Companies House Opens Its Data With MongoDB Powered API

London — November 20, 2014 — Companies House, the executive agency of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, is using MongoDB to build its next generation of digital services, including a developer API to provide open access to all of its digital company data. Anticipated to go live in 2015, the UK will become the first country to establish an open register of business information.

To achieve the necessary scale to deliver the Cabinet Office’s Digital by Default* vision Companies House had to overhaul its decade old systems built with relational database technology. The new solution put MongoDB at the core of the open source technology stack. MongoDB was chosen for its ability to scale with the significant increase in data consumption brought on by the open data project.

“It’s so thrilling to be involved in digital public sector projects like this. We believe strongly that making more data publicly available and easily accessible will have a strong positive impact on the UK economy,” explained Mark Fairhurst, the Head of Architecture at Companies House. “However, to build a service like this we had to overcome a mountain of challenges and MongoDB was absolutely vital in allowing us to build services rapidly and efficiently that could achieve the massive scale we required.”

Many previously chargeable data sets will become free with the new API. Companies House will roll out a modern, single digital filing and search service to make its data more accessible to the general public.

To build a technology stack that would be flexible and powerful, Companies House made MongoDB the main data store for public-facing company information. MongoDB sharding will enable Companies House to auto-scale its datastore across multiple servers while also providing rich query and automated failover.

Joe Morrissey, VP and General Manager International at MongoDB, said: “The Digital by Default initiative is pushing public sector agencies to offer citizens ever better services and value. It’s clear that the sector is finding that to deliver this promise, projects need to be built on a next generation database that is flexible, reliable and can scale as the system evolves.

“The UK is emerging as a genuine leader in open data policies and we are pleased that open source is playing a big part in it. While it is difficult to predict how developers will interact with the data, and what they will build with it, we understand the importance of open data and believe it will help foster understanding of business and strengthen the economy.”

Companies House plans to launch the first phase of its new single filing and search service as a ‘beta’ later this year, and the API will follow. Free data will be available from the new platform from June 2015.

*Digital by Default is a set of criteria that digital teams building government services must meet. Meeting the standard will mean digital services are of a consistently high quality. This includes creating services that are easily improved, safe, secure and fulfill user needs.

About MongoDB, Inc.
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About Companies House
Companies House is the UK Registrar of Companies and an agency of HM Government. All limited companies in England and Wales, and overseas companies with a branch or place of business in the UK need to be registered with Companies House. As of July 2014, there are just over 3.3 million companies registered at Companies House, with over 3 million active on the register. More than 500,000 new companies are incorporated each year and registered with Companies House.