How 3C Release Manager helped W&W to comply with audit regulations

In today’s word, companies face many challenges. One of them is complying to regulatory requirements that cause an enormous amount of labour effort and cost. We had the pleasure of holding a webinar with one of our customers, Product Manager from W&W Informatik for Clarity Manuel Huber, who presented about how 3C Release Manager has helped his company overcome this challenge and what they benefitted from using the Release Manager in their daily operations.

What should we know about W&W and their relationship with Clarity?  

W&W is a merger of Wüstenrot and Württembergische, a large building society and an insurance company that has over 6.5 million customers and consists of 16 individual companies. They have been using Clarity since 2007 with over 5000 users, most of them active in the system. The usage ranges from employees filling in time reports, to project managers planning a large number of projects using the system. Besides project related administration, Clarity is also used to cover a broader range of tasks to carry out or plan non-project-related activities, such as incidents. 

On average, they carry out between 4 and 6 Clarity releases per year that are always of different sizes, from small releases to really technical version changes. They have also laid the technical foundation for moving towards Modern UI and will soon be taking the first steps there. And here the 3C Release Manager comes into play that will support W&W in order to transport different configurations or views to the different environments, as 3C Release Manager is a deployment automation tool for Clarity.  

Facing with Regulatory Requirements 

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, in short BaFin, ensures the proper functioning, stability and integrity of the German financial system. A few years ago, it issued regulatory requirements so that banks and insurance companies are obliged to prove  

  • Which line of code was transferred to production
  • How this code was tested
  • Where does the requirement come from
  • What is in the requirements
  • Which test cases were there
  • and lastly, which errors occurred in this context and when and with which other components.

Therefore W&W needs to ask themselves the following questions that must be answered by mapping the whole causal chain.  

  • How was IT commissioned?  
  • What is the cause/ origin of the software change?
  • Where were functional and non-functional requirements documented? 
  • How were the requirements/ bug fixes tested?
  • Who tested the requirement/ production bug fixes?
  • Where is the corresponding test evidence (test data, test results) documented for the requirement?
  • How does test coverage compare to the implemented requirements out?
  • What errors were found during the tests, but deliberately not fixed in the software?
  • Where are these errors documented?
  • Where are the acceptances for going live documented?
  • Who carried out the technical acceptance of the software change?
  • Who carried out the go-live?
  • Which software version was tested and later put into production?

The “causal chain” is the sequence of steps that must be taken to ensure that financial data is properly collected, processed and reported in compliance with BaFin regulations. Before 3C Release Manager, W&W needed to document all changes made to their systems in order to comply with these regulations and it was an entirely manual process. They had to create a paper trail that tracked each step in their process, and this method was both time-consuming and prone to errors.  

How It Was Done Previously 

The process started with the requirements gathering, that was then stored in Jira and Confluence. Once the technical concepts have been approved, they then documented what changes they actually have to implement in the tool. This means that they documented again in the Jira:

  • Which technical software components were affected in order to implement this change or this requirement,
  • Which permissions in which security group were set,
  • Which SQL statements were adapted
  • and which lookups were changed.

All this had to be saved for the development, test and production environment. Configuration changes had to be transferred at least twice. Then folders were created on network drives and assigned to the respective releases. There, the XOGs were created by hand at command line level. Then it was gone through again in detail which object and which lookups had changed. These lookups were exported from the development environment to create the XOGs, which in turn were imported for testing.

How 3C Release Manager Helps 

By using 3C Release Manager, W&W is able to automate the process of documenting changes, ensuring that all changes are accurately logged and stored in an easily accessible format.

3C Release Manager enables them to take a snapshot and they can then see almost everything that is happening in this environment later. At the beginning, when they start implementing the requirement, they create a snapshot. Then they carry out all the technical changes that they considered in the concept. Then, when they're done developing, they take another snapshot, and then they compare those two snapshots. The 3C Release Manager gives them exactly the changes that have now been incorporated into this development, and then they can very easily transfer these changes to a deployment package with just a few clicks. In this deployment package, they really only have these changes that affect this requirement. This deployment package can also be easily transferred to test- and production environments. 

This makes it much easier for W&W to comply with BaFin regulations and maintain compliance over time. 3C Release Manager automates the release process by tracking changes made to systems and storing them in a secure database. It also provides real-time notifications when changes are made, so that W&W can be sure that their systems are always up to date and compliant with BaFin regulations. 

What are the advantages of using 3C Release Manager? 

First and foremost, W&W is able to comply with critical regulation in a simple and automated manner.  

Furthermore, they can of course provide audit-proof proof of which individual artifacts, or which individual components went into the production environment with the deployment package and what changes resulted from this. 

And they avoid configuration loss by assembling these deployment packages on development and using the same deployment packages to then transport from test to production. This way they can easily prevent configurations from being lost and as a result they have a strong increase in the quality of their individual releases. 

Next, they were able to significantly reduce the effort involved, on the one hand in creating deployment packages and of course also in the documentation that was required. The 3C Release Manager not only supports them with the 4 to 6 releases per year, but also with the everyday support requests that come in every day via our user helpdesk. If you need to quickly check what's going in relation with XOG, the 3C Release Manager also helps them to be able to answer the tickets more easily and quickly. 

Overall, this creates much better transparency on what has actually gone into production. This means that the team and future employees no longer have to deal with the whole thing at command line level but can use the 3C Release Manager to see which components have changed over which release and can understand it better and get into the topic faster. 

3C Release Manager is continuously developing new features to help companies comply with regulatory requirements and stay ahead of their competition. In addition to tracking changes made to systems, it also provides tools for managing user roles and permissions, as well as auditing system access logs. By using 3C Release Manager, W&W can ensure that their systems remain compliant with BaFin regulations and stay up to date with the latest technology. This will help them remain competitive in their industry and maintain customer trust. 

As Mr Huber said, at W&W, they are very pleased with the results achieved by implementing 3C Release Manager. They have been able to automate the documentation process, ensuring that their data is properly collected, processed and reported in compliance with BaFin regulations. They look forward to seeing what new features 3C Release Manager has in store for them in the future! 


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