Founded in 1998, Businessolver enables online benefits administration and benefits outsourcing through its proprietary, web-based Benefitsolver platform. Thousands of companies rely on Businessolver and its platform to automate their insurance benefit enrollment and ongoing benefit administration, and streamline benefits administration. Businessolver’s mission is simple: “Grow Our Business; Delight Our Clients.” But the company isn’t talking about the bottom line when it says its aim is to grow. Instead, the focus is on expanding Benefitsolver by continually adding new and innovative functionality.
Built on a Java-based framework, Benefitsolver supported 5 million people as of the end of 2013. Through the platform, employees complete the insurance enrollment process, with the average user going through 50 pages to enroll. While Benefitsolver typically serves 200,000 page views per day for 10-11 months out of the year, during the condensed annual enrollment period, it serves over 350 million hits in a 4-8 week period. In 2013, the peak number of users in a day was about 40,000, and Benefitsolver served 2.5 million pages that day.
Because Businessolver is committed to continually enhancing the experience, it rebuilds its production infrastructure every three years with peak periods in mind. Though the company uses the latest web technologies and coding techniques, it experienced slow page loads for a couple of days during its last rebuild. According to Tom Pohl, VP of IT Systems for Businessolver, “Those were stressful days. The enrollment process didn’t stop, but we didn’t achieve our goal of keeping page render times to under half a second.”
Like many businesses, Businessolver sees call volume rise when site or web application issues slow down or interrupt processes. “When you’re enrolling hundreds of thousands of people in a short window, that call volume can quickly stack up,” continues Pohl.
Businessolver needed to meet three key requirements to support its objectives:
Because Businessolver takes the security of its customers’ data very seriously and wants full control, it opts to host its own Benefitsolver web application platform. To ensure the most robust and secure application possible, the company constantly evaluates application delivery technologies for the next iteration of its platform. Though Businessolver does not typically consider engaging third parties when it comes to the platform, it called upon Akamai to address its web performance and scalability issues. “Akamai is the name brand in the space, so we felt comfortable turning to it. Plus, it’s been vetted by global brands and the U.S. government so we knew it had implemented stringent security measures,” says Pohl.
Akamai recommended Web Application Accelerator (WAA), part of its Web Performance Solutions. WAA delivers cloud-computing applications quickly and securely to users around the world. According to Pohl, the implementation was extremely simple.
Acting as the “man in the middle,” Akamai receives end-user requests aimed at the Benefitsolver application and handles all SSL transactions on its servers. “It’s reassuring to know we are working with a partner that demonstrates its due diligence in keeping our customers’ data protected at all times,” explains Pohl.
With WAA in place, Businessolver has seen consistently fast web application performance, along with drastically lower CPU utilization on its load balancers. “Akamai handles 80% of our hits, allowing our Benefitsolver application to focus on managing benefits instead of serving static content and images. Plus, we enjoy greater scalability for future needs,” says Pohl.
At the same time, Businessolver has reduced its customers’ bandwidth requirements by 50%. In one instance, Businessolver brought a large restaurant chain on board and some of the customer’s stores were connected via slow satellite links. Businessolver tweaked its application to reduce the customer’s bandwidth requirements. “With Akamai WAA on top of the changes we made, we never hear of any problems from this customer,” continues Pohl.
Businessolver has also seen benefits when it comes to ensuring a stable network of data centers. Each of the company’s data centers connects to about ten bandwidth providers. When one of its providers experienced packet loss issues, Akamai WAA routed around it. “It’s incredibly helpful to be able to automatically address issues with our upstream providers, making sure our blended network keeps working as intended,” says Pohl.
Since partnering with Akamai, Businessolver feels even more confident bringing additional customers onto the Benefitsolver platform. “With Akamai, our web application delivery is reliable and high performing. That means we can truly offer flawless open enrollment, ensuring that our customers succeed with their benefits programs,” concludes Pohl.
Businessolver is changing the way companies think about, view, enroll in and engage in benefits. They provide online benefits administration services and benefit administration out- sourcing services to mid and large-market companies. Its unique web-based platform, Benefitsolver, automates employers’ insurance benefit administration by consolidating multiple insurance carriers into a single platform as well as customizing the process to meet employer’s unique enrollment requirements. Businessolver believes in delighted clients. For more information please go to www.businessolver.com.