The future of digitization

Enhancing customer relationships

Increasing process effciency through digitization with EASY
at the state bank of Baden-Württemberg

Video in german only.

The state bank (Landesbank Baden-Württemberg – LBBW) is a medium-sized universal bank with headquarters in Stuttgart. LBBW was founded in 1999 and, together with numerous predecessor institutions, looks back on more than 200 years of corporate history.

More than 10,000 employees work at 150 nationwide and 18 international locations – among them New York and Singapore. With its high num­ber of employees and total assets of EUR 571 billion in 2018, LBBW is one of the largest German banks. As a universal bank, LBBW serves all customer groups with a comprehensive range of services. LBBW‘s key services include commercial and private financing, as well as asset, cash, and risk management. LBBW acts as a strong partner for SMEs, listed groups, institutional customers, savings banks and private cus­tomers. Machines and services are produced, real estate is built, SMEs and major corporations finance themselves and solar parks generate green electricity with LBBW‘s help.

Digitization is one of the main pillars of LBBW‘s strategy, alongside agil­ity and sustainability. The big players in the industry are backing digital transformation – sooner or later every competitor will have to follow suit. Companies that miss the boat must expect to lose valuable custom­ers to competitors with better digital experiences.

Private customers make up the bulk of LBBW‘s customer in terms of quantity. But it is the business customers who make the Landesbank‘s business possible in the first place. To provide even better support to its most important cus­tomers in the future, LBBW is pursuing the front-to-back digitization of its business processes – quickly, cost-effi­ciently, and always customer-focused.

Further project information

LBBW‘s corporate customers often wish to use the Landesbank‘s services to suit their own preferences. An advantageous position that unfortunately does not sustain itself automatically. Customers expect more flexibility and convenience in their interaction with service providers ev­ery year. It is increasingly becoming a matter of course for providers to offer their customers different access chan­nels for interaction. How does LBBW plan to meet this challenge?

The answer is with a centralized online portal with various web applications, each perfectly tailored to the customer‘s individual needs. The portal serves as a central entry point for LBBW‘s business customers.

The new LBBW Corporates Portal will provide customers with all the digital services they need for their work in the long term. Existing legacy applications are usually the ba­sis for the features being introduced.

These different systems that have existed at LBBW for many years have been integrated into the same software framework and linked to one another. The new LBBW por­tal‘s clear user interface combines the applications im­plemented in this way. Customers can access the entire range of applications relevant to them with a single login. Each application is just a few clicks away from the next, but still runs completely independently. This ensures a better overview and makes it easier to get used to the system. De­manding corporate customers expect this kind of quality of use, as this is the only way to make their work processes as efficient as possible. Choosing the ideal service provider is decided by such details, among other things. A half-heart­ed step towards digital transformation is therefore not enough.

The LBBW Corporates Portal was launched publicly with the first integrated app during the course of 2019. By spring 2020, the number of integrated apps had already risen to four – more are in development.

But with which features does one start such a multifaceted project? What are the most important applications that customers want? To find out, LBBW entered into direct dialogue with the people who would eventually use the portal. What content and features do corporate customers want for the LBBW Corporates Portal?

The four available applications are based on the direct needs of customers and already serve a wide range of different requirements and services. The first applica­tion is used to manage guarantee credits. These are the granting of sureties, guarantees, and similar liabilities for customers by LBBW. Customers can now manage their guarantees for more security in transactions even more easily with the new app. The other applications work in a similar way. They are used, among other things, to man­age company credit cards or to access confirmations of business volume.

Now customers can switch between applications for guar­antee credits or corporate credit cards in no time at all. The user interface had to be designed as intuitively as pos­sible to ensure that users have a perfect overview when using these different features. The LBBW Corporates Por­tal‘s scope of services will continue to grow in the long term. This is a big plus for major customers who want to make full use of the platform. But what if individual cus­tomers are only interested in individual services?

Even the most elegant user interface suffers as soon as elements become irrelevant for individual users. For this reason, customers have the option of configuring their individual LBBW portal to suit their needs. A certain cus­tomer is not interested in guarantee credits? Then this complete application can be easily hidden and shown as desired. Certain procedures have to be carried out almost daily and are therefore particularly important? Then these important features can be highlighted and placed center stage. The portal‘s modular structure allows the focus to be placed on things that interest customers most.

In the past, large teams in companies often suffered from the problem of not being able to coordinate complex tasks perfectly. Digitization also offers the solution to this dilemma: The LBBW portal‘s predefined workflows simplify numerous pro­cesses such as the creation and administration of loans. Documents relevant to business, such as confirmations of business volume, can be ordered at the push of a button; they are then delivered in analogue or digital form, depending on the customer‘s requirements – even directly to the appropriate addressees, such as auditors or tax consultants.

