As part of the program DSM Digital Sales and Marketing GEFA - Société Générale Equipement Finance Germany it was decided in 2014 to provide an online platform for the wholesale financing. The GEO - GEFA EKF Online, the first application of GEFA's digitization initiative is put into operation. It is the first software development project in which the entire development of the online services platform has been carried out by the Societe Generale Global Solution Center (SG GSC) in Bangalore, India.
The purchase financing is a product of GEFA, that gives a line of credit to dealers from different industries , which serves for the pre-financing or the purchase of new or used objects. The objects are replaced after a sale to the end customer and the claims have been settled.
Background of the decision for the development of GEO was that the previous approach of the administration and management of the objects in the inventory finance was no longer marketable and competitive. The processes for registering or replacement of objects in the credit line were paper-based for the most part. For example, the Bookings will have been requested by fax, manually entered into the backend system FinanceIT and then given to Payments.
The digital support of the processes - for the customer and for the Back Office - was at the forefront of development.
The project GEO - GEFA EKF ONLINE was started with a process analysis. All processes in the back office and in sales were recorded. The aim was to find out which processes are currently used to represent the actual situation. In parallel, interviews and workshops were conducted with participating sales units, the back office processing and particularly with distributors and customers of GEFA . In this phase, it was determined what all the participants boyh want and needfrom a modern and process-oriented online platform.
This was followed by a modeling of the target process. In this phase, the basis for the later development of the front end was laid down. Here the procedures for modifications to the FinanceIT system, which has been in operation since 2007, were also planned and designed. This system, based on a state-of-the-art service-oriented architecture (SOA) has also been individual development by S&N for GEFA. The modeling was performed essentially by GEFA and S&N business analysts and architects. The business analysts of SG GSC (India) were involved in the peripherals of the modeling phase, so that a first impression of the requirements already fulfilled could arise. The target processes were then adopted jointly by the stakeholders from sales and management.
In addition to the Germany-based project team consisting of GEFA and S&N, the development has now been launched by the employees of SG GSC. For this was a kick-off event held in Germany, in which even the Indian project management and Indian business analysts were present.
S&N works in cooperation with GEFA already for several years on different service projects together with the SG GSC. The experience of this cooperation is extremely important for the next project, which provides for a strong involvement of the SG GSC.
One of the key findings was that a personal and collaborative relationship between the teams in Germany and in India has to be built. This can be termed as one of the key success factors for offshore projects. Especially in cooperation with Indian offshoring partners mutual acceptance and understanding of the different cultural aspects play a decisive role.
The first phase of development was characterized by an intensive knowledge transfer, so that the business analysts of SG GSC have received a deep insight into the business processes of the purchase financing. The aim was that Indian developers get an explanation from the local business analysts of the specifications to be able to implement them accordingly.
The development phase was carried out with the agile method Scrum. Accordingly, after the knowledge transfer phase, the specifications have been documented so that a common understanding has arisen both on the German as well as on the Indian side. The specifications were adopted together in an acceptance process with the help of project management tools Redmine.
In a regular Sprint planning - the Sprint content that should be developed was determined - taking into account the developer capacities in SG GSC and in the German team. This process is an integral part of the jointly developed Methodology "MORE - Management of Specification Engineering". by GEFA, the s-lab, the University of Paderborn and S&N
The findings from the MORE Project serve as the basis and as a methodology for future development projects with offshore service providers. S&N has introduced itself here decisively together with the cooperation partner s- lab, because it will be an important tool for controlling and project management with off- or nearshore partners in the future.
The online platform itself was developed with Liferay. Technically it is strategically set with a state-of-the-art technology. The choice fell against the background of the use of open source components, which for years have been part of GEFA's technical portfolio. The system design was established jointly with the Indian architects.
After the initial web design of the application, the first results were soon produced in the Sprints, which were tested for the correctness in a constant process of quality assurance. Here also the MORE methodology was used that is contained by quality management for agile projects Already in the development phase, results were presented in a so-called friendly user phase to customers and dealers. Feedback was continuously gathered from the market and the sales department This selective correction of the chosen strategy resulted in the development of unctions which best meet the needs of end users while avoiding the emergence of features not required by the market.
An essential part of the project work was the constant communication between the German and the Indian team. In order to facilitate this, communicative control processes were set up which were supported by video conferencing or WebEx meetings.
Communication between partners is the essential ingredient in working with offshore partners. Here too, arrangements should be made on equal terms - always remaining aware of and taking into consideration cultural differences in the methods of communication. GEFA and S&N invested in intercultural training prior to the project, . Here - in relation to the Indian culture - valuable input was given, which has proven to be very helpful in the daily cooperation. The project teams were so much better in avoiding the "traps", which often arise in this constellation.
Overall, the project has been taken productively after a running time of approximately 12 months. For dealers and customers who use the wholesale financing of GEFA, workflows have been made far easier with the new GEO. The online platform now offers space for additional comfort and customer loyalty as well as a reduction in manual activities. Moreover, a significant cost reduction is achieved through the elimination of daily commuting of account statements or other reports that are available now easily and comfortably online,
The "MORE" project
The GEFA Gesellschaft für Absatzfinanzierung mbH is a long-standing partner, that S&N not only develops individual software for different business sectors, but also more development projects in cooperation with national (onshore) and international (offshore) service providers. In particular, the cooperation with offshore service providers needs a particular control of the software lifecycle starting from the specification to a productive acquisition.
As part of the MORE project (Management of Requirement Engineering) in cooperation with the s-lab - Software Quality Lab of the University of Paderborn - a professional and standardized quality management concept for the control of onshore and offshore projects in the GEFA was developed based on agile software development methods. This concept enables a holistic view of the quality of projects. It standardizes the cooperation of GEFA IT services with national and international partners and enables comparability of the projects. The quality management concept focuses in particular
- on the identification and documentation of specifications,
- the selection and planning of specifications for agile development cycles,
- the definition and monitoring of Agile development and testing activities,
- the standardization of reporting and KPI's of onshore and offshore projects
The MORE-quality management concept has been used in several GEFA projects and has greatly contributed to the quality improvement and the comparability of the projects.