Integration is core to performance of the enterprise. Finance departments realized long ago that to make intelligent decisions they had to integrate data from disparate systems across business units. To service this need, technology innovators such as Oracle and SAP stepped in with general ledger and ERP platforms, which pulled together diverse data sources in a meaningful way.
Meanwhile, most benefits teams still lack an enterprise-scale integration solution, even though it is needed now more than ever before.
Why Health Benefits Needs Integration
In the last decade, the health benefits landscape has been inundated with a new wave of apps, tools, and technology-enabled services. However, while the tools at HR’s disposal are increasingly powerful, they are increasingly fragmented and specialized. And while employees are expected to have more autonomy over their care and coverage decisions, they now face an incredibly complex and overwhelming set of health-related choices.
The opportunity for integration in employee benefits is enormous: to synthesize clinical, financial, and personal health point solutions all into a single hub, an enterprise health benefits platform.
When constructed properly, the enterprise health benefits platform is much more than a portal or a directory. Rather, it actively delivers improved performance on critical metrics related to employee adoption, behaviors, outcomes, and satisfaction. And it does so through an engaging user-interface that encourages and incentivizes users, simplifies their decisionmaking, and routes them to the most relevant services at the right time.
At Jiff, we are dedicated to building this ideal platform, and we believe we are well on our way.
Why Jiff Excels at Integration
Integration is hard, and to date, few have mastered it in the setting of enterprise health benefits. Three factors set Jiff apart: our best-of-breed selection, program design methodology, and scalable architecture.
1) Best-of-Breed Selection
The first step in integration is finding the best point solutions to integrate with. In a world of limited resources, tradeoffs are essential.
Every quarter, Jiff conducts thorough market scans to identify and prioritize the best-of-breed health benefits solutions across a number of different categories. These are 360-degree market scans, taking into account expert opinions from benefits consultants, customer experience, end-user experiences, and our own internal benchmarks — aggregated data from dozens of real customers — on what works and what doesn’t.
For employers, you can think of our prioritization process as complementary to your own solution procurement process. Like your team, we strive to identify solutions that are delivering outsized impact relative to their category peers. At the same time, we are responsive to your needs, so if there are tools you believe we have not yet integrated with, we can react quickly.
In short, our selection process helps us stay one-step ahead of the market, while simultaneously building in enough flexibility to meet the changing demands of our customers.
2) Program Design Methodology
A core tenet of Jiff’s philosophy is that employees don’t merely need a portal or a set of links. They need support, guidance, and personalized motivation on their journey towards better health. That is why for us, integration means much more than gluing a bunch of different tools together. For us, integration is an opportunity to create entirely new programs that drive increased engagement, and leverage the best of what each component point solution has to offer.
To illustrate further, take Mint.com. In the early 2000’s, Mint.com recognized that consumers were storing financial assets and data in a variety of institutions, each with its own website and login requirements. While consumers could certainly bookmark all these pages and save login credentials in their web browsers, the experience was clunky and disjointed. To fix this, Mint.com integrated the various data sources into one location, and then built applications that took advantage of this newly formed data hub. These included decision support, budgeting, and tax preparation tools. Because of these applications, the Mint platform could deliver value beyond its individual components.
In a similar vein, every time Jiff integrates a new partner, we strive to take the most distinctive aspects of our platform — routing, personalization, incentives, game mechanics, and design — and apply them to our partner’s solution in order to create something new and wonderful. In doing so, we amplify our partner’s impact, and give birth to an entirely new user experience.
Overview of Program Design Methodology
(Example from Integration with BioIQ)
We call these new experiences “programs,” and our product team takes great pride in them. In fact, each and every program is considered its own product, with specific goals and metrics for success. For example, we recently integrated with a biometric screening vendor, BioIQ. The program’s goal was to increase participation in biometric screening. Through in-depth user research, our product team identified several key barriers to participation including appointment scheduling, limited motivation, and a lack of understanding around the benefits of screening.
Our product team worked closely with our partner to create a new biometric screening program leveraging BioIQ’s capabilities and the Jiff platform. The program was defined by three key features including mobile appointment scheduling, real-time rewards, and educational content. This resulted in a 3x increase in employee participation in just one year, an improvement above and beyond what any one vendor could achieve on its own.
3) Modular and Scalable Architecture
To date, Jiff has built integrations with over 40 technology partners, across 12 health categories. Companies that use our platform can easily add and remove programs, almost like Lego blocks. Our success in managing integration at this scale and complexity closely depends on our modular and scalable architecture.
From a technical standpoint, Jiff’s architecture is distinctive for two reasons: its ability to a) ingest diverse types of data from an array of point solutions with a high-degree of reliability, and then, b) to structure the data properly so it can be interpreted and applied to a wide-range of use-cases.
Jiff’s Scalable Integration Architecture
Absorbing massive amounts of data can be difficult, particularly in the field of health benefits. Few norms exist, and vendors vary considerably in their data exchange philosophies.
To accommodate this messy reality, Jiff employs a highly flexible integration infrastructure. We can use a variety of mechanisms for data exchange including our own APIs, our partners’ APIs, or we can even set up an sFTP site, depending on the needs and capabilities of our partners. In addition, we develop rigorous data normalization rules, which ensures data integrity when we mix and match data from different vendors within a given category, for example, Jawbone and Fitbit fitness trackers.
Storing Data and Deploying Against Use Cases
The next challenge is to make sense of the data, and apply it towards various use cases, including Jiff’s:
- Recommendation engine
- Personalized incentives
- Engagement optimization system
- Business intelligence and reporting
The core of our interpretation capability stems from our “data lake.” A data lake is a storage repository that holds a vast amount of raw data in its native format from various sources, which for Jiff includes partners, customers, users, and apps. It is an advanced tactic increasingly used by big data innovators, from Palantir to Google.
Before the advent of data lakes, data would be stored with a specific use case in mind. For example, operational data would be stored in fast and queryable databases, reporting data would be stored in data warehouses, and analytics data would be in some raw format. As storage costs have come down dramatically, and processing technology has improved, we’re now able to just dump all the data into one repository, the data lake, and move it across various technologies (database, data warehouse, distributed processing) seamlessly and on demand.
Ultimately, the data lake provides two major benefits. First, we can store much more data than traditional single-use case systems. Second, we can process and analyze it on-demand, across a near-infinite number of use cases, even in ways that are different from what we originally imagined. This second benefit is the technical foundation for modularity, or the ability to add and remove programs with ease.
Taken together, the tools that ingest data, and structure it for interpretation are essential to Jiff’s modular, scalable architecture. While the technical underpinnings of modularity and scalability are complex, the end result is a flexible platform that adapts to the changing needs of the enterprise.
Jiff’s distinctive capability in integrations helps employers bring order to the fragmented ecosystem of health benefits. The result is a scalable platform that unlocks unparalleled opportunities for HR to promote better health across their entire employee population. To learn more, visit our resources page, www.jiff.com/resources