part of this strategy meant that CWT Globelink needed to build an effective, streamlined, and automated CRM application. To do so, CWT Globelink needed a reliable cloud partner that could offer the technology required to build a modernized and customized client relationship management (CRM) application.
Goals for CWT’s cloud migration
CWT Globelink faced both business and technical challenges as it looked to build out its CRM application. The main challenge was the lack of a powerful, low-code development tool with built-in functions, which resulted in long development times, high costs, and increased manual efforts from employees. It took the IT staff a long time to consolidate volume reports and to prepare customer data and details. CWT Globelink also struggled with siloed data maintained in Excel: Manual data entry was time-consuming, suspect to error, not updated in a timely fashion, and hard to share with others.
Looking to overcome these challenges, CWT Globelink had the following goals when looking to modernize its CRM processes and build a cloud native CRM application:
- Streamline the collection of customer data and effectively manage customers contracts
- Provide analyzed reports and forecast company performance
- Help upper management and executives make informed decisions on business strategy and new trade-lanes developmen
- Automate key processes to cut costs and enhance customer experience
- Make information easily shareable between different departments to improve customer service and increase satisfaction
To meet their goals, CWT Globelink turned to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).
Suite of Oracle products used
- Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: OCI is a comprehensive platform of public cloud services that enables customers to build and run a wide range of applications in a scalable, secure, highly available, and high-performance environment. OCI has all the services you need to migrate, build, and run all your IT, from existing enterprise workloads to new cloud native applications and data platforms.
- OCI Compute: OCI provides fast, flexible, and affordable compute capacity to fit any workload need from performant bare metal servers and virtual machines (VMs) to lightweight containers. OCI Compute provides uniquely flexible VM and bare metal instances for optimal price-performance.
- OCI Block Volume: A detachable block storage device service that allows dynamic expansion of the storage capacity of Compute instances without losing data.
- Virtual cloud network: Oracle virtual cloud networks (VCNs) provide customizable and private cloud networks in OCI. Like a traditional data center network, the VCN provides customers with complete control over their cloud networking environment, including assigning private IP address spaces, creating subnets and route tables, and configuring stateful firewalls.
- OCI Load Balancing: A service that provides automated traffic distribution from one entry point to multiple servers reachable from your VCN. The service offers a load balancer with your choice of a public or private IP address, and provisioned bandwidth.
- Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing: Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing eliminates the complexity of operating and securing high-performance databases. The service automates provisioning, configuring, tuning, scaling, patching, encrypting, and repairing of databases. The service also includes all of Oracle’s advanced database options, such as real application clusters (RAC), multitenant, partitioning, in-memory, advanced security, and advanced compression.
- Oracle APEX: A low-code development platform that enables anyone to build scalable, secure enterprise applications with world-class features, that can be deployed anywhere.
- OCI Web Application Firewall (WAF): A regional-based and edge enforcement service that is attached to an enforcement point, such as a load balancer or a web application domain name. WAF protects applications from malicious and unwanted internet traffic. WAF can protect any internet facing endpoint, providing consistent rule enforcement across a customer’s applications.
- OCI Email Delivery: An email sending service that provides a fast and reliable managed solution for sending high-volume emails that need to reach your recipients’ inbox. Email Delivery provides the tools necessary to send application-generated email for mission-critical communications such as receipts, fraud detection alerts, multifactor identity verification, and password resets.
- OCI Vault: A managed service that lets you centrally manage the encryption keys that protect your data and the secret credentials that you use to securely access resources. Vaults securely store master encryption keys and secrets that you might otherwise store in configuration files or in code.
- OCI domain bname system (DNS): A service enabling you to create and manage your DNS zones. With OCI DNS, you can create zones, add records to zones, and allow Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s edge network to handle your domain’s DNS queries.
- OCI Certificates Provides organizations with certificate issuance, storage, and management capabilities, including revocation and automatic renewal.
Migration path and Oracle solution
The migration project was carried out by the Oracle Cloud Lift service team and completed within four weeks. The overall migration process flow includes the following steps:
- Provisioning and configuring OCI Networking resources including subnets, security lists, and bastion./li>
- Provisioning and configuring Autonomous Transaction Processing instance and load balancer. Oracle APEX on Autonomous Transaction Processing provides a preconfigured, fully managed secured environment to develop and deploy enterprise applications like CWT Globelink’s CRM. It’s developed to manage CWT’s customer profiles and contact details and activities involved in customer interactions. Any information about customer deals is also stored in the application. ATP is provisioned under private subnet and a load balancer is used to expose the APEX layer to allow end-users to access the application.
