The fourth member of team in the ‘People behind the tech’ series is Tim Ellis, Operations Director at WCL. Tim joined WCL in 2005 and spent his career working across technology services in multiple industries.
Name: Tim Ellis
Job title: Operations Director
1. Can you tell us about your career journey so far?
I began my careers as an engineer at Xerox where I was part of the team delivering the next generation desktop systems in a world where typewriters and fax machines were a mainstay of every office. After that I moved to a think-tank company, providing thought leadership solutions across government and public sectors. A key highlight in that job was using the first GPRS enabled phone in the UK. Then I did a stint at a tier-one internet service provider (ISP) in the UK market as well as role in a content media company providing a number of UK-based television channels. I then joined the Insurance sector with a value added reseller for Filenet services to major blue-chip insurance companies. My most recent role before joining WCL in 2005 was at EY, working in the technology services and information risk services.
In a nutshell, my career has seen me move across a variety of industry sectors, working across the ‘full stack’ of technology and service offerings, looking for new and innovative ways of delivering solutions.
2. What is an average day in the life of a Operations Director?
As an Operations Director each day is different. Working at WCL I wear many different ‘hats’ that go from tech support to strategic sessions to pre-sales support. Each one of these hats provide challenges that requires a consideration, understanding and decision making. Most days are providing support and understanding to the direct reporting staff, liaising with vendors and clients, and working with sales and the executive team in building a bigger, better and stronger proposition in WCL.
Other ‘hats’ include CISO and DPO (security lead), as well as governance and compliance lead.
“Remember, everyone spends two thirds of their waking day working, so it has to be enjoyable!”
3. What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
I would have to say I enjoy the variety in my role – no day looks the same! Managing multiple teams offers different challenges and calls for resources. To support new, innovative services and solutions enthuses my desire to lead new technology and to bring about business change. There is nothing more satisfying that delivering a service and seeing that it leads to someone else’s better outcomes.
4. Which areas for developing technology do you see as the most important for your business and industry?
The insurance industry has historically ‘suffered’ with inertia, there is a lag between the ‘new’ technology and the old. This is because the insurance mindset has to last over many years, with policies stretching decades. Any change in technology has to be mindful of this and allow a path for both the old and new to co-exist. The change in the technology stack, where ‘the cloud’ is the place where everyone is gravitating towards, allows for this co-existence by allowing almost transparent layers to functions – allowing new services and old services to sit alongside each other, and there is enough compute power to enable this transition. The biggest challenge for the market is how brave does it want to be in speed and variety of new functions can it cope with, without them being a ‘flash in the pan’ gimmick. That tightrope of new innovation, and making it relevant to the business needs, is a great journey to be discussing with clients.
5. What is your proudest moment in work or your greatest achievement in your career and why?
I don’t really have one special moment in my work life. Each new day provides challenges and opportunities to shine, and it is up to the individual to make the most of each day’s events to get the best out of work. Remember, everyone spends two thirds of their waking day working, so it has to be enjoyable!
6. Following the acquisition by Zywave what are you most excited about / opportunities to explore.
I am excited by the toolset being provided by Zywave, as it complements the WCL offerings, bringing a full service suite to the Zywave family, covering life, health, P&C and reinsurance products for both brokers and carriers.
With Zywave’s strong presence in the US markets, there is some great synergy between WCL’s expansions into that market. With ready-made resource access, building out a strong presence in the region will help WCL achieve strong growth, and bring some sympathetic innovative services between the carrier and broker communities.