Success Story: La Poste

Scaling data volumes and boosting processing speeds makes for a first-class enterprise

  • Headquarters

    Paris, France
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Optimize accounting information system for improved performance and standards-based processes, while distributing control of business rules and processes to functional players.

  • Solution

  • Results

      • Meets all performance, security, and compliance requirements
      • Reinforces functional stakeholders’ control of business processes
      • Enhances flexibility in the management of data transformation rules and parameters
      • Accelerates processing of financial and accounting data
      • Reduces technical and functional costs in alignment with company strategy
      • Optimizes and standardizes the technical architecture and its management
                • Improves overall technical and functional efficiency

              Provides for enhanced customer service

              Through continuous innovation and development

              As a provider, integrator, and distributor of services, The French Post Office (La Poste) is the most diversified of all European postal operators owing to its strong position in each of its business lines. La Poste is ranked by revenue as number 24 among industrial and services groups in France. In 2010, La Poste generated revenues of €21 billion. Today, 15 percent of La Poste’s revenue is also generated through its international business.

              As of March 1, 2010, La Poste changed its legal status to become a one hundred percent Public Limited Company. When the French postal service was liberalized on January 1, 2011, La Poste’s entire business was opened up to the competition.

              La Poste relies on a staff of about 250,000. It possesses a network of more than 17,000 points of contact that are visited by one billion customers yearly. La Poste ensures the expedient management of 26 billion postal objects per year.

              La Poste set a goal of 2015 to become a European leader in providing local postal and financial services. La Poste continues to innovate with the objective of becoming a paragon of social and environmental responsibility.

              Integration of accounting functions and information systems

              Bringing functional business process requirements to the forefront

              La Poste handles huge volumes of data. Processing speed is essential as it influences the management of deadlines which are becoming ever more restrictive. The intent is to deliver timely accounting information and effective financial steering. La Poste requires a robust technical solution that fits into its information system architecture, but also a business-oriented solution. This is because functional teams need to be responsible for defining and managing their own business accounting rules while establishing a new way of interacting with IT.

              As soon as La Poste modified its legal status to become a public enterprise, it set out to optimize its accounting information system based on these objectives:

              • Improving business, functional, application and technical performance and processes
              • Bringing flexibility and agility to the management of business rules and parameter setting to interpret financial data

              “Axway really stood out among its competitors as the company that could satisfy our requirements both in terms of technical capabilities and functional aspects. Axway is clearly the worldwide market leader for solutions requiring business-oriented and finely tuned transformation and interpretation of financial transactions.”

               
              • Returning to functional stakeholders a role in the definition and management of business rules and processes
              • Implementing standards to replace legacy applications developed in-house and based on out-of-date technologies
              • Reducing overall costs

              “Axway really stood out among its competitors as the company that could satisfy our requirements both in terms of technical capabilities and functional aspects,” said Gerald Brisebard, Accounting Director for Mail at La Poste. “Axway is clearly the worldwide market leader for solutions requiring business-oriented and finely tuned transformation and interpretation of financial transactions.”

              Twenty years later

              La Poste continues to implement Axway solutions

              La Poste has been using Axway Accounting Integration Suite for 20 years. It has completed three major IT projects using Axway, and with each new project, Axway’s role has been extended and broadened. The steps in implementing the projects are:

              STEP 1

              In 1991, in the context of the change of status; that is, its establishment as an Autonomous Public-law Institution, and the modification of the accounting references, it was decided to install a double-entry bookkeeping system to manage financial services streams. Within this framework, La Poste deployed Axway Accounting Integration Suite for the translation and processing of banking transactions for postal bank accounts of 10 million customers based on ERs (event reports).

              STEP 2

              From 2002 to 2004, La Poste carried out a major project to optimize its information system, and to reorganize the entire accounting department to improve performance. The project involved 1,300 in-house accountants and the 12,000 post offices that generate several million retail or banking transactions daily. Axway Accounting Integration Suite was selected in lieu of an in-house architecture and translation processing application.

              “It was really the best decision to continue with Axway, and further expand our implementation of Axway Accounting Integration Suite.”

              STEP 3

              During 2009 and 2010, La Poste’s use of the Axway Accounting Integration Suite was instilled deeper with each business unit, in conjunction with the deployment of a SAP system. Axway Accounting Integration Suite was selected once again instead of alternative solutions proposed by SAP system integrators. In this regard, Brisebard said: “We had many discussions between functional and technical stakeholders to determine if we wanted to implement products other than those offered by Axway. We needed to find a common solution for the different business units, to process transactions generated by the post office network, the mail delivery staff, and payroll for the entire workforce. We debated over the business-oriented characteristics of our processes, the technical aspects and the economic aspects. We were very satisfied with Axway Accounting Integration Suite, which had been running for many years. In addition, our IT teams and functional staff had adopted and mastered Axway’s solution. And we were avid to pursue the optimization of our financial and accounting information systems. It was really the best decision to continue with Axway, and further expand our implementation of Axway Accounting Integration Suite,” Brisebard explained.

              The project involved the integration of HR system flows in SAP (payroll and time sheets) with Axway Accounting Integrator interfaces for all aspects of general ledger and analytical accounting — this in addition to payment of social security contributions for all business units at La Poste. The performance of Axway’s solution enables the interpretation, control and aggregation of wages for 250,000 employees, generated by several dozen wage and social contribution codes, and spread over more than 300,000 analytical cost centers.

              “The use of Axway solutions follows our logic to increase speed, quality and security. We have improved the quality of our accounting and financial production, while increasing operational speed, lowering costs and improving efficiency on overall system management. Axway Accounting Integration Suite obviously meets all the technical requirements including performance, compliance, and security, but it is also very business-oriented and accessible by non-computer specialists.”

               

              Considerable cost savings

              In addition to high-performance, high-volume processing

              “Axway enabled us to carry out interpretation and transformation on a daily basis without any difficulty. Previously, these processes were accomplished on a weekly or monthly basis. By being able to feed the ERP on a daily basis, we’ve saved time on end-of-month, quarterly and yearly reporting. The acceleration of accounting and financial operations brings large-scale optimization to all the business processes,” said Brisebard.

              “By moving to market standards, we have been able to greatly improve our performance and efficiency, from an accounting and a functional point of view, but also in terms of IT. We have optimized our technical architecture and technical centers through the implementation of a standard environment. This translates to a reduction in the overall costs of our computing architectures, while increasing the efficiency in the management of these architectures.” Brisebard continued, “The use of Axway solutions follows our logic to increase speed, quality and security. We have improved the quality of our accounting and financial production, while increasing operational speed, lowering costs and improving efficiency on overall system management.”

              “Axway offers a very well balanced-solution with regard to how to optimize an information system, to industrialize the processing of large volumes of information, while restoring some control to the functional actors. Axway Accounting Integration Suite obviously meets all the technical requirements including performance, compliance, and security, but it is also very business-oriented and accessible by non-computer specialists,” concluded Brisebard.

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