One Place 2016 | The Evolution of Benefits Management

CEO Shawn Jenkins illustrates how Benefitfocus continues to advance its benefits management platform by adding value through new products and extensible ecosystem.



As we begin our journey of product announcements here this morning, I'd like to start with where the company started and remind myself and our team about our original, big idea, putting all your benefits in one place. One of our first customers was Sanders Brothers Construction. Really proud to announce that 16 years later, Sanders Brothers is still a great customer, still using the Benefitfocus platform. They're a paving company in South Carolina.
What we built for Sanders Brothers was our early enrollment application. Sanders Brothers had one health insurance company and one payroll vendor. Sometimes we long for the simplicity of those days. This is what the application looked like back then: one nice database, probably about four tables in there, and one enrollment application across the top. It was a fun beginning. When more customers came and more insurance carriers came, we began to see a whole host of data exchange connections, partners to work with, our voluntary insurance providers, pet insurance health, our HR systems that we now integrate within payroll systems. Our engineering team has worked so hard and so thoughtful to organize these data-exchange connections. I'm proud to announce that we now have over 1,500 production data-exchange connections on the Benefitfocus platform. It's a huge number.
Of course, as the data exchange has grown, the applications stack of the platform has significantly grown. A whole sophisticated layer of data-exchange technology has been built, teams that manage the data exchange. As we walked through the journey over the last 10 or 15 years, you can see the expansion of the Benefitfocus platform. We've added a whole series of power-user capabilities, the benefits administrator role so you can run reports and get access to your information, compliance that's starting with hip bone [SP] and now, the Affordable Care Act is a huge theme. The technology stack has really been advancing with the industry.
About five or six years ago, a big leap-forward took place in our minds and we began to refer to the employee, as a consumer. We built a marketplace layer with a shopping cart, people are now building private exchanges on the Benefitfocus platform. You see this reporting engine in analytics that was born a few years ago so we can really study the analytics and get great reports. Then that database layer has really become quite sophisticated. No longer is it a single relational database. We refer to it as the Benefitfocus data cloud. It's a whole host of databases. It's unstructured data in a Hadoop infrastructure, and it's allowing us to really make the insights at an accelerating pace.
A further big leap that happened about five years ago was the benefit-focused API, and we introduced a formal ecosystem. We said, "Do you know these data exchange partnerships are fantastic and we're fine-tuning them? Every time we build one, each new employer can use it? What we want to do is begin to help these great benefits companies make their products available, communicate them in a new way, sell them, have them purchased by individuals. How could we weave specific partnerships directly into the user experience, make rating much simpler, compliance administration, partnerships, and of course, on the data exchange?" Ecosystem has really gotten powerful, and you can see it here from the booths in the Expo hall, just a tremendous ecosystem that benefit-focused that's grown up.
Together, I think in 2016, something significant has happened. I think that we've accomplished together as a community, the engineering team, the customers, the partners, and I think the stack, the platform, has really grown up. Now, how I would refer to it is really an Enterprise Benefits Management Platform.
It's kind of no longer sufficient to have a payroll add-on module that's secondary, or a consulting company is trying to do a bunch of other things and build one of these on the side, maybe individually for each customer. Even the PER add-on modules are not keeping pace with the level of sophistication and benefits and voluntary programs, and the type of wellness programs. The Enterprise Benefits Management platform, I think, has arrived and I think we represent that in the Benefitfocus customer community. We're proud of the work that we've done together on the Benefitfocus platform together.
Inside the stack, if you will, inside the Enterprise Benefits Management Platform, we organize the capability in three main ways. One is what we referred to as the core functionality. This is absolutely required. You've got to have great communication capability, enrollment and all the eligibility. A mobile app is supremely important in the administration and compliance, but we don't want to stop there. We want to continue to evolve and extend the platform in a thoughtful, well-designed way. We've got a series of expanded value products that we offer, core and advanced analytics for the benefits store, ACA Management Reporting. These are all the kind of things that you can purchase from Benefitfocus that just naturally extend the value and help you unlock the value of the benefits that you have.
Then this idea of the ecosystem. I think if you stopped there without the ecosystem, you'd be really missing an opportunity to let these new products flow into your communication in the way you manage your benefits, your company. So, we've developed an incredible team that manages our ecosystem. We're tightly integrated with more and more HCM systems and payroll systems now in a thoughtful way, compliance administration, partners that can help provide their services and offerings directly on the Benefitfocus platform.
If we were having lunch and I was explaining to you Benefitfocus and what we do, I'd probably pull out a napkin somewhere along the way and draw something like this. I'd say, "Here, we've got this core technology that we built over the 10 to 15 years, and inside of it, you can enroll in all your benefits and you get this great communication capability. It's the best in the world. It's enterprise-class, it handles incredible volumes of 39 million enrollment transactions in 90 days. But we didn't stop there, we add to that this great ability of thoughtful expanded value products that we build at Benefitfocus. And then we didn't stop there, we continued to extend that in the ecosystem." When you put all that together, you get back to this idea of the Benefitfocus platform, the enterprise-class platform that we've built together. This shows the significant momentum that we have together and we really appreciate all the customer community that's helped us move it this far.