News and Events

Come back to this page frequently to see what we’ve done, what we’re doing, where we’ve been, and where we’ll be.

Press Releases

CastleBay Corporate Culture – Pariwar – “Family”

- by Harpreet Kaur How is the Bond Between Employer and Employee Formed? Family is such a strong word. It is something which keeps us together during our tough times, makes us smile, and brings tears to our eyes. I personally feel that there are two major families in one’s life. One into which we are born and, second, which we pick ...

Why India?

by George Grieve, Director and Co-founder of CastleBay Infotech So last summer CastleBay set up shop in India! What is this 1992? Why there and why now? For over 20 years, we have focused on helping our P&C Insurance clients make good decisions on core system - Policy, Billing and Claims - software choices. Our deep domain knowledge and vendor expertise has ...

Events

November 3-6, 2019 Guidewire Connections

Guidewire Connections
Location: Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, MD
Get more info on Guidewire Connections here.

October 29-30, 2019 Duck Creek Partner Summit

Duck Creek Technologies LogoLocation: Columbia, South Carolina

May 5-7, 2019 ITA LIVE 2019

ITA logo
Location: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa
Get more info on ITA LIVE 2019 here.
CastleBay Consulting Favicon

Why not visit our contact page, we would love to chat with you!

News and Events

Come back to this page frequently to see what we’ve done, what we’re doing, where we’ve been, and where we’ll be.

Press Releases

CastleBay Corporate Culture – Pariwar – “Family”

- by Harpreet Kaur

How is the Bond Between Employer and Employee Formed?

Family is such a strong word. It is something which keeps us together during our tough times, makes us smile, and brings tears to our eyes. I personally feel that there are two major families in one’s life. One into which we are born and, second, which we pick and comes to us as part of our professional life. Employees often have a complaint that they don’t feel connected to their companies. The integral connection is missing between the employer and employee. How is this bond formed? How can we build this connection? A bond between an employee and employer is formed only when the employee feels at home in their respective workplace. An average individual spends approximately 8-10 hours at office each day, so it is very important that the “Ghar,” or “home,” factor be present at the workplace so that there is a two-way respect, trust, and a sense of belongingness.

How Do We Build a Pariwar Culture?

How can we build this kind of pariwar culture? The only way this can be built is by creating strong families of people who are in complete harmony with each other, by providing a sense of security and support among employees. All this results in bringing the best out in people. I have been very fortunate that I have been blessed to be part of an organization “CastleBay” which brings this sense of belongingness to me. There are various factors which have made me feel at home at CastleBay. These are transparency, openness to change and adaptation with the growing world, and employee satisfaction.

Transparency is the Cornerstone

A very commonly used word, it is the cornerstone for any organization. If the employee who is at the junior-most position has the same information as that of the CEO, we can say the organization is transparent and the details are not being twisted to suit anybody’s need. In CastleBay, I have felt and observed that if you ask a question to anyone in leadership, I have always received a similar kind of answer from each one. There are no sugar coatings or information is not transformed. Whatever is the truth is communicated. There is no hidden preparation done to answer.

Openness to Change and Adaptation is Key

As humans, we keep on evolving. There is a very common saying that “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” Any firm which is open to listen to its staff, take feedback in their stride, will always keep on roaring high. CastleBay is one such boutique firm. I have been personally asked by the leadership for constant feedback on various parameters and have seen it being implemented. Evolution is happening in every aspect of the organization.

Employee Satisfaction Drives Unlimited Opportunities

Every person has different needs at various points in life and a company should be able to understand and cater to it. At my workplace I have seen special care, attention to tiny details and steps being taken on what makes an employee satisfied. Having spent a decade in the IT industry, I have seen and heard numerous big talks, but to deliver and live those principles in our daily life is something which I have experienced in CastleBay. To conclude, family is central to our identity and our happiness and if we can establish pariwar at our workplace, which we have at CastleBay, then there is no stopping the places we can go!
Harpreet Kaur is a lead consultant for CastleBay Companies. She comes with more than 14 years of experience, primarily in property and casualty insurance, with specialization in Guidewire Suite customizations.

Why India?

by George Grieve, Director and Co-founder of CastleBay Infotech

So last summer CastleBay set up shop in India!

What is this 1992? Why there and why now?

