Success Story: Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA)

Federal Employment Agency is First to Comply with EBICS Implementation

  • Headquarters

    Nuremberg, Germany
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Undertake two major IT migrations in parallel with the objective of meeting corporate and Federal Reserve deadlines and regulations for new standardization of banking transactions.

  • Solution

  • Results

    • Achieved on-time EBICS compliance
    • Improved stability and security in processing payment transactions
    • Platform provides tools that efficiently support future requirements
    • Fulfillment of legal requirements
    • Reduced complexity resulting in lighter workload

All financial transactions are processed by the financial exchange. EBICS gateway provided by Axway, and the solution is stable, reliable and secure. That translates to 18 million transactions per month amounting to €9 billion across 13 different banks. Our entire cash flow relies on the EBICS communication infrastructure and B2B hub provided by Axway.

The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit — BA) is a key player in the German labor market, and it operates within the social security system of the Federal Republic of Germany. As a public body with self-governance, it acts independently within the framework of applicable law.

BA has the vital function of serving as an interface between economic, employment and social policies. Its responsibilities and tasks include providing career guidance for job seekers, and assisting their placement, training, and integration. BA also provides labor market statistics, employment research and reports, unemployment benefits and support, and social security for job seekers.

With a staff of more than 100,000 and operations in 1,900 locations throughout Germany, BA is the biggest corporate customer of the German Federal Reserve. Its workload includes the monthly transmission of about 18 million transactions having a value of €9 billion. The monthly transactions serve to pay out unemployment benefits and child benefits to 9 million German citizens.

Our entire cash flow relies on the EBICS communication infrastructure and B2B hub provided by Axway.

Standardization of Payment Transactions

EBICS compliance achieved within a strict deadline

The German Federal Reserve and all corporate banks established regulations and procedures for their corporate customers that are designed to implement new banking formats and communication channels. These regulations took effect on January 2, 2011. EBICS was designated as the multi-bank, Internet-based standard for the German banking industry.

BA IT-Systemhaus is the internal IT Service Provider for BA. It consists of three major departments — Software Engineering, Operations / Infrastructure and Internal Service. It operates 170,000 workstations and 12,400 servers. Walter Karl, the IT Architect who led the legacy transmission migration at BA IT-Systemhaus, explained the impact of the new requirements addressed by BA and Axway: "What looked initially like a new Managed File Transfer requirement imposed by the banks, turned out to be a complex B2Bi solution that required the integration of a great deal of business logic, because at the same time, we were also migrating our main financial application from a legacy application to SAP. We used Axway Integrator to implement the functions that were required to complete the process. These functions were missing from SAP. In terms of timing, flexibility and economy, the best option was to create those functions with Axway Integrator within the B2Bi hub, rather than develop them with SAP tools."

The end product described by Karl is comprised of a B2B gateway integrating a good deal of business logic, and acting as a central hub based on Axway Gateway and its EBICS client and server. Axway Transfer CFT handles the communication with SAP.

Peter Neuhauser, Division Manager at BA IT-Systemhaus, went on to explain the business impact: "With the support of Axway, we were able to meet the Federal Reserve’s deadline of January 2, 2011 for the EBICS implementation. We are the first major corporation in Germany to have fully complied with the new requirements. We are therefore able to fulfil our legal duties. Without stable and punctual payment of unemployment and child benefits, the consequence would be major social unrest in the country. All financial transactions are processed by the financial exchange EBICS gateway provided by Axway, and the solution is stable, reliable and secure. That translates to 18 million transactions per month amounting to € 9 billion with about 13 different banks. Our entire cash flow relies on the EBICS communication infrastructure and B2B hub provided by Axway."

Axway provides stable solutions for a wide range of customer requirements. In our dealings with Axway, we have found the company and its employees to be flexible, direct and trustworthy.

Risk Mitigation

Running two parallel environments to deter business continuity threats

It quickly became apparent that Axway was required to expand its role; instead of simply being a vendor, Axway became an integrator with huge impact on BA’s business. Neuhauser continued: “There was a complete change of the project scope from just IT transmission, to a high impact on the business. We needed Axway’s assistance with business process integration, and also with risk mitigation to operate the two environments in parallel for three months prior to the changeover date. The deadline imposed by the banks created additional pressure, and Axway rose to the challenge. The cut-over-to-production was handled by my team with onsite assistance from Axway Germany and on-call duty by Axway specialists in Paris.”

The modifications described have been many, both from a business standpoint and a technical standpoint:

  • Recognition for achieving on-time EBICS compliance in alignment with corporate decisions and Federal Reserve regulations
  • Smooth business process operations between BA-IT Systemhaus and its internal customer, BA Financial Department
  • Homogenization of MFT and B2Bi platforms 
  • Elimination of legacy applications, resulting in a reduction in infrastructure complexity
  • Fulfillment of legal requirement 
  • Enhanced Security with EBICS 
  • An environment for future enhancements, including planned migration to SEPA 
  • A structure for the integration of additional interfaces to SAP to further reduce complexity
  • A stable and reliable solution enabling BA to fulfill its legal duties

Neuhauser concluded: “Axway provides stable solutions for a wide range of customer requirements. In our dealings with Axway, we have found the company and its employees to be flexible, direct and trustworthy.”

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