As a central hub, a digital platform lifts all participants to the same level of a project. Working with outdated information is a thing of the past. The fact that everything is in one place means that there is no searching around, which was part of everyday life just a few years ago.

For corporate credit cards, for example, this means the centralized management of payments and statements: All credit cards that are settled through the company account can be viewed at a glance on the LBBW portal. For example, the order limits for individual credit cards can be processed centrally without any problems, while employees are carrying them with them on the other side of the world.

Total assets 0 Billion €
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With the new LBBW portal, we are offering our users a flexible digital service that meets the work practices of the future. Current trends are moving in a clearly visible and consistent direction: Digital solutions that also offer the widest possible range of services for mobile use – no matter where, no matter when. The customer portal created with EASY provides exactly these features in one sing­le all-inclusive package. The resulting increase in flexibility and ease of use boosts customer demand; at the same time, the increased efficiency reduces LBBW‘s pro­cessing time. Companies must expand their digital infrastructure in good time with a focus on the future. This is the only way they can permanently assert themselves in a national and international competitive environment. With EASY, we see ourselves as well equipped for this challenge.“

Thomas Löffler
IT Manager Commercial Platform of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW)

Such advantages not only make work for customers easier and less prone to errors, but also faster: Thanks to the efficiency of the new LBBW portal, the pro­cessing time for applications for guarantee credits, for example, was reduced from several weeks to just a few days. Confirmations of business volume can often be processed instantly instead of over several months – sometimes even in real time.

Customers usually feel most comfortable in environments they are already famil­iar with. To make it easier for such customers to switch to LBBW‘s products and services, the customer portal‘s processes and features can be integrated into corporate customers‘ existing applications via an interface (API). This enables LBBW to integrate its services even more seamlessly into customers‘ working environments.

APIs also simplify the distribution of products. LBBW offers its services specifi­cally via APIs on digital marketplaces – i.e., where many business customers are already present and familiar. Making the decision to try out LBBW‘s new services without any significant expense easier. All these different features of the new digital infrastructure had to be coordinated in the best possible way.

The digital transformation is a race in which every elapsed month is one too many. Nevertheless, the quality of the end products must not suffer by taking a hasty approach to these challenges. Customers will publicly express their displeasure about inadequate services if they have a bad experience with a company more than ever before. So how do you combine rapid progress with high product quality and stability?

Right at the start of their project, it was clear to LBBW: New and existing apps would have to be easily and quickly integrated into the front-end of the planned portal; a central provider would have to take care of all the necessary steps for ideal coordination. EASY ApiOmat team‘s rich experience with microservices, modular app structures and agile development processes makes it the perfect partner to optimize the LBBW portal.

The long-term compatibility of the individual applications with each other is often a problem factor on a platform with many different features. If different teams are working on different components, individual features in the overall structure may ultimately not harmonize with each other.

One advantage of cooperating with EASY is that all services and future upgrades come from one single source. This means that perfect compatibility of the individ­ual components is guaranteed in the long term – a huge simplification of LBBW‘s digital infrastructure.

LBBW‘s new customer portal offers a future-looking and smooth user experience. According to Thomas Löffler, IT manager for LBBW‘s Com­mercial platform, LBBW is extremely satisfied with the current status of the project and the collaboration with EASY. In addition to the existing features, the result of the collaboration is a worthwhile basic investment that offers even more exciting opportunities for expansion. Among other things, the provision of further LBBW services via API is planned for the future. LBBW praises the agile way the EASY ApiOmat team works; the team prioritized the rapid implementation of goals instead of evaluating for a long time.

The joint LBBW and EASY initiative had not been completed at that time. According to Thomas Löffler, further expansion of the collaboration is possible at any time to further optimize the LBBW customer portal‘s user experience. LBBW is planning to continue to deliver faster and more efficiently in the future.

Business Value
  • Enhancing customer relationships in the corporate customer business through digital offerings to com­plement personal customer care
  • Increasing process efficiency through digitization
  • Creating business opportunities through cross-selling (multi-experience offering in the portal) and presence on digital marketplaces
  • Providing a digital offering that focuses on the needs of corporate customers, containing information, products and services around the clock (24/7)
  • A noticeable increase in process efficiency through Front2Back process digitization for customers and the bank
  • Meeting the growing demands for flexibility and convenience via digital channels
  • Continuous improvement of time-to-market and costs in the development and operation of apps
  • Modular structure: Apps in the customer portal can be configured to meet the specific needs of the user
  • Centralized and standardized user management with Single Sign-On
  • A platform for the development and operation of apps
  • APIs for using the services through different channels
  • Agile development

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