Headquartered in Nuremberg, Germany, DATEV eG is Europe’s leading software company and IT service provider dedicated to serving tax consultants, auditors and lawyers as well as their clients. With close to 39,000 members, approximately 6,100 employees and sales of €731 million in 2011, DATEV, which was founded in 1966, supports approx. 30 European service centers making it one of the largest professional IT service providers and software companies in Germany and Europe. DATEV also possesses extensive and ceaselessly growing content-rich information and knowledge databases which its members/ subscribers, customers and employees rely on 24/7. For example, the LEXinform database contains over 450,000 high-quality documents; over 2 million pieces of information are available in the DATEV intranet, and more than 13,000 documents can be accessed from its public Internet site – and these numbers are growing daily.

In 2002, DATEV’s R&D department identified five factors of success for a future-proof information management system: Simple and centralized access to all information systems; homogenous and clearly structured search results; cross-referenceability of information; intelligent processing and aggregation of information; and a flexible IT infrastructure. Following an extensive evaluation and testing phase in 2002, DATEV opted for the Information Access System (IAS) as its company-wide infrastructure technology for intelligent information classification, search and retrieval. In effect, IAS provides the backbone for DATEV’s mission-critical application areas, including its LEXinform knowledge base, Internet and Intranet portals and support services.

IAS can automatically exploit even the largest of data sets stored across numerous databases and enable this data to be searched in a user-friendly way. End-users can display best matching documents almost immediately or can refine their research requests using a variety of different search methods guaranteeing higher levels of intelligence and accuracy. Information can be retrieved from various sources (both internal and external) and displayed according to user authorizations or personalized requirement profiles – down to a specific page. This supports the individual and task-driven search habits of end-users and delivers timely and accurate knowledge-based support for business processes. Net results: DATEV subscribers, members and employees enjoy a better customer experience as intuitive search produces more high-quality and faster “find” results empowering DATEV-data source-dependent knowledge-workers to be more productive.