iText DITO: Enabling Capgemini to deliver collaborative and cost-effective pension administration
Learn how Capgemini use iText DITO to overcome document challenges and provide reliable and cost-effective administration for a large Dutch pension fund.
Capgemini is an IT consulting company that implements information technology integrations for its clients. However, one of their recent projects for a Dutch pension fund had unique needs; Capgemini was asked to cover not only the IT part of the project but also to develop the whole business. “Typically, we build the IT platform that the client asks us to build,” explains Gideon Zondervan, head of platform delivery at Capgemini. “But in this case, we’ve set up a complete organization, including a call center, a back office, an IT platform, risk management, compliance, and security.”
The project started with a lean start-up model, with a team consisting of five people. This has now grown to a 10-person team which provides pension administration on behalf of a Dutch pension fund with 1.5 million participants. However, their duties extend beyond this number: “We interact with those participants, but also with around 39,000 employers in the retail sector, from little shops to companies with hundreds of employees”, says Gideon.
Capgemini’s team recognized that as part of the platform they were developing, high-volume document generation was a key requirement. As Gideon explains, pension administration is all about documents: "For pension administration, you need to generate many different types of letters. Pension administration needs to respond to various life events: you get married, you have kids, you retire, and at the end of your life, you pass away. So, for all these situations, there are different letters."
Another essential characteristic of pension administration is that it needs to be cost-effective. "We're not selling a pension; we're providing it” Gideon explains. “So, the more cost-effective we are at this pension administration, the more pension is paid out to the participant, so that's important to us".
Moreover, contrary to most other letter generation applications like printing leaflets, pension administration letters carry considerable weight. Since many are legally required, it is vital they do not have any mistakes. "If someone gets married or is going through a divorce and there's a settlement, it's important that the details are right” adds Gideon. “So, we needed a letter generation solution that we could depend on as it's a critical component of our business."
Gideon’s team also decided that to allow for future international business opportunities, generating documents in multiple languages was also important. In addition, it should be easy for business users to develop and manage the templates used for the diverse types of letters needed.
Capgemini did some research in the architecture phase and landed on iText DITO because they liked the features it offered. “It matched with what we wanted to do. It can easily generate different types of letters, makes it easy to manage all these templates, and supports multiple languages,” says Gideon. "Because of this fit, we signed up with iText."
“It really matched with what we wanted to do. It can easily generate different types of letters, it makes it easy to manage all these templates and it supports multiple languages”
Gideon Zondervan, Head of Platform Delivery at Capgemini
iText DITO is a collaborative document solution for developers and business users, which simplifies PDF generation. Business users can easily build and maintain data-driven templates and bind JSON data to template elements. Meanwhile, developers can focus on the integration and PDF generation aspect of iText DITO.
The solution comprises three parts. First, the iText DITO Editor is an intuitive, browser-based WYSIWYG template designer. You can build templates containing various elements, such as rich text, tables, images, barcodes, and more. Template elements can be bound to data, with calculations and conditional formatting. While you don't need to write code to build your document templates, code is supported for advanced formatting and business logic.
The iText DITO SDK/API is the heart of the iText DITO framework. Based on the renowned iText 7 PDF SDK, it is available natively for Java, or as a Docker container with a convenient REST API.
Finally, the iText DITO Manager provides an integrated workspace to simplify template creation and management. From here, you can combine reusable elements like headers and footers, and manage resources such as fonts, images, and stylesheets. It also enables the management of users and security roles, connected SDK/API instances, and your template promotion pipeline.
Capgemini's initial proof-of-concept phase with iText DITO lasted a quarter of a year. In those months, Capgemini wanted to prove that the letter generation worked, that the platform was feasible, and that the performance was fast enough. "There were no surprises," says Gideon, "iText DITO did what it says on the box, and it did it smoothly. We also conducted performance testing to evaluate whether it could generate letters in a sufficient volume in a short amount of time."
The fact that iText DITO targets documents built jointly by business and IT proved to be a good fit for Capgemini, according to Gideon: "Right from the start, we created cross-functional teams with business and IT people. Of course, there's a technical phase initially, but as soon as we knew how things should work technically, we immediately involved business. They started thinking about what templates they needed. Thanks to iText DITO, we could develop code and design letters in parallel."
“There were no surprises, iText DITO did what it says on the box, and it did it smoothly. We also conducted some performance testing to evaluate whether it could generate letters in a sufficient volume in a short amount of time.”
Gideon Zondervan, Head of Platform Delivery at Capgemini
Capgemini built an architectural integration layer on Microsoft Azure with iText DITO running on a virtual machine in that application landscape. As Gideon explains: “We decoupled all components with REST APIs. We’re using Salesforce as our CRM, and it calls the iText DITO API to generate letters. These are stored and once a day we take all newly generated PDFs and send them to our printing partner, who prints them and sends them out for delivery to the employees using the Dutch postal service.”
Integrating iText DITO into their platform proved to be a simple task for Capgemini’s developers, with its REST API also turning out to be easy to use. As Gideon explains, “Only at the start did we require some help from iText’s support, but it was relatively straightforward. After this, we were able to continue on our own. You don’t need to be super technical to work with iText DITO.”
Capgemini’s solution sends hundreds of letters a day, and on peak days even thousands. “Especially at the end of the year the volumes are enormous. Last December we generated 900,000 letters”, says Gideon. The pension fund’s participants can always access their letters through their personal web portal and can look back in their digital archives, even if the letter was sent by physical mail.
Capgemini’s team is currently managing 296 document templates with iText DITO: half of them in Dutch, half of them in English. “With so many templates, the ease of use to set up a new template and do this in two languages is important for us,” concludes Gideon. “iText really delivers on this aspect.”
Capgemini is a multinational information technology services and consulting company. 85% of the 200 largest public companies on the Forbes Global 2000 list are their clients. Capgemini has more than 340,000 employees worldwide and is active in more than 50 countries.