Success Story: E.ON AG Group

Leading worldwide power and gas company expands its managed file transfer platform with Axway SecureTransport

  • Headquarters

    Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Introduce and provide secure managed file transfer platform to effectively address diverse nature of external exchanges as number of users expands in retail operations and other departments company-wide. Enable use of low cost Internet media while adhering to E.ON’s strict and high-level security policies.

  • Solution

  • Results

    • Guaranteed secure and on-time delivery of trading transactions
    • Solution is quickly extensible beyond initial requirements to many other functions within the company
    • Makes integration of acquisitions quicker and more effective
    • Provides flexible environment to easily customize portal to offer service with E.ON look-and-feel
    • Provides rich functionalities, features and extensions for all future enhancements and requirements
    • Delivers high level of secure communication through state-of-the-art security methodology and tools

“What started out as a tool for secure and managed file transfer with 400 retail partners worldwide has almost instantly become a requirement for many other departments and users throughout the group.”

E.ON AG is one of the world’s largest investor-owned power and gas companies, with 2010 sales amounting to just under €93 billion. With leading market positions in power and gas, more than 85,000 employees and over 26 million customers, E.ON operates in more than 30 countries.

E.ON is active along the entire value chain. Its integrated business model in power and gas extends from power generation and gas production to distribution and sales. E.ON has one of the broadest geographic footprints in the industry, combining international strength with local expertise. With a balanced energy mix incorporating all generation technologies, E.ON strives to provide a secure, climate-friendly and affordable supply of gas and electricity.

Secure MFT for Retail Operations and Beyond

For more than three years, E.ON has been using Axway SecureTransport for all of its financial data exchanges worldwide. E.ON’s treasury management system, called TREMA, moves several billion euro daily in financial transactions. The transactions are handled inter alia through Axway SecureTransport.

It became apparent to the retail operations group of E.ON that a state-of-the-art external data exchange solution was required. Sending important files and messages such as distribution contracts, or invoices as email attachments, became unworkable as files were often too large to get through the email systems, and business-sensitive messages were not adequately protected without having to implement specific point-to-point VPNs – an implementation that was costly and time-consuming. Large files were being rejected, and email inboxes were experiencing bottlenecks, with the result that critical files were not received on time. In addition, E.ON had a long-standing policy that precluded use of the Internet for communication with external entities because of security policies.

“We had a business requirement to provide and manage secure data movement across the Internet for exchanges with external parties. Since we were already using Axway SecureTransport for such a strategic and critical application as TREMA, upon further study it became obvious that the solution provided the security required to handle our data exchanges with our trading partners and other entities,” said Peter Betzler, Senior IT Consultant for E.ONIT, which is the IT provider and support function for the entire business. “What started out as a tool for secure and managed file transfer with 400 retail partners worldwide has almost instantly become a requirement for many other departments and users throughout the group. The number of users identified quickly rose to a remarkable number and the forecasted number of users over the mid-term has increased significantly. Nearly every function within the company requires a secure communication and transfer platform, from marketing, to seismic data relating to oil and gas exploration, and to users transmitting structured data formats such as EDIGAS and EDINE. The Axway solution is so versatile, powerful and scalable that it can be extended to any imaginable extent. It offers all data formats and exchange protocols; it transfers large files without any problem; it provides for the automation of A2A transfers; and it provides everything else that we could possibly need in the future. In short, SecureTransport offers everything, and a little bit more.”

Enabling Quick and Effective Integration of Acquisitions

E.ON has been acquiring many companies throughout Europe. With acquisitions comes a requirement for the quick exchange of data, and the absorption of the IT infrastructure of the new companies. “With SecureTransport, we can immediately offer a communication platform offering a standard communication process while providing all the necessary protocols,” Betzler said. “SecureTransport greatly facilitates the transfer of data for the consolidation of finance figures, payroll, and other critical data enabling the smooth integration of new acquisitions, where previously this process could take months and months, and it often required a specific solution. With Axway SecureTransport, data from new acquisitions can now be consolidated and managed centrally in E.ON's data center, and this represents an enormous benefit to the company.”

“With Axway SecureTransport, data from new acquisitions can now be consolidated and managed centrally in E.ON’s data center, and this represents an enormous benefit to the company.”

Flexibility for an E.ON “Look-and-Feel”

There was an urgent requirement to get the new communication and exchange service up and running, and it was decided that the portal features offered by Axway SecureTransport would provide the best solution initially. When E.ONIT personnel discovered that the Axway SecureTransport portal could be customized to “look like” an E.ON service, they were very pleased. “I did not think it would be possible to customize SecureTransport to this extent, but it turned out to be very easy. It is very powerful; it has a very good control module and an excellent design pattern. It was incredibly easy to change the overall appearance of the entire portal. You can change everything – every little detail,” said Betzler. “SecureTransport is very open and flexible, and it does not require any training. In addition, the technical support I received was excellent. We would not have been able to implement the solution so quickly without the valuable assistance of Axway’s support desk.”

“It was important to assure our management that SecureTransport offers the highest levels of security, scalability, functionality, and performance in a Managed File Transfer solution.”

State-of-the-Art Security and Stability

Historically, many companies were reluctant to exchange data with external parties across the Internet as it was understood that any such transactions conducted over the Internet were vulnerable to attack. E.ON was among those that thought so. However, financial institutions, clearing houses, government agencies, healthcare providers, and many other activities that exchange critical and sensitive data are now using Axway SecureTransport with assurance of its security. “All the methodology and tools to enhance and ensure security are provided in Axway SecureTransport, and they work perfectly. It was important to assure our management that SecureTransport offers the highest levels of security, scalability, functionality, and performance in a Managed File Transfer solution,” said Betzler.

“With regard to stability, we have been using SecureTransport for more than three years, and we never had to restart the system at all. I installed and configured the system myself. It is perfectly reliable and it is running just fine,” Betzler concluded.

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