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Picture of a wet blue umbrella, valantic Case Study Siemens AG

Reimplementation of an IBM Notes Legacy Application for SIGNAL IDUNA

For SIGNAL IDUNA, we have migrated approximately 90 form-based workflows into a web application. Previously, these were based on an IBM Notes database. The trigger was the decision of the SIGNAL IDUNA Group to replace IBM Notes.

THE RESULTS AT A GLANCE

A system arose that…

was realized completely as a Java-based web application.

provided employees with a simple, easy transition to the new world.

generated added value thanks to careful documentation.

was supplemented with a framework application, which will help create forms easily in the future.

Tradition that shapes the future

about the SIGNAL IDUNA Group

The SIGNAL IDUNA Group hearkens back to small health insurance funds that were founded by craftsmen and tradesmen more than 100 years ago in Dortmund and Hamburg. Today, SIGNAL IDUNA offers a full range of insurance and financial services for everyone. This group of unified companies supports assists more than 12 million customers and contracts and collects premiums valued at approximately EUR 5.6 billion.

Background

Replacement of IBM notes, adoption of pure web applications

Previously, SIGNAL IDUNA controlled many processes and operated business applications by using many application forms via Lotus Notes. For example, the processing of HR matters, customer reaction management, and the application for access rights, among others.

IBM Notes had been in use at the customer’s for many years and thus had simply grown old. Required updates to the program system were no longer done regularly in order to avoid inconsistencies.

Due to numerous enhancements and customizations by the user, the original system had a lot of add-ons and attachments, so that maintenance was becoming increasingly complicated and time-consuming. Therefore, another deployment, at least in the medium term was no longer possible.

Furthermore, within the group there was migration to web-based applications in other areas.

Task and framework conditions at a glance

Porting of the SIGNAL IDUNA form center to a web application that is fit for the future

Retention of the existing structures and interfaces to existing programs

Reflection of the previous form structure with simultaneous modernization of the user interfaces

Process

Ice-breaker forms and framework application for a quick start

In order to create a routine implementation quickly, at the beginning of the project we identified ten typical forms and examined their similarities and differences. We redesigned and detailed these so-called ice-breaker forms and coordinated them closely with the client.

With insights gained this way, we developed a framework application. This enabled us to create subsequent forms and associated processes more quickly and easily, in successive waves.

Challenge and solution

Re-engineering of a system that had grown up over the years with rudimentary documentation

Thanks to our deep knowledge of IBM Notes databases and web-based systems, we were in a good position with regard to knowledge of the technology. Nevertheless, it is always a special challenge to migrate existing systems, for each project, each environment, and each customer is unique.

In this project, the challenge was to analyze the existing forms with the program attachments (workflow integration, e-mail dispatch) and the underlying workflows so that they could be implemented sensibly in the target system. There was only rudimentary documentation for the forms and workflows to be replaced since this was a system that had grown up over the years and had been developed by many different people. Therefore, we had to read and trace the code for each form.

We received excellent assistance with the re-engineering from the truly reliable and constructive cooperation with the SIGNAL IDUNA employees. The project team and the specialized departments – who in the end are the power users of the forms, authorizations, and workflows – always worked in goal-oriented fashion and they were friendly with one another. The work atmosphere was open and there was a spirit of compromise.

Special features of the project

State-of-the-art technology with the customary operation and framework for future forms

We worked to create a web application that closely reflected the old system. As the customer requested, we largely retained the interface design. Only basic design elements such as spacing and font sizes were adapted for a more modern, friendly appearance. Changes to previous structures and operating options for users were kept to a minimum. As a result, no special training was required for the new web application despite the conversion to state-of-the-art technology.

In the course of the project, we developed a kind of toolbox for repeated tasks in the various forms, one on which we can rely subsequently (e.g. on the naming dialog, etc.). This also simplifies and accelerates the development of future forms.

Screenshots

Before and after

Screenshots of the Systems at Signal Iduna, valantic Case Study

Summary

A complex project marked by team spirit and cooperation

Implementation was Java-based. Thanks to the use of various state-of-the-art tools that are fit for the future, we were able to implement customer requirements as expected. Each of our team members focused on his or her specialization.

We were surprised by the number of links within the existing system that were possible in the course of the migration and made for some work. Due to close cooperation on the team and with the customer, we were nevertheless able to complete development in target-oriented, efficient fashion.

Thanks to the smooth cooperation, even difficult issues were resolved quickly and to the satisfaction of all. Compromises were made for critical issues, which gave the overall result a boost.

Project management and requirements management was handled by our long-time colleague Andreas Olesch. He was assisted by a heterogeneous 6-person development team, which included experienced architects and young junior staff.

Everyone was able to incorporate their specialties and learn from the strengths of others.

After the project was complete, we were entrusted with the maintenance and enhancement of the form center.

Well-versed with a lot of experience

Why we were selected to handle the project

We have been working for many years:

  • as a consultant on IBM Notes applications and Domino infrastructures.
  • on the analysis of a wide variety of business processes.
  • formulating plans for new solutions and concepts and implementing these.
  • as leaders in the area of realization of web-based solutions.

That is why SIGNAL IDUNA selected valantic for the implementation. With the necessary expertise and personnel structure, valantic is precisely the right company for such migration projects.

Technologies used

JEE | WebSphere | jBPM | Hibernate | Groovy | AngularJS

Your Contact

Bild von Andreas Winter, Business Development IoT and Digitalization bei valantic

Andreas Winter

Business Development IoT and Digitalisation
valantic FSA