What do you do when your CIO asks you to build a new data management system because a client can’t handle its volume of data? If you’re John Smith, you take a deep breath and gamble that you can not only develop a system in four months but that it can be used for future clients, as well. Developing the eExchange platform in 2004 got Smith promoted from director of engineering to vice president of technology -- and provided his company, Benefitfocus.com, with new business opportunities.
Smith realized early on that managing data was about business processes and data standardization, not simply porting the client’s fractured processes onto his servers. So he set out to convert all customer data into a common intermediate form so the business processes could be applied easily -- without having to accommodate dozens of data types and embedded metadata.
The business processes were essentially produced as services that Benefitfocus.com can substantially reuse for new clients and adapt to new kinds of data. Today, Benefitfocus.com has extended eExchange from health care enrollment data to also cover disease management, billing, and claims management -- all bringing in new revenue and clients from that initial gamble.