- Migrating data using Oracle Data Pump. The Data Pump Export (expdp) and Data Pump Import (impdp) clients use the procedures provided in the DBMS_DATAPUMP PL/SQL package to run export and import commands, using the parameters entered at the command line. These parameters enable the exporting and importing of data and metadata for a complete database or for subsets of a database. OCI Object Storage is used to load and unload the dump file.
- Provisioning a VM as reporting server and configuring OCI Email Delivery to allow end users generating report and send emails through APEX application.
- Provisioning WAF, which provides security for APEX application from malicious and unwanted internet traffic.
Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing is provisioned in a private subnet, which means that the instance isn’t accessible through the public internet. It also means that Oracle APEX isn’t accessible through the public internet. To allow users to access Oracle APEX development console and applications, the OCI WAF and load balancer are provisioned. In addition to providing access, the WAF and balancer allow vanity URLs configuration and enhance security by providing protection from malicious and unwanted internet traffic. OCI WAF provides the ability to create and manage rules for internet threats including cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL Injection, and other OWASP-defined vulnerabilities.
Access rules can limit based on geography or the signature of the request. Oracle APEX is integrated with OCI Email Delivery to allow the application to send emails and it is also integrated with reporting servers, which are provisioned in the Compute VM to allow APEX applications to generate reports. The bastion host is provisioned to allow administrators to directly access and manage the database.
CWT Globelink was able to go live in only three months, and its IT team attributes the quick migration and technical implementation to Oracle’s customer service and engineering team. CWT Globelink noted that the Oracle team assisted them in migrating its workloads and Autonomous Transaction Processing applications from the US data center to the Singapore data center. CWT Globelink also commented that its team of designated Oracle engineers was professional from the proof of concept (POC) and infrastructure design all the way throughout the implementation. This support from Oracle helped CWT Globelink deploy its APEX CRM application seamlessly without any issues in a short time.
By building and deploying its CRM application on APEX, CWT Globelink saw improvements in price-performance, analytics capabilities, security, and operational efficiencies. In terms of costs, CWT Globelink estimates that it cut its development costs by 14% using Oracle APEX and Oracle Transaction Processing database. The self-managing and self-patching autonomous database also reduced the cost of system updates and maintenance without any constraints on memory, boosting performance and the IT team’s general efficiency. Overall, in the long-run, CWT Globelink identifies OCI as the most cost-effective solution that ultimately reduces its total cost of ownership.
For performance, one of the key benefits that CWT Globelink realized was the automation of previously manual processes. OCI offered the company autoscaling, automatic upgrading and patching capabilities, and reduced manual efforts to maintain its database servers. CWT Globelink used to spend at least 10–15 days annually on patches, hardware failure, and database corruption—all processes that are now automated and managed by OCI.
This database automation has translated into a 50% reduction in the labor required to maintain its databases and infrastructure. In terms of overall performance, CWT Globelink has seen a performance improvement of up to 100% compared to other cloud providers and on-premises infrastructures. According to CWT Globelink’s Head of IT Wei Min Zing, “Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is mature and reliable. The sooner you start using it, the earlier your business will benefit from it.”
In terms of analytical capabilities, the team can now deliver reports and operational analytics for stakeholders five times faster than before. The company can also publish its sailing and operational schedules in real-time, keeping customers in the know of when their cargo ships, and analyzing thousands of shipments within seconds—all examples of how OCI helped CWT Globelink improve its analytical visibility and functionality.
Because of its success with building and deploying its CRM application on OCI, CWT Globelink plans on using more OCI services in the future. As of now, CWT Globelink is interested in the following OCI products: Object Storage, Integration services, Digital Assistant, Analytics Cloud, OCI Vision, and Content Management. Learn more about CWT Globelink’s OCI implementation and other Oracle Cloud Infrastructure technical case studies.
- CWT Globelink
CWT Globelink delivers key applications faster with Oracle Cloud
Freight management company accelerates application development and cuts costs using Oracle APEX and Oracle Autonomous Database.