As the number of employer groups signing on began to rapidly increase, the IT team at Benefitfocus considered other options. First was the option of inhouse development. The expertise existed as the company had been taking this approach with the larger group market all along.
Mapping standard 834 interfaces to documents is extremely complex. Considering the enormous volume involved, this approach is time-consuming and resource-intensive, as it also required a good deal of ongoing maintenance and ran the risk of errors and/or unacceptably slow operations overall.
Benefitfocus opted instead to purchase a third-party solution. The company undertook a thorough evaluation process, assessing solutions from Etasoft, Inc., American Coders, Ltd., and DataDirect Technologies. The two month process involved trying sample applications, discussions involving the company’s technical architect, and rigorous performance and volume testing.
“We were now taking in a very large volume of group data and membership data through an import mechanism, transforming it and then loading it into our applications, so scalability was critical,” Taylor says. “Our need for significant scaling had increased exponentially.”
Superior scalability, Taylor reports, is what initially made Progress® DataDirect® products stand out. Progress® DataDirect XML Converters® are high-performance Java™ and .NET components that provide bi-directional, programmatic access to virtually any non-XML file including EDI, flat files and other legacy formats. DataDirect XML Converters support accessing and converting all currently electronically published versions of the X12 standard.
“Our testing confirmed that with DataDirect XML Converters we could take an 834-document in a non-coded ANSI format and have it transformed into XML. This allowed us to map it into the appropriate data schemes.”
High-end scalability combined with out-of-the-box 834-XML conversion, and the fact that the solution could easily plug into Benefitfocus’ ESB framework, persuaded the team at Benefitfocus to go with Progress DataDirect technologies.
“The technicians came back to me very enthusiastically and convinced me to sign a purchase order for the product,” shared Taylor. “Their bottom line was that it worked.”