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Government of Norway: The Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund (NPSPF)

Read how Accenture helped NPSPF in an IT- enabled business transformation initiative, which transformed them from being task-oriented to becoming customer-oriented.

Overview

The Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund (NPSPF) is Norway’s largest service pension fund in relation to the number of members. Accenture has been NPSPF’s main partner since 1995, from which point onward NPSPF has embarked on an IT- enabled business transformation initiative. This ongoing effort, co-lead and assisted by Accenture, has from the outset helped NPSPF to develop “from being an organisation in crisis, to become the public sector’s best run organisations,” according to Computerworld Norway.

Opportunity
The NPSPF administrates the pension plan for government employees, teachers working within the mandatory educational level and high schools, and greater parts of the research sector. In 2004 the Fund paid out pensions to their 930,000 members approximately amounting to NOK 13.6 billion.

NPSPF’s situation in the mid-90s was characterised by:

  • late payments of pension benefits, of which 40% were paid 4 months too late

  • inaccurate issuance of pension benefit amounts

  • paper-based manual administration processing, which was largely subject to human errors

  • slow error detection and subsequent correction of data

  • large backlogs of claims

  • slow responsiveness to customer queries and inefficient case-handling processes

During the next 15 years, the NPSPF predicts a strong increase in the number of pensioners from approximately 200,000 to approximately 300,000. This increase is twice as large as the increase during the last 15 years. This aging of the Norwegian workforce puts pressure on the NPSPF to perform its core functions faster and with a higher quality in order to provide cost-effective service.

Moreover, several government employers are made autonomous and are liberated from government control. This results in NPSPF having to compete with private pension scheme providers. Thus, in order to stay competitive, the NPSPF must meet customer demands, in terms of improved customer-centric service and information along with increased accessibility.

Solution

Accenture has been the main accelerator for renewing NPSPF’s business organisation and consolidating their IT-department. Accenture have been involved in several projects and roles within NPSPF from high-level strategy formulation to detailed programming. A brief outline of the most important projects is provided below.

Project “TOPP” (1995-1999)
Accenture assisted NPSPF in re-engineering their entire business, which transformed them from being task-oriented to becoming customer-oriented. Accenture was involved with strategy processes, value realisation, process simplification, re-structuring, training, and change management. Furthermore, the business transformation programme was enabled by a new core system based on a new IT-architecture, which was designed and developed by Accenture.

Replacement of Loan Application (1999-2000)
Accenture’s involvement in the project covered the following areas:

  • Assessment of the options: system replacement vs. system enhancement

  • Acquisition of new loan system

  • Project management in regard to implementation, conversion, and deployment of new system

  • Establishment of contracts covering operations and maintenance outsourcing, including SLA

Application Management (2001-on going)
Accenture assists the IT-department with application management (AM) and development of core systems, covering the areas of:

  • IT-services

    • Accenture resources delivering services within AM, analysis, design, programming, and testing

  • Delivery Management

    • Coordinating AM tasks’ and projects’ delivery, in-house and towards external clients

    • Planning and managing delivery support functions responsible for processes and activities in regard to regression testing, migration, live production, and acceptance testing of new deliverables

    • Coordinating readiness, production fixes, and part-deliveries

  • AM Enhancement

    • Establishing and embedding methods, processes, and formalising routines ensuring quality and predictability of deliveries. These are goal-oriented measures put in action to achieve the goal of prioritised task delivery on time and within budget

    • Implementing delivery-oriented maintenance that ensures quality and stability in deliverables and the production environment

    • Formalising roles and responsibilities in the IT-department and the interface between the IT-department and system-owners. This, in order to clarify and delimit responsibilities and enhance the ability to make appropriate decisions

Following this work, a new IT-service contract was agreed in December 2004 to extend the service until 2007. The contract covers maintenance and consulting services within strategy/IT-strategy, business architecture, process improvement, organisational development, and other IT-services.

NPSPF Interactive (2002-2003)
NPSPF teamed up with Accenture to build and launch an online-solution for individual communication with employers and members of the Fund. This involved design and development of chosen solution, implementation of systems architecture, operations architecture, and security solution, comprising authentication and user administration; solution for web-based extraction of pension information, case handling; and a solution for employers with support in the pension process and downloading of own employees’ recorded member history. Later Accenture was involved in the development of an online service for applying housing loans.

On-line Reporting (2002-2003)
With Accenture’s help the NPSPF designed and developed a solution for online reporting of member data. The solution is a new service within NPSFP interactive for employers. It enables:

  • An online registration system that provides help with filling out the different forms

  • Real-time control of web-forms which renders information to customers of any inaccuracies with the form’s data

  • Employers to input and update member information

  • Strategy process analysis (2003)

Accenture was involved in a project to:

  • devise the most important business processes regarding life insurance and capital management

  • estimate the need for human resources, operational costs, and investments in regard to the new processes

  • recommend an appropriate course of action to continue the initiative

The work served as a basis for quality assurance of the NPSPF’s strategy and overall business case.

Fokus (2003)
Accenture assisted in the development of service and segmentation models aimed towards the business client area. The assignment also comprised in developing a model for following up results and devising an appropriate course of action for customer management.

SFINX (2005)

More and more of NPSPF’s customers, on the employer side, are liberated from government control. From some of these NPSPF has to collect an insurance technical premium. NPSPF’s existing IT-systems are built primarily for ensuring its members correct payment of pension benefits. The increased need for insurance technical calculations is the main reason why NPSPF has embarked on a project named SFINX. The name represents NPSPF’s future financial process with X being the unknown factor.

Accenture supports NPSPF by managing the project teams Process and function and Solution. The Process and function team are mapping out the process and functional requirements. While the Solution team describes the different architectures and strategies for the technical solution, and then compares these proposed solutions and their pertaining long-term costs. The results will facilitate NPSPF’s decision-making with respect to opting for an appropriate solution-strategy.

Results

Today, NPSPF renders impressive results in regard to core business efficiency and timeliness in pension payments. The key success factors were Accenture’s efforts to make NPSPF customer-oriented and to formalise the AM-function by establishing roles, processes and routines that clarified each employee’s tasks and responsibilities. Thus, making AM more predictable, measurable and controllable.

NPSPF’s continuous maintenance-work and enhancements to its core systems and web-based services enables it to:

  • further improve quality and ensure timely and accurate pension payments

  • increase the efficiency of pension processing in terms of case handling and eligibility determination

  • improve the service to its members and member organisations participating in NPSPF’s pension plans

  • make processing more time-efficient, cost-efficient and accurate

NPSPF, with a modern and flexible IT-solution and a strong customer-centric focus, is now equipped with the necessary tools to achieve its new main goal of becoming Norway’s most cost-efficient pension scheme provider.