Fondi Pensione (Pension Fund .NET)
Solution developed by Accenture, Avanade and Microsoft
By using the development tools of the new Microsoft Visual Studio.NET suite, leveraging
Avanade’s ACA .NET framework, Accenture have developed powerful new software for the
administration of pension schemes.
Accenture’s decision to update and improve the administrative software used in the management
of its own clients’ pension funds led it to create a new solution integrating the management of
Accenture funds with that of other company pension funds.
“Pension funds arranged by category are becoming the cornerstone of integrated pensions and
are the subject of new legislative and financial initiatives. For this reason, Accenture has decided
to develop an IT solution to satisfy not just the fund management requirements of client
companies, but also to supply a valid product offering for companies that operate pension fund
management services as well as companies which offer pension schemes to their employees”,
said Gianluca Marcellino of Accenture underlining the reasons why Accenture decided to invest in
new IT infrastructures for pension fund management.
The administration involved in dealing with pension schemes is a growing concern for many
Italian companies. This is due to the proposed revision of integrated pension schemes and
pension funds currently under discussion. During the analysis phase, Accenture paid particular
attention to setting out clearly all the parties involved in the management of pension funds and
hoe those parties could most efficiently work together. In particular, Accenture specialists focused
their analysis on five principle participants: the subscriber, the subscriber’s employer, the fund
manager, the supplier of administrative services to the fund (and indirectly to the company or to
the subscriber), and the banks who make the investments.
Accenture immediately recognised that the solution must incorporate functional tools to match the
new strategies being used by fund managers. For example, the ability to modify multi-fund
investments for subscribers was emerging as a critical requirement.
There was another important point that the Accenture team developing the business solution had
to keep in mind – while the company was responsible for making sure the process was initiated
correctly, it was merely an intermediary between the subscriber and the pension fund. It was
therefore able to draw indirect benefits only. For this reason, Accenture decided that it needed to
develop a low-cost solution that would be easily scaleable and adaptable to many IT contexts,
which would allow companies to play their own part in the process but with limited exposure and
minimum risk of errors or delays.
The solution was developed by Accenture in collaboration with Avanade using the Microsoft.NET
platform development tools. This considerably shortened the development time and also allowed
for a range of different methods of access to the system in the future - for example via web or
mobile devices. And this could be achieved with minimum intervention to the core of the
The solution facilitates easy management of information relating to the all the participants who
contribute to the administrative process: the subscribers, their employers, the fund managers,
and the banks that make the investments.
By using specific functions, different participants can create and keep up-to-date the information
they need given their role in the pension fund administration process. In particular, the fund
subscribers can connect online and check and modify data relating to their pensions.
The company keeps account of the instalments made by the subscriber to the pension fund.
These instalments can change depending on the subscriber’s situation within the company, or
based on instructions given by the subscriber, and based on changes made to the fund by the
service administrators – depending on the rules governing the fund.
Verification of Credit Transfers and Investments
The solution includes a series of procedures which automatically verify significant credit transfers
and lodgements. Specifically, investors are required to carry out operations as requested by the
contributing subscribers and companies and assign the resulting dividends to the subscribers.
Request and Supply of Pension Funds
The system allows the subscriber and the company to draw from the fund (for example, via
advance payments, transfers and pensions), and the means by which such operations are carried
out can be defined.
Visibility of Information and Multichannels availability
A series of services are available that enable subscribers to check their pension situation. The
processes are automatic and no information relating to the management of the fund is withheld
from the subscriber. The system is flexible as regards how that information is delivered allowing
the employee to check via Internet, fax or telephone.
Pension Funds.Net is an application which can be accessed remotely with any browser. Its
technology infrastructure is based on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft SQL Server
2000, Microsoft BizTalk Server 2000, Microsoft .NET Framework and on Microsoft Internet
Information Services 5.0. As regards the working environment described above, Accenture’s
software architects, along with Avanade have adopted the development tools of Microsoft Visual
Studio.Net combined with ACA.Net (an architectural framework created by Avanade).
