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CalPERS: Building a fully integrated service for lifetime benefits delivery

Modernizing technology for the largest public pension system in the United States.

Client Profile

For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school and public agency members who invest their career in public service. The pension fund serves more than 1.7 million members and nearly 3,100 employers in the CalPERS retirement system; additionally, it administers benefits for 1.4 million members and their families in their health program. As of June 30, 2014, CalPERS’ total fund market value stood at approximately $302 billion.



The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is the largest public pension fund in the United States. As customer and stakeholder demands evolved, CalPERS leadership targeted the replacement of its unsupported legacy systems with a consolidated and modernized information system that would enable the expansion of self-service for CalPERS members and employers. In doing so, this important program would position California’s public pension and health services for future growth in the digital age.


The CalPERS technology infrastructure contained 49 major systems and 60 support systems, each with its own functional databases. CalPERS recognized that modernization was needed. The objective was to replace independent legacy systems with a consolidated information system that addressed all the fundamental business requirements of California’s public pension and health systems. With an integrated technology infrastructure, the organization would be able to reduce manual interventions, increase staff time for analysis and advice and reconcile services across all CalPERS business processes. Additionally, a new integrated technology infrastructure would help to reduce the time spent on implementing regulatory changes, and enable uniform application of business rules to ensure compliance with mandated laws and policies.


Accenture’s 200-plus systems integration specialists assumed shared responsibility for the design, build and testing of the new system. Working with CalPERS deep subject matter experts, developers and testers, the project forged ahead as “one team” with a shared vision. The task involved the full integration of 109 siloed systems into a single system with a common “look and feel” across all health and benefit services. To achieve this, the Accenture team designed and built a streamlined technology engine to serve as the single solution point for managing pension and health benefits–in essence unifying a highly diverse community of 3,125 employer organizations and over 1.7 million members with vastly different needs.


CalPERS and Accenture accomplished an enormous feat. The outcomes spoke for themselves:

Enhanced user effectiveness. At launch, more than 1,600 internal users at CalPERS went from using up to 10 legacy systems daily to just one. By creating efficiencies and enabling modernization, the new system allowed resources to be redirected to new growth and new roles.

Dependable, fast online service. More than 460,000 page views are accessed daily, with an average response time of less than two seconds across the exchange. Since launching, the system has encountered just two hours of unplanned downtime. By creating a web self-service environment that facilitates “one-stop shopping”, the system brings all the benefits of advanced digital “usability” to customers and stakeholders.

Greater automation. The new system automatically factors in member status changes for retirement benefits, eliminating the need for a benefits specialist to handle or review a request. The system also automatically recalculates benefit amounts when statuses change or earnings limits are exceeded.

Broad self-service adoption. Today, all employers use the system. CalPERS bold initiative proves what can be achieved when innovative technology is combined with a truly collaborative approach. The transformed delivery system now serves as an international model for complex organizational change, demonstrating the power of technology to improve citizens’ lives.