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Federal Employment Agency (BA) develops new software for calculating and paying out the basic social security for millions of people in Germany

Capgemini heads service provider consortium and provides support for project management and implementation

BA successfully implements important social and employment market reform

“The new approach is: everyone is needed, and not simply taken care of. We are moving away from support toward activation,” says Heinrich Alt, former chair of the Federal Employment Agency’s basic social security department, recalling the year 2005. At the time, a significant social and employment market reform was underway: the consolidation of unemployment benefits and social benefits to provide basic social security for job seekers, colloquially known as “Hartz IV”.

Since then, unemployment has dropped significantly. The annual average for 2005 showed a figure of 4.9 million unemployed, while the number ten years on has fallen to 2.9 million. The reform made a significant contribution to this reduction. It is one of many measures that the Federal Employment Agency has since implemented. Its tasks include organizing placements in training and employment positions, offering career and employer consultation services, supporting training and further education and administering and allocating welfare payments such as unemployment benefit and insolvency benefit.

To fulfill these obligations, the Federal Employment Agency maintains three high-availability central computer centers in Nuremberg and a total of 9000 servers. It supervises 160,000 networked computer workplaces, sends around 35 million emails and 11 million letters per month and carries out 16 million bank transfers.

Software for calculating Hartz IV not future-proof

The new form of basic social security back in 2005 got off to a turbulent start. There were many more recipients of Hartz IV benefit than anticipated and initial software problems caused a lot of additional work. In spite of these challenges, all those involved managed to pay out benefits on time.

It soon became clear that the software developed under time pressure within the scope of the Hartz reform was not future-proof. High maintenance costs had to be reduced and the implementation of legislative changes often took too long. This is why the Federal Employment Agency decided in 2007 to develop a new solution called ALLEGRO.

Federal Employment Agency launches major project for a new solution

The Federal Employment Agency was seeking a reliable partner to manage and coordinate a consortium of service providers for the mammoth project, which sometimes involved more than 200 people. The partner’s brief was to support the Federal Employment Agency in the fields of project management, development, testing and rollout. The Federal Employment Agency chose Capgemini, in part because of good previous experiences, the company’s expertise in large-scale software development projects and its extensive know-how.

Transparency was a decisive factor in ensuring the success of ALLEGRO. For this reason, Capgemini developed a multidimensional planning tool for the project that allowed everyone involved to give realistic estimates of the scope and the delivery deadlines for the software. In addition, the classic Federal Employment Agency procedure model (V-Modell XT) was combined with agile methods. This measure significantly increased efficiency. Many other ideas from the Capgemini team led to development being completed within the specified time period.

Switching to new software with a total of 35,000 users is also a project of enormous dimensions. Capgemini developed a strategy for a multi-phase migration that allowed the solution to be rolled out without any problems.

Results Count – reliable, cost-effective and flexible application for correct and punctual benefit payments

The comprehensive introduction of ALLEGRO by the middle of 2015 made the provision of benefits to more than 4 million recipients future-proof. The solution is very user-friendly, stable, cost-effective with regard to maintenance and development and allows a fast response to changes in legislation.

The Future Ahead – joint development of ALLEGRO

ALLEGRO is under constant development in order to support its users as they cope with continuously growing demands. In 2014, the Federal Employment Agency decided within the context of a call for tender to extend its partnership with Capgemini for another three years.