Open Square reports Abacus contract

Source: Open Square

The specialist financial services systems developer Open Square today announces a £100,000 order to produce a bespoke back office system for a fast growing insurance broker.

The order is a first for Open Square to a broker and shows the wide applicability of its innovative software solutions.

Insurance and investment adviser Abacus Limited is investing in the tailor-made solution as part of its plan to double in size during the next five years.

Newbury based Abacus has 30,000 clients, mostly British armed forces personnel, and realised almost a year ago that it needed to upgrade and integrate its various computer systems to keep pace with growth.

The company provides a range of broking services to all ranks of the armed forces and is structured to meet the special demands generated by its clients' highly mobile and unpredictable lives.

In 2005 Abacus started a six-month long review process to find a computer system that would handle all the processes of both general and life insurance broking in a single integrated solution; but was disappointed in what was available 'off-the-shelf'.

Initially Abacus Finance Director Andrew Davies was put off by the potential cost and problems associated with having software specifically developed for the company.

Mr Davies said: "Then our investigations uncovered Open Square. We are now working with them to implement the software we need both now and for the future at a cost of ownership which will be on a par with that of an off-the-shelf system.

"Instead of trying to make something work that is not quite right for us and which we would still have to spend a lot of time and money in adapting, we will gain a solution that does exactly what we want, will be flexible enough for the future and will grow with us."

The commercial director of Open Square, Tim Tribe, said the technology developed by the company allows the designing and implementation of an individual solution at a whole-life cost that competes with packaged systems.

Mr Tribe said: "Every business is subtly different from its competitor, with different needs and aspirations. Having software which closely supports the business is crucial.

"One size does not fit all and shoehorning requirements into a standard system rarely achieves the desired affect or delivers on the initial promises of the package salesman.

"Our approach allows us to deliver functionality in bite-size pieces. For Abacus this avoids a disruptive 'big bang' and allows a lower risk phased decommissioning of their old systems.

"Abacus will gain functionality compared to what it would have received from a package as we will be going beyond standard offerings.

"We will provide them with custom management information, insurer connectivity to the latest Origo standards, calculation of commission from first principles, coverholder administration and an ability to rapidly add new product lines."

Open Square has now expanded out of its offices at Southampton University, where much of the development work of its ground-breaking software was carried out, to larger premise on the outskirts of the city.

Mr Tribe added: "We have developed our solutions to be inherently Internet compatible.

"So Abacus will be able to move into transacting online business with insurers, clients, agents and third-party providers easily, yielding tremendous savings in administrative effort and cost compared to conventional methods.

"Abacus will have one fully integrated system across its whole business – achieving what most major brokers only ever dream about."

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