VAK, i.e. the pension equalization fund of the municipal associations in Schleswig-Holstein, is the service provider for municipalities and municipal institutions for the areas of civil servant pensions, aid fund, remuneration fund (salary/remuneration) and many more. Especially the area "Bezügekasse" requires a well-functioning and smooth exchange of information with the personnel departments of its members (cities, municipalities, offices, etc.).
For years, VAK's "Remuneration Fund" was characterized by extensive and, above all, paper-based processes. Numerous types of reports, i.e. forms that have to be filled out and sent by the members for the calculation and application for the remuneration of their employees, were submitted via the classic channels: by mail, by fax or scanned in by e-mail. As a result, both the distribution to the relevant clerks and the processing were just as manual and time-consuming as the follow-up communication with the members. A circumstance that was not particularly convenient or future-proof for VAK and its customers. The entry into force of the Online Access Act (OZG) for municipalities further increased the need for action.
After intensive research, VAK commissioned SITEFORUM at the end of 2018 to implement a member / customer portal that would make the rigid and complex processes convenient and faster for members and clerks. In addition, since all messages require a signature, the use of a digital signature had to be implemented. The solution also needed to be not only reliable but, most importantly, secure. Attributes that SITEFORUM was already able to impressively prove in a similar customer portal for the "VBL" (Versorgungsanstalt des Bundes und der Länder).
SITEFORUM initially set up a closed customer portal based on the digitization platform: VAKdirekt. Secure access is guaranteed via a so-called triple opt-in procedure. All previous paper-based notification types were transferred to digital forms with the help of the SITEFORUM Form Builder in order to make the application or notification process as convenient as possible. Afterwards, members always have an overview of the respective processing status. The digital signature could also be integrated into the corresponding processes.
Subsequently, a dashboard was developed that automatically handles the intelligent distribution of notifications to the responsible VAK clerks. Additional digital workflows help to process the notifications efficiently. In order to compensate for staff absences (absenteeism, vacation, etc.), a substitute module was also implemented.
Of course, the high security and data protection requirements for the permanent operation of the solution were also met.
Since the launch of the customer portal "VAKdirekt" in August 2019, almost 100% of the reports to the pay office are now made digitally via the SITEFORUM-based solution. In figures: approx. 6,000 notifications per month. The postal route has since become history. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the effect of digitizing the application process was clearly noticeable, as all notifications could be processed as usual without a physical presence in the office (mail room, clerk). A point that was particularly positive for the customers (members).
VAK is now planning to implement further projects such as the connection of the eFile and the addition of further specialist areas together with SITEFORUM.