Storebrand needed a secure way to communicate over the Internet with its partners; the solution needed to be flexible, easy to use and enable a rapid time-to-market for new integrations
- New business models generating gains in market share
- Greater agility and shorter time-to-market, through quick and easy development of integrations
- Total flexibility for control over the message at any level
- Rock-solid stability, proven by a five-year incident-free track record
- Competitive differentiation enabling Storebrand to offer unique products and services
“Axway API Gateway is absolutely essential for our security infrastructure, and we plan to expand its use. It’s also important to stress that I have never, ever seen anything as good as Axway’s support team.”
Leader in Long-Term Savings and Insurance
A pioneer in Norway’s pension market
A leading player in the Nordic market for long-term savings and insurance, the Storebrand Group has 1.8 million customers in Norway and Sweden. With a history dating back to 1767, Storebrand has provided pension plans for Norwegian employees since 1917, almost 50 years before the government established its social security program. The company is also active in the fields of life insurance, asset management and health insurance.
Building the Business
Expanding and securing B2B communications
Following the acquisition of a Swedish company in 2008, Storebrand needed a secure way to communicate over the Internet with its partners. “At the time, we had nine business-to-business (B2B) integrations, a new one in the pipeline, and we knew there would be many more in the coming years,” said Terje Borgen, Platform and Integration Department manager at Storebrand Life Insurance. Storebrand’s existing integrations relied on three different platforms, none of which provided the requisite level of security.
“We also needed the integrations to be quick to develop on the new platform,” said Borgen. “On our old systems, it took too many days to develop a new integration.” Moreover, the new solution had to be flexible, enabling a variety of secure Internet communications. “In a word, we needed the solution to be absolutely secure, easy to use, and fast to develop,” said Borgen.
From pilot project to full-fledged deployment
Storebrand began to search for the right solution. “First we used Gartner to get the right candidates. We initially looked at seven vendors, and then narrowed the field down to two,” said Borgen. “We chose Axway API Gateway because of the flexibility and the price of the software solution.”
The Axway solution went into production in December 2008, launching a pilot project for NAV, the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration, which disburses one-third of the national budget through unemployment benefits, work assessment allowance, sickness benefits, pensions, child benefits and cash-for-care benefits.
Following the successful NAV pilot, deployment of Axway API Gateway was ramped up to secure all Internet communications between Storebrand and its ecosystem of private and public partners across Norway and Sweden. Today, Axway API Gateway manages 27 integrations, governing the flow of data for:
- 20 B2B solutions with web services involving point-to-point exchange of data between two companies (Storebrand and its partner)
- 4 SAML-based single sign-on (SSO) solutions that enable customers logged on to Storebrand’s website to seamlessly access external sites without logging in again
- 3 other solutions, including 1 mobile application
These integrations generate approximately 24,000 transactions a day, totaling some 600,000 transactions per month.
“Axway API Gateway gives you control over the message at whatever level you want. It’s never about whether it’s possible on the Gateway; it’s just how to do it the best way.”
Taking a Closer Look
Business processes enabled by Axway API Gateway
Providing a sense of the scope and significance of Internet communications governed by Axway API Gateway, Borgen described the following integrations:
- Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV): “This was the first project we implemented on Axway API Gateway,” said Borgen. “Since Storebrand is a pension company, we have to work with the NAV to calculate the share of the pension a retiree will obtain from the public system, and how much Storebrand has to contribute.”
- Finance Portal: This service, provided by the Norwegian Consumer Council, enables consumers to compare market offerings in banking, insurance and investment. “Any Norwegian who wants to buy a new car can use this service to compare rates for car loans and insurance,” said Bergen. “We receive a request from the portal, calculate the price, and return our quote in real time.”
- Norwegian Pension Portal: All major life insurance companies in Norway deliver data to this portal, which combines what an individual has saved from different pension sources to provide a single view of the pension. “This is another example of how we deliver real-time data to external portals, using Axway API Gateway,” said Borgen.
- NASDAQ interface: For its private customers in Sweden, Storebrand implemented an SSO integration with NASDAQ, the largest U.S. electronic stock market, which lists 3200 companies and trades some two billion shares per day. The Axway API Gateway solution enables customers who are logged on to the Storebrand site to directly access NASDAQ and carry out trades.
- Digital signatures with BankID: In Norway, the BankID standard enables consumers and companies to use digital signatures to establish legally binding contracts. “If a customer in Sweden or Norway wants to purchase products from us over the Internet, he or she uses BankID to sign the documents,” said Borgen. “Working with a partner, we provide the digital signatures over Axway API Gateway.”
“It’s important to say that we have very stable operations on the Gateway. We’ve been using Axway’s solution for five years, and we have never encountered any instability.”
Enabling New Business Models
Benefits of Axway API Gateway
After five years of experience with Axway API Gateway, Borgen highlighted these key business and technical benefits of the solution for Storebrand:
- Enables new business models that generate gains in market share: “The Finance Portal enables us to reach new customers, thanks to Axway API Gateway,” said Borgen. “Likewise, the single sign-on solution makes our website attractive to customers because they can log on in one place and simply jump to other websites.”
- Shorter time to market: When the Finance Portal was first released, Storebrand was one of the first two Norwegian companies to be connected. “We were much quicker than the other large companies to supply data for the price-comparison module,” said Borgen. “That was only possible because Axway API Gateway solutions are so quick to implement.”
- Process optimization: Before deploying Axway’s solution, Storebrand sometimes used FTP or even the Post Office to deliver some of its data. “I certainly think that going from the Post Office to Internet delivery involves process optimization!” said Borgen.
- Flexibility: “Axway API Gateway gives you control over the message at whatever level you want, and you can actually write code and manipulate the message in any way you want,” said Borgen. “It’s never about whether it’s possible on the Gateway; it’s just how to do it the best way.”
- Competitive differentiation: “Our NASDAQ integration really sets us apart from our competitors,” said Borgen. “We are the first to offer this capability.”
- Greater agility: The Axway solution enables Storebrand to quickly respond to new demands in the marketplace. “Many of our partners now require SOAP integration over the Internet,” said Borgen, “and Axway API Gateway enables us to do that.” In addition, Axway API Gateway supports REST APIs and other protocols.
- Stability: “It’s important to say that we have very stable operations on the Gateway,” said Borgen. “We’ve been using Axway’s solution for five years, and we have never encountered any instability.”
“Axway API Gateway is absolutely essential for our security infrastructure, and we plan to expand its use.”
New deployments for Axway API Gateway
Two years ago, Storebrand decided to expand its use of the Axway solution and purchased additional licenses. “We’re very pleased with Axway API Gateway,” said Borgen. “It has lived up to our expectations, and we want to use it to do more. It’s also important to stress that I have never, ever seen anything nearly as good as Axway’s support team.”
The current deployment is now considered Step 1 of a 3-step process:
- In Step 1, a single deployment of Axway API Gateway covers all integrations: B2B solutions, browser-based solutions for customers, SSO integrations, mobile applications, etc.
- In Step 2, this deployment will be split into two parts, to separate B2B solutions from browser-based integrations. Borgen explained why: “When you deal with a B2B solution, only integration is involved. But with browsers, new versions come out all the time. And Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer don’t always play well with Android and iOS browsers. We want to give all users the best experience possible.”
- In Step 3, a third deployment of Axway API Gateway will be used internally at Storebrand to secure its internal services.
Looking yet farther ahead, Borgen highlighted plans for integration with social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. As Borgen stressed, “Axway API Gateway is absolutely essential for our security infrastructure, and we plan to expand its use.”