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The Austrian "3 Banken Gruppe" uses TABEX

3BEG and TABEX - a Success Story

The collaboration of the “3 Banken EDV Gesellschaft m.b.H (3BEG)” and “BOI GmbH” is a success story that began more than three decades ago.

1979 marked the beginning of a cooperation that is still going strong. The joint idea of the former “Oberbank AG” and BOI was to develop a flexible, high-performance table access system for the regional bank. That idea was the starting point for the development of TABEX.

TABEX was developed for table access within mainframe environments. Many requirements of the “Oberbank AG” were taken into account in the design and implementation of TABEX. Through close collaboration, a tailor-made product was developed for fast table access and for the maintenance of parameter and control data.

The “Oberbank AG” is now part of the “3 Banken Gruppe”. Seit 1991 the “3 Banken- EDV Gesellschaft m.b.H. (3BEG)” has been the Group’s IT service provider.

The close cooperation between 3BEG and BOI has continued steadily over the years, with 3BEG’s requirements being implemented in TABEX successor products. Today, BOI offers with the product family TABEX/4 a crossplatform, auditable table-maintenance and table–access system that can be used for all major relational databases.

How well TABEX supports the business processes of 3BEG can be seen in the degree of utilization of TABEX/4. For 3BEG’s daily business processes, TABEX is now indispensable: 99 % of all in-house-developed programs rely on TABEX access, which is to the complete satisfaction of the bank employees. The access amount is at tens of billions on peak days. The use of TABEX means reduced burdens on and costs for the IT department.

„If all software products ran as reliably and smoothly as TABEX, we would have no more worries”, says Robert Fleischer, Head of Systems Engineering and Production 3BEG.

The Beginning

In 1979 the Austrian regional bank Oberbank – Bank of Upper Austria and Salzburg (now part of the “3 Banken Gruppe”) approached the newly
established BOI GmbH with a request to develop a table-access system.

The result was the creation of TABEX. The basic idea of TABEX was to store variable data (socalled parameter data) and key values, such as
interest rates and control data, in read-access tables, rather than encoded in programs. This has significantly reduced program maintenance, since table data stored in this way can be used many times, and can easily be centrally maintained.

A further aim was to transfer responsibility for data maintenance to the operating departments. For this purpose, TABEX had to give assurance that all aspects of safety would be maintained in the online handling of sensitive data.

Through versioning of tables the validity of table versions could be defined. Thus, data in productive operation, such as interest rates, can
be activated time-controlled.

3BEG Today

The Oberbank AG is now part of the “3 Banken Gruppe”, which has approximately 3,700 employees, and operates across Austria and its neighboring countries.

The “3 Banken-EDV Gesellschaft m.b.H (3BEG)” is an IT service provider that operates the data centers of the Austrian “3 Banken Gruppe”. It was founded in 1991 as a 100% subsidiary of the “3 Banken Gruppe” to utilize the synergies of the three banks and centrally manage their IT. Thus, the data centers were merged, and the application development and maintenance of bank applications were centralized and unified.

One of the challenges of unifying the software associated with the pooling the data centers of the three banks was the replacement of VTAS, a virtual table and file management system that had been in use in one of the banks. For this purpose, a VTAS-TABEX adapter was designed by BOI, so that the VTAS functionalities could be replaced by TABEX without costly changes to the program sources.

„The VTAS-TABEX adapter enabled us to immediately switch all VTAS programs to TABEX and then use TABEX as the main system“, says Robert Fleischer, Head of Systems Engineering and Production, 3BEG.

In the fiscal year of 2012, 3BEG had 210 employees, serving a total of 242 branch banks, 1.5 million bank accounts and 5885 terminals. 3BEG ensures the smooth running of nearly 10 million transactions each day.


More than 30 years after its first implementation at the Oberbank AG, TABEX is now indispensable as a strategic product of the “3 Banken Gruppe”. After numerous generations of the product, TABEX/4 is now in use at 3BEG and embedded in their system.

Key figures of TABEX/4 utilization at 3BEG: 

  • Approximately 4,000 TABEX tables are used in banking products.
  •  On peak days, about 250 tables are accessed more than 100 million times each. 
  • A single table can be accessed more than 1 billion times on peak days.

