Benefit Architects is an insurance marketing company that provides voluntary benefit programs to large employer groups, labor unions and associations. It has 23 years of experience in selecting the right combination of cost-effective voluntary benefits for groups ranging in size from 100 to over 250,000 employees.
With a staff of three dedicated internal employees and a team of external enrollment specialists, Benefit Architects was able to process 12-15 enrollments a year using a combination of tools including Excel, MS Outlook and a database tracking program. Even with this small number of enrollments, about 10 percent of the tasks within an enrollment would fall through the cracks, making the business model unsustainable and growth impossible.
Mark Robbins, President of Benefit Architects, realized that in order to become a real force within the market, it was necessary to get a handle on the tasks and process that had become unruly. Robbins investigated on-site project management solutions such as MS Project but because of the distributed nature of his business and workforce, using a web-based solution made the most sense. Also, being an SMB business owner, Mark was not interested in investing in the IT infrastructure and maintenance staff needed to install and maintain an on-site solution.
Benefit Architects evaluated several different project management solutions, but found Clarizen to be the most flexible and cost-effective solution for its business requirements. Another critical factor in selecting a platform was employee adoption. Robbins’ workforce was web-savvy and mobile due to the nature of the enrollment business, so he was looking for a solution that would be easy to implement and easy to use in a distributed environment.
He selected Clarizen and within no time his team was up and running using the platform. Running projects with as many tasks, sub-tasks and interdependencies as his team was working with, the team was constantly dealing with complaints about what was not getting done and spent much of their time fixing mistakes. His team was desperate for a solution that would help them improve their day-to-day work environment and provide dramatically better customer service.
Using Clarizen, Benefit Architects has built a standard set of project templates that include all the tasks, sub-tasks, interdependencies and deliverables within a standard project. The team starts building a project once they know the enrollment date and Clarizen works backwards (and forward) from that date to create the schedule with milestones, triggers for deliverables and tasks that are set on the dependencies built within the templates.
“Our business process has changed dramatically since we adopted Clarizen,” says Robbins. “We now have the capacity to handle twice as many enrollments as we were doing before Clarizen, and now those enrollments are completed with 100 percent accuracy. With Clarizen, we are simply more efficient at allocating resources. Now, we do it right the first time.
“If we find a weakness or a flaw in our internal processes, we can now immediately fix the problem for the next project,” he continues. “With Clarizen my Disability team manager has complete visibility into all the projects going on in the company, all the resources and all the timelines giving her the ability to spot and deal with any red-flags before they even happen. This kind of transparency is priceless.”
Benefit Architects is now easily handling over 30 enrollments a year with the same internal and external staffing they had when they were handling half of that load.
Avinoam Nowogrodski is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in founding and managing software companies. As Co-Founder and CEO, Nowogrodski brings insight and expertise to Clarizen’s vision of bringing work management to every business.