The American Bureau of Shipping Navigates Data Privacy

June 4, 2020

Data privacy laws and regulations, like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), are just getting started. That means more customers will control how companies use their collected data. Understandably, companies are struggling to understand and comply with these new laws.



The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) collects a substantial amount of data from customers and business partners through its operations in 70 countries. ABS needed to understand what laws applied to them and how best to move toward compliance. But, instead of waiting for each government mandate to roll out, ABS needed a bigger picture solution – one that was applicable, repeatable and would address a large percentage of whatever government data privacy rules come next. ABS also needed the solution to help distinguish its brand in the marketplace as being a good steward of its customers’ data. 

About ABS

ABS is one of the world’s leading ship classification organizations, committed to setting standards for safety and excellence so that the marine and offshore industries can operate safely, securely and responsibly. For more than 150 years, ABS has worked alongside its partners to tackle the most pressing technical, operational and regulatory challenges.


Prolifics provided data integration and data management solutions that helped ABS modernize data delivery and data consolidation for its 200 offices around the world.

We first worked with ABS to deploy our rapid Data Privacy Assessment, to identify issues and opportunities for data integration and a larger data solution for continuity.

We then introduced Prolifics’ Data Governance Framework solution, to give ABS a unified platform to deliver data governance, analytics and compliance on a global scale. The Data Governance Framework centralizes both structured and unstructured data from across ABS, so that the company can gain a more complete understanding of the information it owns and act on regulatory requests. With this insight, the company can target sensitive data for action, move toward better compliance, and avoid regulatory infractions that impact both the bottom line and the brand’s image.


As a result of the Data Governance Framework solution, ABS is closer to compliance with GDPR, CCPA, and other regulations as they emerge.

The solution provides ABS with extensive cost savings in infrastructure capital expenditure in the first three years by centralizing onto a single platform. ABS expects a 10 percent improvement in service utilization, with a projected revenue growth of 20 percent over the next three years.

A foundation of reputable, high-quality data prepares ABS to adopt cutting-edge technologies that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to drive innovation. Potential use cases include regular, automated data remediation and risk reporting, as well as larger AI/ML-powered initiatives across the business. 

Closer compliance with GDPR and CCPA

10% service utilization improvement

AI/ML-powered use cases

ABS used the Data Governance Framework solution to:

  • Develop and enable a data privacy and governance roadmap, used to design and implement a fully featured data governance program
  • Create data transparency by identifying structured and unstructured data across organizational silos
  • Track, analyze and report the lineage of this data, which allows insight into the history and metadata of this information
  • Perform risk analysis to determine personally identifiable information and associated risk, with a data risk dashboard enabling executive review and monitoring of key risk factors
  • Design a roadmap of future AI/ML use cases, with confidence in the underlying data quality and compliance adherence


The Data Governance Framework solution brings together a number of Prolifics and IBM technologies to create a unique capability. Our combination of software, integration, governance framework, and forward-looking focus on innovation enables the Data Governance Framework solution to understand and respond to data problems as a whole – creating compelling long-term value for the client.

Specific technologies implemented with ABS included:

  • Prolifics’ rapid Data Privacy Assessment – identifies issues and opportunities for data integration into the larger data solution
  • Prolifics’ Data Governance Framework and assets – developed through extensive experience in solving data challenges
  • IBM Information Server and Information Governance Catalog – consolidates data from across the enterprise into a format that is ready for use in analytics and reporting
  • IBM QualityStage – cleanses data to ensure high data quality
  • IBM StoredIQ – gathers unstructured data from across the enterprise; combines that unstructured data with structured data gathered using IBM Information Server to provide a full view of the customer information within the environment
  • IBM Cognos Analytics – performs data visualizations and reporting

Using these technologies, Prolifics provided ABS:

  • A data mart that stores information regarding customers’ personal data, metrics, and progress
  • A data glossary housing information about transactions, service availabilities, rates, relevant business terms, and more
  • Integration with an information data governance catalog to consume and export business terms and steward relevant data for lines of business. It also provided a systematic data remediation approach.
  • Configurable information analysis to provide details about risk that is associated with compliance according to regulatory standards. The solution provided enterprise data inventory, data mapping, and data lineage capabilities that support compliance goals.
  • Reporting, analytics, and auditing capabilities
  • Unstructured data discovery to understand compliance risks surrounding big data and unstructured data repositories such as Outlook and other cloud applications
  • Remediation controls to satisfy company data privacy policies and prepare for regulatory data subject access requests

Learn more

At Prolifics, we provide end-to-end data analytics services, at any point you want them, for whatever condition your data is in. Visit our Data & Analytics services page or email us at