WALLDORF — Germany’s central and federal state governments have put together an emergency coronavirus grant program worth €50 billion. To deal with the anticipated flood of applications for aid, which are being handled at federal state level, SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced it has deployed a legion of specialists to create a digital application process for the city of Hamburg and its development bank, the Hamburgische Investitions- und Förderbank (IFB Hamburg) — delivering in double-quick time.
With the coronavirus pandemic hitting small businesses, the self-employed and freelancers particularly hard, demand for financial assistance is immense: Hamburg alone expected to receive around 100,000 applications in the first week of the program, which came into effect on March 30. The challenge for the federal states right now is to process applications quickly, securely and accurately — to ensure that money can be paid out and Germany’s economy protected.
“Germany’s federal government has produced an impressive aid package, which will be supplemented by extra budgetary funds in certain states, such as Hamburg,” said Nikolaus Hagl, head of Public Services & Energy at SAP. “Handling what is sure to be a flood of applications for financial assistance is just not possible without the right IT processes.”
To slash processing times, SAP developed a cloud application that lets users apply for emergency aid online — rather than having to first download, then fill out and e-mail PDF forms — and thus eliminates a huge amount of manual work.
Leveraging SAP Cloud Platform, SAP built a Web-based application form for the IFB Hamburg with the security mechanisms required to comply with data privacy laws and to protect the portal from hackers. The next step involves integrating the back-end processes into the system to provide digital support for checks on data validity and on whether applications meet the funding criteria. Within hours of financial aid coming online, nearly 38,000 users had registered on the portal and 16,500 applications had been filed — with portal traffic reaching as much as 200,000 visits per hour. Thanks to the system SAP developed, the IFB Hamburg was able to approve the first batch of applications within 24 hours and provide financial support to those who need it.
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