iText DITO: Enabling Capgemini to manage cost-effective pension administration for 1.5 million participants
Learn from Gideon Zondervan, Head of Platform Delivery, and Xander Kerasavopoulos, Salesforce consultant at Capgemini, how they use iText DITO to overcome document generation challenges utilizing clearly defined document templates.
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 startup model, now growing from a 5-person team to a 10-person team. They provide pension administration on behalf of a Dutch pension fund with 1.5 million participants. “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. Pension administration is all about documents, and that’s where iText comes in.
- Have a cost-effective document generation solution for pension administration.
- Generate many diverse types of letters.
- Support multiple languages for later international business opportunities.
- Have easy letter template management by business users.
"For pension administration, you need to generate many different types of letters." Gideon explains, "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."
Moreover, contrary to many other letter generation applications like printing leaflets, pension administration letters carry much weight. Many are even legally required, so they mustn't contain 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. So, we needed a letter generation solution that we could depend on", adds Gideon, "as it's a critical component of our business."
Another essential characteristic of pension administration is that it needs to be cost-effective. "We're not selling a pension; we're providing it. 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."
“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 at Capgemini,
Capgemini did some research in the architecture phase and landed on iText DITO because they liked the features. "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."
iText DITO is a collaborative solution for developers and business users that simplifies creating and maintaining PDFs. Developers can focus on PDF creation's integration and generation aspect, while business users can create, design, and maintain the templates for PDF document generation.
The solution comprises three parts. First, iText DITO Editor is an intuitive front-end WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) template designer you can use in a web browser. You don't need to write any code to build document templates, but code is still supported for advanced formatting and business logic. The iText DITO SDK/API is the real heart of the iText DITO framework, based on the iText 7 SDK. And the iText DITO Manager provides an integrated workspace to simplify template creation and resource management.
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 at Capgemini,
Currently Capgemini’s pension administration is 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”, explains Gideon. “iText really delivers on this aspect.”
The API also turned out to be easy to use for Capgemini’s developers, continues Gideon. “Only at the start did we require some help from iText 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 built an architectural integration layer on Microsoft Azure and iText DITO is running on a virtual machine in that application landscape, says Gideon. “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.” 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 is now sending out a couple of hundred letters a day and on peak days even thousands of letters. “Especially at the end of the year the volumes are enormous. Last December we generated 900,000 letters”, concludes Gideon.
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.