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CLIENT CASE STUDY


The Seafarer’s pension fund: New Microsoft-based technical architecture

Learn how Accenture and Avanade helped The Seafarer’s Fund implement a new Microsoft-based technical archictecture.

Overview

With the help of Accenture and Avanade, the Seafarer’s Pension Fund (MerimiesEläkeKassa) made significant process improvements in the pension area and realized significant cost savings in maintenance.

It replaced its aging, inefficient and costly mainframe pension system with a robust and highly flexible solution that enables high performance with user friendly interfaces.

The Seafarer’s Pension Fund is an authorized pension provider that manages the provision of statutory earnings-related pensions for mariners in Finland.

The Fund, which was established in 1956 to award and pay seafarer earnings-related pensions under the Seafarer’s Pensions Act, currently serves approximately 20,000 active retirees and insured mariners.

Opportunity

While The Fund’s mainframe pension-management system had served pensioners in Finland well for many years, it had become increasingly expensive to maintain and was unable to adequately support retirees’ requests for more efficient services and better access to electronic service channels.

The Fund wanted to replace its aging systems with one that would allow it to reduce its total cost of ownership, introduce faster and more flexible pension-related processes, and provide its pensioners the consistent services and better online experiences they deserved.

The Fund believed that a Microsoft-based solution would best meet its needs for flexibility, usability and interoperability.

The Fund knew, however, that such a system would need to be highly customized to deliver the functionality and services its pensioners demanded.

Ultimately, The Seafarer’s Fund selected Accenture as its integrator of choice. Several factors influenced this decision, including Accenture’s deep skills in systems integration and its strong record of helping other Finnish pension organizations develop the pension-related processes and IT infrastructures that enable high performance.

Also important was Accenture’s alliance with Avanade—an Accenture majority-owned company dedicated to helping clients maximize returns on their Microsoft investments.

The value of Accenture and Avanade’s collaboration was demonstrated early on, when the joint team developed a prototype of the new Microsoft-based pension system.

Solution

The Accenture and Avanade team worked closely with the Seafarer’s Pension Fund over a three-year period to design, build and implement a more flexible, adaptable and resilient pension system.

Accenture assumed responsibility for managing the overall effort, keeping the project moving forward at a steady pace, gathering client requirements, making the functional design, testing the system to ensure it would perform as described, and helping to ensure that The Fund would be able to maximize the value of its new pension system.

Accenture and Avanade applied a customized version of Accenture Delivery Methods and an iterative development approach to deliver the new pension system in five phases:

  • In phase 1, the team designed a highly customized technical infrastructure, based on the Microsoft .NET platform.

  • In phase 2, the team focused on developing four user-friendly portals to allow employees, partners and pensioners to access information and carry out pension management-related activities more quickly and effectively.

  • In phase 3, the team developed a new Pension Calculation system, which provided accurate analyses of pension payouts.

  • In phase 4, Accenture and Avanade leveraged Microsoft Dynamics CRM to create a new Claims Application system.

  • In phase 5, the team developed and deployed a new and highly customized Claims Benefit Management system.

A key to the success of the project was the strong ability to finalize the functional design by our Accenture Business Analysts. Accenture remains involved through the provision of maintenance support for the new pension system for a four-year period.

Result

With the help of Accenture and Avanade, the Seafarer’s Pension Fund made significant process improvements in the pension area and realized significant cost savings in maintenance.

The Fund replaced its aging, inefficient and costly mainframe pension system with a robust and highly flexible solution that enables high performance with user-friendly interfaces. The solution offers a number of advantages:

  • The new system has reduced the total cost of ownership, as well as the maintenance effort required. Data and processes that used to be housed or managed via various systems are now consolidated into a single solution.

  • For retirees, the solution offers a host of electronic services that allow them to quickly gather information and make simple changes to their accounts. Because the processes and pension applications have been streamlined, all pensioners receive more consistent—and more satisfying—service.

  • For shipping companies, the new system has simplified mandated reporting processes.

In short, Accenture and Avanade introduced pension process improvements and a new Microsoft-based architecture that is customized to meet the specific needs of The Fund, its pensioners and shipping companies, alike. Importantly, the system’s flexibility and scalability will enable to The Fund effectively serve its constituents for years to come.

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