First things first, happy holidays and we wish you a safe and healthy new year! After a very busy but productive year, we would like to take the opportunity to share with you an end-of-year debrief of the achievements that the team have accomplished over the last 12 months and to show off the huge collective strides we have taken across all our activities.
Entering 2021, we all started the year in the confines of our own homes, but as ever this would not dampen the morale and productivity of the whole team. By mid-January, the team were deep into the highly anticipated conversion project to ensure we continue to address any technical debt and remain one set ahead of our clients’ needs. Granted, it may not seem too exciting to the outside world but the conversion of programs into latest tech stack is a massive development into the futureproofing and accessibility of the Morning Data product suite. We’re anticipating that the completion of the conversion process will be finalised and released to clients by Q2 2022.
A new year also brought a new member of the team, Tim. With the mountain of development required for the conversion project, Tim joined to share the strain, ensure the structure and design used all the tools at our disposal, and leveraged the enormous amount of functionality and IP NOVUS and HELIX have accrued over their decades of deployments. Any tech house older than a year will know the challenges of continuous development but remaining agile and on top of these challenges is part of our commitment to clients.
January also saw the inaugural ‘Naomi’s bring a bottle club’. With a top half dress code of ‘casual’ and bottom ‘who will ever know?’, it was a chance for the team to talk all things other than work. A big hand must go out to Naomi Goff for putting this together and providing the team with an added morale boost.
February was dominated by our Data Black Hole webinar, which was put together in association with the MGAA. The aim of this session was to outline the importance of data and how it is currently used within the London and international market. From this event, we were able to gather valuable information as to how data is collected and processed by the London market. The result of our study can be found under the useful links section of this article.
If you haven’t watched it yet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6bXLfveUEg
While the team were working from home, the Dorset office had an upgrade with new lighting and COVID secure measures put in place ready for the team to return to the office.
There was a welcome return of ‘Naomi’s bring a bottle’ evening to celebrate the roadmap out of lockdown. With an end finally in sight, the team grabbed a glass (or two) of their favoured refreshments and sat on a Teams call to chew the fat and reminisce on the 12 months leading up to March.
March also saw the big introduction of Robert to help enhance and develop APIs around the Morning Data network of systems. Rob developed Mercury, our Oracle 3 cloud API engine, to open the collective dreams of the team and our clients of a joined-up world. First element within that was to bring our Marine Data Augmentation routing into Mercury and then the Sanctions checker, closely followed with the linking in of Adept from ACORD.
As April came along, there was a sense of anticipation of normality when members of the team started to return to the Dorset office. We also welcomed Dylan to the team; starting out with testing, Dylan would go on to join up with the development team and become a big part in developing workflow enhancements. His experience in both the insurance world and that within the Low Code arena was an intentional boost to the broad skill set already in house.
The first user group of the year took place in April. While still all online, this was a chance for the Morning Data team to provide clients with an update on the latest releases, new starters and progress on the conversion project.
May was a big month for the company with both the Dorset and London teams back in their respective offices full time. Over the course of the lockdowns, Morning Data had hired quite a few new members of staff, and it was a pleasure to finally be sat in the office with one another – it’s hard to describe how something as simple as office banter can be missed so much.
Kirstin was also invited to speak at the Insurance Insider’s InsiderTech virtual conference. With a focus on distribution and how it is changing in the insurance industry, Kirstin had been joined by members of Whitespace, Cognitive Risk, ISC and Aegis.
Building on Rob’s arrival in March, he and Dyl now became the Workflow, Automation, Integration and Low-code team – WAIL for short. Alan was next to join WAIL to bring further database, design and model experience. The goal of the WAIL team is to create efficient data capture tools to further enhance the Morning Data system capabilities.
Morning Data took on the sponsorship of a local Dorset ladies U13 football team. Supporting the local community has always been a big part of the Morning Data ethos, so it was great to see the ladies reach the cup final and win.
An exciting project in June was supporting one client’s expansion aspirations into the Hong Kong and South African markets, each with their own regulatory requirements. The main challenge of this project came around the taxation requirements; as with many of our development projects, the solid data model and flexible design of NOVUS meant the requirement to cater for capped taxes was able to be embraced.