The table access and data maintenance functions of TABEX are used intensively by 3BEG:

High-performance table access:

Logically prepared table data are provided by TABEX for common high-performance access, ensuring that the billions of table accesses that occur each day are secure, fast and error-free.

Fast and secure access to table data such as interest rates is a must in the banking sector. Compared to DB2, TABEX offers a much higher access performance. Therefore, in 3BEG, “readonly tables”, which are accessed very often, are stored as TABEX tables in shared storage, and accessed with TABEX APIs.

Through the integration options for all major relational databases to TABEX, DB2 tables can also benefit from access to TABEX by being loaded via TABEX into the main memory (shared storage). 3BEG uses the TABEX database in addition to the relational database DB2. Depending on requirements, either the DB2 database can be accessed with SQL, or preloaded TABEX tables can be accessed via TABEX APIs. DB2 is mainly used for tables that change periodically, such as control or parameter tables. 3BEG uses approximately 10,000 DB2 tables and 4,000 TABEX tables.

Data maintenance:

TABEX offers a variety of maintenance functions for TABEX and DB2 tables. Maintenance can be carried out via batch processing or via a web-browser interface. TABEX adapts to the needs of the business: different maintenance interfaces can be configured for different clients (multitenancy).

Thanks to its extensive maintenance options for highly sensitive data, 3BEG also uses TABEX for maintaining DB2 tables. Thus, all the tables can be edited with one standardized tool.

The audit compliance in the maintenance of tables with TABEX, regardless of where they are stored, is a definite advantage for 3BEG. The comprehensive logging and documentation of business processes, the flexibly configurable authorization system, the integration of external authorization systems as well as the release procedure, with its principle of dual control, guarantee TABEX full auditability.

„In the banking sector, modern corporate governance and legal provisions place high demands on a table management system. The traceability of all data changes is imperative in this regard. TABEX meets these demands completely“, says Robert Fleischer.

TABEX is also used as a job generator for periodic processes, as an evaluation and monitoring program, and for replicating table data across multiple environments.


When Robert Fleischer was asked which of the benefits of TABEX he most appreciates for 3BEG, he stated: „TABEX is stable in the heterogeneous 3BEG system landscape. The product has been used successfully for decades. The introduction of TABEX resulted in greater transparency for our company`s processes, which led to a significant reduction in the error rate, and thus to savings in maintenance and monitoring.

The instance concept available through TABEX, allows convenient management of many different tables, resulting in significant improvement of administrative processes of cross-client tables. At 3BEG, 20 environments are in use; four of which are in productive use, the rest are used for development and testing.”

Joost Meuwissen, TABEX expert at 3BEG, adds, that staffing requirements for the care of TABEX remain quite manageable, despite the immense importance of TABEX for 3BEG, “The maintenance of all TABEX/4 installations is carried out centrally by 3BEG. Currently, two system administrators manage the entire operation of TABEX over two to three days each per month“.

For 3BEG, good support is a must. „We are extremely pleased with the professional support of BOI and its short response times,” confirmed Robert Fleischer and his staff.

Since TABEX is constantly being developed and adjusted to the needs of the market (hardware, operating systems, database systems), 3BEG can be sure that TABEX will meet all future requirements and will provide efficient solutions.

Future Plans

BOI has begun to expand the table access and maintenance functions using Java. On the one hand, tables that are stored centrally in TABEX or relational databases can now be accessed directly via Java. On the other hand, these tables can be directly maintained with Java programs. In addition, the automatic replication of table contents across platforms for high-performance Java access, e.g., in web applications, is currently being implemented.

“Java for TABEX” is also of interest for 3BEG, providing tables as Java objects for read and write access.

„If we decide in the future for “Java for TABEX”, one thing is clear for us: The implementation would – as in the past – be made in close cooperation with BOI“, says Robert Fleischer. Because one thing about BOI is particularly appreciated by the 3BEG staff: The good and expert support from the software engineers that have developed TABEX and know the product down to the smallest detail.


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