For over 20 years, we have focused on helping our P&C Insurance clients make good decisions on core system - Policy, Billing and Claims - software choices. Our deep domain knowledge and vendor expertise has helped our clients navigate the vendor software marketplace. Of course, if step 1 is making a good vendor/system decision step 2 is successfully implementing. After watching many of our long-term insurance clients struggle with their core system implementations, we brought our large project expertise to the implementation business and opened an onshore delivery center in Pensylvania. Our philosophy has always been to fit to our clients and not make them fit to us. Since every client has a different combination of business case, risk, and cost objectives, we need a flexible delivery model both in terms of roles (full systems integrator to staff augmentation) and location (onsite, onshore, offshore). Which brings me back to India. The potential benefits of offshoring and offshoring specifically in India are of course well, including: (still significant) cost savings, IT labor availability, English speaking workforce, a strong university education system, a Western techno-commercial perspective, and follow-the-sun workdays. And yet…I have for many years received feedback from clients and colleagues that these benefits can be elusive. And I have seen this firsthand on projects. Offshore “pain and suffering” commonly includes numerous rework cycles which add time, slow momentum and erode expected cost savings; high turnover rates necessitating extra knowledge transfer and capacity; poor communication often due to technology/bandwidth issues; juniors or “freshers” who are thrown into the work without the proper preparation; lack of insurance domain knowledge; and significant time zone differences that require unusual working hours.

So, what makes me think we can do it better?

Well like a lot of things, it’s not that secret and it’s not that complicated. Based on our collective experience here’s a summary of six guiding principles at CastleBay Infotech:

1. Collaboration

If you only throw the crap work over the (ocean) wall, expect to get crap back. Nothing demotivates an offshore team more than feeling like a second-class project citizen. So, we try to provide our offshore team with first class work assignments. And we make sure they are involved in the planning & estimating upfront and demos & retrospectives at the end.

2. Don’t throw away Agile

If you hear “we have to write it all down for offshore” you are heading in the wrong direction. True, our offshore team is not sitting next to us and yes, they are in a different time zone but that is often true of our US teammates as well. With the appropriate practices like the daily scrum and the appropriate tooling like agile planning boards and issue tracking, we don’t have to lower the bar.

3. Connectivity

We don’t skimp on communication technology including bandwidth. Technology advances continue to mitigate this issue especially 1:1 communication but nothing is more frustrating than a 10-person, 60 minute remote meeting with about 22 minutes of actual content. And don’t skimp on video; it is so much richer than audio. And bonus – it stops the crazy multi-tasking that goes on when people can’t see what you are doing.

4. Friends work better together

One of my colleagues started off every cross-ocean call with someone telling a personal story about themselves. And did it until it rotated through all the project team members on both sides of the ocean. I have worked with US colleagues who have gone to their project teammates’ weddings…in India. Maybe we can’t go grab a Kingfisher or a Samosa after work but if we make it personal, we make (and receive in return) the extra effort.

5. Know thy Customer (and Domain)

For us technology acumen is table stakes. Insurance domain expertise is our differentiator. The good news is there is a healthy supply of strong insurance technologists offshore. And if we bring on consultants and need to supplement their domain experience, we teach them. That’s not new to us – we have been teaching vendors and partners insurance since CastleBay began. The last piece to that puzzle is gaining a deep understanding of the client’s specific insurance niche and how they differentiate themselves. That’s part of our teaching as well and sometimes requires a plane ticket to the US for an extended onsite visit.

6. Allow the Customer to dial when ready

Some of our clients have initial concerns, based on past negative experiences, of interacting directly with offshore resources. So, we encourage our clients to “dial” the appropriate offshore team. If they don’t want to worry about time zones and deal only with the onsite/onshore team, that’s fine with us. But if a client wishes to lower costs with more offshore leverage over time and get comfortable with the offshore team, that’s also good with us. We are a conservative organization. We don’t necessarily want to be first, but we are striving to be the best!

Events

November 3-6, 2019 Guidewire Connections

Guidewire Connections
Location: Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, MD
Get more info on Guidewire Connections here.

October 29-30, 2019 Duck Creek Partner Summit

Duck Creek Technologies LogoLocation: Columbia, South Carolina

May 5-7, 2019 ITA LIVE 2019

ITA logo
Location: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa
Get more info on ITA LIVE 2019 here.
CastleBay Consulting Favicon

Why not visit our contact page, we would love to chat with you!