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Inside the MEAG-SimCorp Hackathon

This May we conducted a hackathon with MEAG, a major German-based asset manager, and SimCorp client since 1999. The aim of the hackathon was an attempt to find new ways of collaborating with our clients. Previously (and currently), we engage through classical demos and workshops or do larger proof of concepts in a typical waterfall approach.

A hackathon can take many shapes and sizes, but in general, it is a gathering of experts for a sprint-like event with the purpose of collaborating intensively on software projects. Our hackathon was a full day event with participants from MEAG, SimCorp and Netlight Consulting, a firm that develops applications using API technologies, bringing together expertise from portfolio management, business analysis, development and management. In his opening speech, MEAG’s managing director Philipp Waldstein Wartenberg expressed his support for the Hackathon, stating that digitalization and cooperation are fundamental for MEAG and that current challenges in workflows as well as further improving automation were some of the key drivers to organizing such a hackathon.

Coming together for something like a hackathon is quite different from having just a normal daily meeting …. This tears you away from the desk and away from the discussions.Nicolas Nellis, Portfolio Manager, FX, MEAG

Ready, set, hack!

The task was to work on two concrete use cases important to MEAG. One was to optimize workflows for OTC derivatives and the second related to portfolio optimization, making use of our recently developed web API’s for front office and data retrieval. The two working groups evaluated and tested different solutions, prototyping on a MEAG test-environment.

Despite needing several restarts to get in the right direction, the teams stayed motivated and focused. It was really a good collaboration, in a very constructive and friendly atmosphere. All participants enjoyed having a full day focused on solving these two challenges. At the end of the day, the teams produced remarkable output, one team even managed to generate a prototype of the desired solution, having setup an online connection of SimCorp Dimension® to a portfolio optimization routine. The prototype will be deployed further going forward but it has been a great and important achievement to see it working in a very short time frame compared to what is typically needed in a classical approach.

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In the closing session, where the teams presented the results to MEAG’s and SimCorp’s top management, it was emphasized that the hackathon should definitely be considered as a collaboration format going forward. While it is the first time we’ve organized such an event with a client before, judging from the experience, I believe we should extend it and use it more broadly. It deepened our relationship with MEAG, was a fun experience and an excellent collaboration with one of our most ambitious clients.

I definitely support having more hackathons. I think it’s a brilliant format to bring people together, to try out new technology, and find new business solutions that might not have been thought about before.Claudio-Peter Prutz, Head of Digital Business Services and Organizational Development, MEAG

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