As always, our mantra is to code once and reuse this development work which has now created the blueprint for any further clients that decide to expand operations out into the Hong Kong market.
As summer got into full flow, July allowed the London team to lace up their boots once more for the weekly Wednesday night football game. Goals were not only being scored on the pitch but also off with Morning Data bringing on board a new captive insurer. With products already compatible with the captive market, many of challenges that come with expanding into a new market were eased due to the tools already at the disposal of the Morning Data team.
To round off July, Morning Data had been awarded with the Best in Insurance Systems, 2021 award.
August brought along big developments from the WAIL team when they were able to produce demonstrable platforms for a compliance management system and a quote & bind system, both systems fully compatible with our NOVUS and HELIX administration solutions. The developments that the WAIL team made during this period have created an outline for the movement of data when it comes to creating future applications.
September was an eventful month with two new starters in Haydn joining the WAIL team and Jennie joining the London team, both of whom have added great value to the company and have helped to progress some of the large projects that are currently being undertaken.
We also had a bit more of normality return during September; face-to-face events were back. After a last-minute drop-out, the Morning Data team were invited to host a stand at the MGAA 2021 Conference. Remarkably, the team were able to organise the logistics for the stand in just 3 hours!
The MGAA Conference wasn’t the only in-person event back; we were finally able to welcome clients back to the bi-annual user group meetings. Run as a hybrid event, hosted from the Morning Data office in London, clients had been updated as to the projects being undertaken. The next client user group meeting will be held in Q2 2022, so keep an eye out for the invites.
Still on the events front, Morning Data had the privilege of hosting the most watched panel of the Insurance Insider’s Reconnect event. With the topic of the London market data story, Kirstin Duffield was joined by key stakeholders from global standard body ACORD, the London Market Authority and Lloyd’s of London alumni.
October was started on a very positive note with a migration project of Morning Data’s longest serving client from an on-premises hosting into the Morning Data cloud ecosystem. From client services to dev-ops, the team did a sterling job and managed to stick to some very tight deadlines to get the client fully trained and live on the latest releases by the start of November. The whole team had been rewarded for their hard work with the time of the client’s full account listings decreasing by nearly 3000% to bring back the entire book of business in seconds! If there was ever an argument to elect to cloud hosting this has certainly provided measured evidence to support that decision. Now every client is fully hosted in our ecosystem.
More good news was shared with the team as CEO, Kirstin Duffield, was nominated for the Women in Insurance’s Digital Champion of the Year award and our other director, Paul Buckle, was appointed trustee and director of The Insurance Charities.
October also brought along the arrival of Michael, a new developer to partner Tim in the conversion project. We do hope that you’ve managed to settle into the Morning Data family in this short space of time.
November was certainly the month of events and conferences. A couple of members of the team visited the European Captive Forum held in Luxembourg to consume as much knowledge of the captive insurance market as possible and to see how data is currently managed within the market. Some valuable conversations were had, and a lot of information was processed, making it a very positive event. We then moved on to the London Market Conference where Morning Data were lucky enough to have a stand. With some of the new branded merchandise, it was great to bump into a few familiar faces.
But the biggest news of November had to be the donation of our data model to ACORD. The donation of this model is a big step into the data evolution of the insurance market by making a conceptual model available to ACORD members. As organisations start to understand the value of a data model, we need to be able to support the market by setting a standard of what is expected from a data model.
Jordan, a new member joined the dev-ops team to assist the current team members and to also develop his current knowledge of IT development & operations.
After a busy year it was lovely for the Morning Data team from all corners of the country to assemble in Dorset for a well-deserved dinner out. With a black-tie theme, it was great to bring the team face-to-face and have a well-deserved LFT social.
However, December has not just been a month of socialising with the onboarding of clients to A&S Conductor, implementation of the enhanced Sanctions checking service to give clients access to 100’s of sanction lists and continuous monitoring and development has started on our Workbench project to meet the updated requirement of a current client.
As always, the Morning Data team end the year on a very positive note with a lot of exciting projects to look forward to in the new year. In the meantime, from everyone at Morning Data, we would like to wish you a very happy and safe festive period and we look forward to seeing you all in the new year.