“The choice of using the new developing platform of Microsoft Visual Studio.NET has been the
right one”, says Andrea Testarmata, Solution Development Consultant of Avanade. “In particular,
Microsoft’s development technology has enabled us to create in a short space of time an
enterprise application which is both complex and scalable. The simplification of the programming
model of .NET reduces the learning curve and increases developer productivity significantly.”
Another critical component of the solution was ACA.Net, a development tool created by Avanade
that provides a selection of reusable components capable of speeding up the development of
solutions based on a .NET framework. Using ACA .Net also guaranteed that the scalability
required would be achieved.
The architecture of the solution required the following four levels (tiers):
Front End: Based on ASP.NET, this uses components found in ACA.Net (including ACA.Net
State Machine) which ensures the production of high quality design.
Business Process Logic: The events generated by the front end are intercepted by the ACA.Net
State machine. Using configuration information, this passes component control to the process
logic component envisaged for the generated event and determines the transition to the next
state. This effectively separates presentation logic and processing logic (navigation) makes any
future changes easier. It also means that the flow of the application is not interfered with and
future changes and support for additional clients (for example, mobile devices) is made much
Business Entity Logic: This level of the application is made up of components that implement the
application functionality. The formal separation from the process logic level means that these
components can be more easily reused.
Data Access: The data access components enable access to the database independently from
the specific business logic of the application. These components avail of ACA.Net Database
Service which considerably simplifies the programming model by reducing the amount of code
necessary to carry out the most common types of data access operations.
All levels of the application use logging services, auditing, centralised exception management,
and security applications supplied by Avanade ACA.Net.
The .NET Framework and Avanade ACA.Net have produced a management solution for Pension
Funds that is enterprise-wide, reusable, and inexpensive. For this important project Accenture
has taken advantage of Microsoft Visual Studio.NET. And the use of ACA.Net has speeded up
and simplified this process.
A low cost solution
Because Microsoft Visual Studio.NET is so easy to use, Accenture have been able to reduce
development and testing time thereby considerably reducing the cost of implemention. By using
Avanade’s ACA. Net, meant that time and effort was saved and members of the programming
team became fully productive within four weeks.
Microsoft’s high level of technology integration has enabled Accenture to increase management
efficiency when dealing with problems regarding pension funds. The flow of information is
optimised and the solution developed with Microsoft Visual Studio.NET reduces maintenance
time for the implemented system and improves performance.
A platform for itself and for others
Accenture combines technology standards and Microsoft reliability to produce an efficient IT
solution that responds to business demands and is also commercially attractive. The market has
recently shown new interest for private pension management systems.
Accenture is the world's leading management and technology services organization. Through its
network of businesses approach—in which the company enhances its consulting and outsourcing
expertise through alliances, affiliated companies and other capabilities—Accenture delivers
innovations that help clients across all industries quickly realize their visions. Accenture has
75,000 professionals in 47 countries and there are more than 4,000 Accenture professionals in
Avanade is a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture that leverages the Microsoft platform
to deliver enterprise technology solutions. Avanade creates value for its customers by designing,
building, and deploying customized, reliable architectures and scalable infrastructures to increase
profitability, improve speed-to-market, and accelerate growth.
The solution is based on an architecture built around four functioning blocks. The back office is
where the organisation of the whole administrative process takes place. The front end allows
everyone involved in the process, in particular the company and the subscriber, to access the
system via different channels such as Internet, fax and telephone.
Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
Microsoft .NET Framework
Microsoft SQL 2000 Server
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2000
Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.0
The low development costs and the optimisation of the internal administrative processes are only
two of the many advantages that this solution based on Microsoft technology and Avanade’s
particular capabilities can offer. Thanks to the integration of Microsoft’s various technologies, the
Accenture solution to supply fund administration services to its clients and their partners can also
be extended to financial organisations interested in organising their own pension funds.