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Diversified Benefit Services, Inc.

about

Diversified Benefit Services, Inc. (DBS) is an industry-leading Wisconsin-based third-party administrator (TPA) of tax-advantaged benefit programs. Established in 1987, DBS services clients nationally, with communication and enrollment solutions for FSAs, HRAs, Wellness HRAs, HSAs, COBRA, Tribal Member Benefits, and other customized programs, as well as providing comprehensive plan design and reimbursement strategies.

problem statement

To break down cross-departmental silos and digitally transform the DBS internal IT team, DBS partnered with us to transform their product organization using the agile methodologies Kanban and Scrum. The result was increased speed in their time-to-market, reduced waste and risk, improved user experience of internally utilized proprietary software, and the ability to rapidly respond to new trends and opportunities.

the challenge

DBS values their commitment to go beyond comprehensive plan design, reimbursement strategies, and enrollment solutions. They make a difference for their clients by providing a high level of client service, administration using trademarked proprietary administration software, and guidance using their 30+ years of knowledge and experience in the industry. Behind the scenes, however, business leadership felt that there were opportunities to better align their business and IT teams on the DBS vision and strategic direction. The unintentional siloing of departments was causing unnecessary churn, inefficiencies, and limiting the value the organization could deliver. Each employee at DBS was operating to the best of their abilities, however, collectively they were limited by a waterfall development process. This process contributed to long development lead times, varied expectations in outcomes, and greater risk to the business. The leadership team knew something was not working and change was needed, but were unsure of how to proceed.

The Centare staff is incredible to work with! We are so happy with the improvements that they have helped us make to our software and how we work.

Kirsten King, Office Administration Manager at DBS

OUR APPROACH

DBS was referred to us by a mutual partner. They came to us with a simple goal - help us transform our product organization in a way that is aligned with business goals. Through the Ignite process our team was able to gain a very solid understanding of the DBS values and organizational goals. We discussed how the product development process and the business development process needed to be aligned and recommended starting with some team-based work. Doing so would allow DBS to quickly deliver working software to their users, while allowing our team the opportunity to lay the groundwork for implementing a process change by demonstrating the process on a real project.

During the Launch phase of the engagement, we worked on modernizing the technology and enhancing the workflows of DBS’s internal plan and claims management system, ASAP®. As our team began to make progress, DBS was introduced to several techniques commonly used in an agile approach, such as prioritization methods, customer feedback loops, internal communication channels, continuous integration, and continuous deployment. Watching the change in how the internal DBS employees interacted with our product development team was eye-opening to the leadership team. The employees experienced the positive impacts from new techniques in several ways, including more efficient workflows in their internal administration systems and quicker development release cycles. According to Robin Slinga, the Claims Manager at DBS:

“The improvements to ASAP® have really made a difference in the way we are able to perform our jobs in the claims department. We are now able to easily navigate through the system and locate information more efficiently.”

These efficiencies also helped create an improved customer service experience, which sparked an even greater desire for change to internal processes, ensuring the DBS team was set up to continue delivering this level of success going forward.

the result

With the goal of an organizational transformation, additional people from our team were brought onsite to work side by side with the DBS team members. Based on our recommendation, DBS committed to adopting the proposed methodology, including new processes and tools, to help achieve greater collaboration within their departments and across the entire business. Although it would require changing their mindset and the way they work, they knew that the end result would produce a culture and infrastructure that could respond better to client needs and adapt to market demand.

With change comes fear - especially in a well-established organization with many tenured employees. With confidence that change can be positive and by working with the right partner, with the trusted expertise to help, DBS was able to overcome that fear. The leadership team was willing to acknowledge that something wasn’t working, ask for help, and commit to putting in the time, effort, and investment to improve. The organization was able to stop thinking in departmental silos and start collaborating to build better products and services that meet the overall strategic vision of the business. According to Kirsten King, the Office Administration Manager at DBS:

“The Centare staff is incredible to work with! Everyone is extremely knowledgeable, professional, and humble. They know how to ask the right questions to make sure you end up with a solution that is highly functional, user friendly, and adaptable to your needs. We are so happy with the improvements that Centare has helped us make to our software and how we work.”

technologies used

  • ASP.NET Web API2
  • ASP.NET MVC 5
  • TFS Build & Release Pipelines
  • Vue 2
  • Vuex
  • Webpack 3
  • Entity Framework
  • ADFS WS-Federation Authentication
  • TFS Build
  • Postman
  • Protractor
  • Selenium Web Driver & Release Pipelines

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