The Shipowners’ Club has been protecting small ship operators for over 160 years. As market leaders they insure over 33,000 small and specialist vessels, entered through a global distribution network of nearly 700 brokers, offering Protection & Indemnity (P&I) cover and various associated insurances that cover key seafaring industries. The Shipowners’ Club operates from 4 offices; London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Luxembourg.
Given the unique and complex needs of marine insurance, it was vital that Shipowners’s Club had a bespoke policy management system fit for their distinct requirements.
The organisation had already spent several years developing a new system that could fulfil those requirements, but despite considerable effort, the system developed was presenting Shipowners’ Club with numerous usability challenges and additional support requirements for the ever changing needs of the business and regulatory environment.
As a result, it was felt necessary to take a step back to allow users to visualise their requirements and allow them to agree their system before any technology changes were made.
Shipowners’s Club decided the best way forward was to work with KnowledgeKube to develop a Proof of Concept. An application development platform, KnowledgeKube enables organisations to create enterprise grade applications within days rather than months or years. This eliminates the huge costs and risks often associated with traditional custom software development.
By using the platform, Shipowners’ Club was able to develop a working prototype in an iterative way, using Agile methodology that allowed business staff to realise ideas and processes and adapt them in real-time.
This hands-on approach to delivering rapid iterations ensured requirements were not lost in translation through a traditional method of briefing developers. The company instead realised a working prototype, which they continually improved until they were satisfied the system was what the business users wanted and needed.
A working prototype has empowered Shipowners’ Club with renewed confidence. Armed with this proof of concept, the CIO has been able to gain the backing of the board to progress the project. The company has now moved ahead to the full development phase of its new policy management system.
The CIO said: “The company had some bad experiences with software development in the past and it would have been difficult to get buy-in if we didn’t have the KnowledgeKube prototype. If all we had was some presentation notes, a functional spec and the ability to articulate what we believed the developers could achieve, it would not have been enough.”
Crucial for the success of the project was the ability of Shipowners’ Club to see a working model and get changes made. This meant that the organisation didn’t have to rely on a developer’s interpretation of its requirements.
The ability to request changes and see the impact of those changes within a day, allowed business users to really get involved in the development process. This ensured they got the system they really wanted fast.
Moving forwards the Shipowners business and senior management can now be confident with IT’s ability to deliver what the business needs to support them, the brakes are off and there is a huge amount of work for the IT department to complete.