Software Alliance: Staying agile amid uncertainty
Guy Shepherd, chief executive of Software Alliance, explains why insurers must be ready for a range of risks in the post-Covid-19 world. He also discusses the UK software provider's strategic focus over the next year
What has Software Alliance's focus been over the past year?
Our focus is still very much trying to help clients deliver their models and calculations as simply as possible across a diverse range of use cases. In doing this we are trying to democratise the financial modelling landscape and enable a variety of consumers to benefit from value historically locked away in models, data and results.
For the first time, our platform – Mo.net – provides non-modellers or actuaries with the ability to run models and calculations without relying on the actuarial department. This in turns provides consistency between calculations and processes and removes the need for costly and time-consuming reconciliation activity between departments.
How do you expect the insurance sector to change post-Covid-19?
My view is that any kind of significant crisis involves people generally taking stock of what is important to them. This is ultimately a good thing as it makes people focus on how to do business more easily, efficiently and cost-effectively. However, I don't think insurance has quite figured out yet what the crisis means for it, especially in the face of the ongoing regulatory change agenda.
Staying agile in the face of uncertainty is the way forward. This means being ready to respond to whatever challenges arise. However, there is also a risk of Covid-19 sending insurers into safe havens. If they do that, the worry is that innovation will stall, and the many opportunities afforded by technology will be missed.
One of the telling things I have seen during the Covid-19 crisis is the renewed interest in cloud-based solutions. As a vendor, we have certainly seen a lot more interest in our own cloud modelling services.
What have been Software Alliance's achievements over the past year?
The first thing I would mention is the continued evolution of our Operational Modelling Centre (OMC). This is a cloud-ready, web-based platform designed to meet all the operational modelling needs of an insurer. With best-in-class performance, control and accessibility, it really does change the way in which business-as-usual modelling is performed.
We have also been working with a number of clients to help them move away from legacy or less suitable modelling tools. Several clients have already used our Excel Model Adapter to port spreadsheet-based models into the Mo.net universe, and therefore benefit from the control, performance and flexibility offered by the platform.
Recently we have been investigating potential benefits of tighter integration with emerging programming languages, like R and Python, and working with clients to develop real-world applications that make use of these combined solutions.
So far, it's by no means clear these languages really offer anything that can't already be done natively within Mo.net; our challenge is to help clients understand the art of the possible with the existing platform before looking at anything else.
What is Software Alliance's strategic focus for the next year?
A key area we are focusing on is model or calculation results and making it easier to quickly derive actionable insight from ever-expanding volumes of data, which is a product of more complex models and more layers of regulatory reporting. One of the challenges faced by many clients is the ability to access the right results quickly and effectively, without having to perform lots of post-model processing.
We are also keen to develop the existing automation potential of the Mo.net platform with several of our technology partners. Automating the actuarial / risk modelling enterprise has been a dream for many years, but providing the right balance of control and flexibility has always been the challenge. We believe Mo.net is now well placed to provide this, working in concert with industry standard automation technology.
The final area is to continue helping clients move away from legacy modelling solutions as easily and quickly as possible, and allow them to benefit from the many game-changing features of the Mo.net platform.
T: +44 (0) 7585 952 683
E: [email protected]