Financial Services Powerhouse AZL Provides 1.5 Million Pension Participants Real-Time Insight Using New Portal Built with Mendix
Mendix-built portal can be customized by each of 50 affiliated pension funds; leading multinational financial services firm ING is first to go live with new platform
Low-code provides an innovative user interface for users while leveraging the tremendous compute power of the underlying core system of record
BOSTON – December 2, 2020 – Mendix, a Siemens business and global leader in low-code application development for the enterprise, today announced that AZL, an ING company and pension provider for 50 pension funds and 5,000 employers in the Netherlands, has used the Mendix low-code platform to build an innovative new pension planner app within AZL’s pension portal. The portal provides 1.5 million AZL pension participants with real-time insight into their pension accrual while allowing plan participants to more easily make changes to their account. Overall, the new app allows AZL to better adhere to all government regulations and ensures smooth and transparent communication between AZL and pension plan participants. The innovative application underscores the transformative capabilities Mendix is able to provide financial services companies.
AZL manages the administration of numerous pension funds, takes care of communication with participants, and provides legal and actuarial advice. In recent years, the call for more transparency and more personalized pensions has become increasingly loud. “It’s no longer sufficient to send an annual letter with information that no one understands. Pension participants want to be in the driver’s seat and know at all times what is in their pension fund and what to expect from it,” says Edward Heijkers, CIO at AZL. “Every company is becoming a software company, as we have seen for quite some time in the banking world, where customers manage all their banking affairs via an app. AZL wants to offer a similar experience for pension participants.”
Fifty Dutch pension funds, each with its own arrangements and conditions, are connected to the central pension administration system at AZL developed in Oracle PL/SQL. Every change, whether legal or personal, is processed in this system. On top of this system of record, a team from AZL, together with Mendix partner Bizzomate, used the Mendix low-code platform to develop a participant portal. Low-code is a visual development approach to application development that allows developers with different levels of experience to create applications for web and mobile, using drag-and-drop components and model-driven logic through a graphical user interface.
More transparency and efficiency
The participant portal is first and foremost a customer-friendly way to inform participants about their pensions. A participant logs in with his DigID (an online ID that allows Dutch residents to access government services and websites). After logging in via the web or mobile application, the participant can upload all kinds of documents that are directly processed in the back-end. The application then calculates specific pension scenarios and presents the results in just a flash. This is extraordinary as it takes massive amounts of computing power to make this happen.
In addition, the digitization of processes and the self-service functions within the portal ensure more efficiency for the employees of AZL. Before the pension planner was put into use, a team of four people worked full-time on individual pension calculations. Now that participants make these calculations themselves and receive answers to the most frequently asked questions via self-service, the traditional question-answer relationship is disappearing. AZL employees are given a more customer-supporting role: They help participants using the portal and explain anything that is unclear.
A new way of working
One of the biggest challenges in developing the participant portal was learning a new way of working. “Before working with the Mendix low-code platform, we needed extreme computing power to correctly calculate everything to three decimal places, and we couldn’t get a software solution to production quickly. By developing with low-code and the wide array of possibilities offered by the Mendix platform, we are now able to quickly deliver apps for our customers that meet our requirements,” says Heijkers.
Marc Gelissen, CEO at Bizzomate, is impressed with AZL’s digital progress. “You can compare different pension scenarios from the comfort of your armchair in a portal that will eventually become available to almost 1.5 million people. By using low-code and adapting to an agile working method, AZL has made significant steps in their digital transformation: from a sound administration office to a digital service provider for pension funds, employers, and participants.”
Pension fund ING is the first to go live
The portal is set up generically but can be used by multiple clients. So there is no need to develop fifty separate portals for each individual fund. AZL can, for example, adjust the front-end for each fund themselves, so that the pension participant logs in with the look and feel known to them. The first pension planner portal that will go live is for ING. “Awareness and offering clarity to our pension fund participants about their pension scheme are very important to us. Participants want to know the choices they have for their retirement and the financial impact each choice has. The participant portal, based on a high digital standard, is very user-friendly and a valuable addition to our pension services and communication,” says Anoeshka Sankatsing, heading this project for pension fund ING.
Gert van der Leij, external project manager at pension fund ING, who has years of experience in this field, adds: “Once participants have made their choices, they can directly proceed to the next step and apply their pension plan to the pension fund. The portal is a result of strong cooperation between all parties involved to translate the requirements and wishes of the pension funds and their participants and AZL.”
Rob Versluis, customer success manager at Mendix, says, “Mendix is proud of the fact that we can help a renowned organization like AZL develop applications that don’t compromise the accuracy and robustness of the service and at the same time contributes to more efficient processes for the organization and a better customer experience for the pension participant.”
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In a pandemic-disrupted world, software is the new lifeblood of our daily lives and the connective tissue holding together the global economy. However, traditional software development takes far too long and very often fails to deliver the results business needs and users love. Even prior to COVID-19 there were simply not enough professional software developers in the world to build all the software currently required. The global pandemic has accelerated and exacerbated what was already a software and business crisis. Enter low-code software development. Low-code from Mendix is a powerful enterprise-grade visual development approach empowering citizen and professional developers to make cloud-native applications more than 10X faster for web and mobile using drag-and-drop components and model-driven logic – all through an intuitive graphical user interface.
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