The Federal Employment Agency (BA) computes Hartz IV data sets of all service recipients in Germany with the help of ALLEGRO software. This process is compliant with the complex regulations mentioned in “Sozialgesetzbuch II.” Updated versions of the software are constantly updated to include the changes in rules. Any error during updating and developing the software can not only damage the image of BA but can also threaten the existence of many service recipients. In order to avoid this, BA examines new software versions at each development stage (instead of examining new versions at the end of a development cycle), identifies errors well in advance, and rectifies them immediately. Since the development, test, and integration environment of ALLEGRO consists of several hundreds of different systems, this target is achieved only through the automation of the delivery process in different test environments.
Capgemini has set up a Continuous Delivery Platform together with BA on the basis of well-established and very reliable open-source products. The platform automates the delivery process of the new software in various environments and reduces the testing effort and errors.
The Continuous Delivery Platform ensures that the development and testing environments are updated automatically and continually with more than 10,000 updates in the delivery cycle of around four months. This reduces lead time and accelerates software development. New software versions are set up for implementation in the shortest time and are delivered later when required. The risks of implementation have been reduced significantly through the high level of automation, the large number of software implementations, and the experience gained through it. Due to the size and complexity of the system and also due to the high need for coordination with other areas, Capgemini established an Agile collaboration approach for the development of ALLEGRO. Continuous Delivery is an important building block of this method, which utilizes closely synchronized development across several areas. The Continuous Delivery Platform ensures that the infrastructure of BA can be operated with a version of ALLEGRO, not only during the development process, but also after that, in an efficient, simple, and secure manner. In this way, the development, test, and rollout teams can regularly obtain feedback from the technical departments. This helps improve the quality of the product and satisfaction of the technical departments and the configuration options are expanded. There are no license costs as an open-source solution is used and the development is ensured due to a large number of end-users and developers.
How BA and Capgemini Worked Together
BA and Capgemini started working together since 2009 for the development of ALLEGRO. The core team of ALLEGRO consists of four groups, which are responsible for the technical conception, development, tests, and rollout, respectively. These groups comprise employees of BA as well as Capgemini. “The Federal Employment Agency has successfully implemented a huge and complex system (Unikat) in collaboration with Capgemini. ALLEGRO is a core system, which more than 300 jobcenters work with. It was crucial that the system develops in releases right from the beginning and also that it could be implemented at a later point of time. In this way, the operations and initial development could be managed parallely for 18 months. A further factor for success was the transparent collaboration between the technical side and Java development. Employees with varied qualifications and experience and, also to a certain extent, with very different organizational cultures had to work together smoothly and in a very target-oriented manner. On the one hand, this was possible as employees on both sides could identify themselves with the tasks and project targets. Also on the other hand it would have been impossible without the personal efforts and cooperation of all those involved. The result speaks for itself: high satisfaction level and an absolute value-add in the day-to-day work of more than 35,000 users” says Ulrich Völkoi, Divisional Head ITP1 – IT strategy, and Project Head, ALLEGRO.