Success story

Rearchitecting Wrangle's Legacy ERISA Reporting App to Boost Performance and Productivity

illustration of dashboard

If a company in the US has more than 100 employees and offers health and welfare benefits, they are required by law to file an annual report to the Department of Labor. Much like filing taxes can be tedious, so can filing the Form 5500. That's the form the DOL requires from said companies. It details out which insurance brokers and carriers were paid to serve the health and welfare benefits and how much money was exchanged to do so.

Since 2006, Wrangle has been making this process easier for insurance brokers and their clients. Just like an accountant prepares taxes on behalf of individuals and companies, Wrangle prepares the Form 5500 and its associated documents on behalf of companies needing to file. Today, Wrangle is the largest such entity doing so. They complete over 20,000 filings per year.

A system that was no longer working

In 2017, Wrangle was at a crossroads. They had no shortage of business. It had been steadily increasing year-over-year. The issue was that they were struggling to keep up with the pace of filing requests. Each company filing the Form 5500 has a filing deadline based on the end date of the coverage they offer their employees. For Wrangle, the end of each month was always crunch time. Especially egregious was July 31 every year as this is the most common filing deadline, accounting for around 75% of filings.

Crunch time always came with the same issues: frantic data entry, lengthy overtime, and, at times, missed deadlines.

Towards a better solution

It was in 2017 that Elevate Digital was retained to evaluate how the constant month-end pressure could be alleviated. Very shortly after the engagement commenced, the biggest culprit became crystal clear: Wrangle's technology was working against them, not for them.

Wrangle was using a 6-year-old web app that was custom-built but was never completed. It crashed often which halted work in the office and required lengthy delays in tracking down the maintainer. The app also had enormous performance issues. Each interaction required a 10 second page reload. With so many interactions in the app per day, those 10 seconds added up to a lot of wasted time very quickly.

Results at a glance

Reduced transaction times from 10 seconds to milliseconds
Drastically cut overtime hours with streamlined management tools
Reduced staff support hours with concise client dashboard

Another issue is that information had to be transcribed between two systems. The custom-built app Wrangle was using only had the capability to receive information from clients but not to transmit it to the Department of Labor. For that, Wrangle relied on a third-party system that had been put into maintenance mode and had issues of its own. Because data was transcribed multiple times, there were often filing errors due to bad data entry.

The crossroads that Wrangle came to in 2017 had two options:

1. continue with the current technology stack and allow the problems to get worse over the course of time; or:
2. rebuild the tech stack from the ground-up to make everything more efficient.

Wrangle chose the latter route and Elevate Digital was tasked with delivering a system that would save time, reduce errors, and cut costs.

The run up to July 31 of every year is crunch time for Wrangle. The whole office would spend all of July working overtime to get all filings ready for the end-of-month deadline. With our new custom-built solution from Elevate Digital, July overtime has been reduced by 95% and the whole office breathes a lot easier.
photo of customer
Linda TaylorVice President, Wrangle

Technology done right

To do so, Elevate Digital built a brand-new custom application for Wrangle that focused on performance. Instead of waiting around for 10 seconds or more on each interaction, Wrangle's staff gets on-page feedback in milliseconds. This greatly increases the amount of work that can get done in a day.
Elevate Digital also focused closely on making sure the user interfaces for the staff were laid out for fast keyboard interactions. Data entry can be done much more quickly without the use of a mouse. The new screens allowed staff to fly through their data entry inputs.

In the previous tech stack, Wrangle relied on a third-party service to submit filings to the DOL. In the new stack, filings happen automatically from within the same application. This means no more transcribing data multiple times, reducing errors and saving time.

A point of friction for Wrangle historically was that their clients had no visibility into the work process. If the client wanted an update, they had to call Wrangle directly. For one-off cases, this wasn't too bad. But in many cases, staff would spend all day on the phone with a smattering of clients to give them the info they were looking for.

In the new tech stack, Elevate Digital delivered a client dashboard to provide Wrangle's users with immediate access to the statuses of their filings. This dashboard also provided a way for users to supply required information for the filings in a concise and uniform way, removing the need for them to supply a paper worksheet.

Substantial results

This new tech stack has made an enormous impact on Wrangle's business and client satisfaction. The end of July was previously a dreaded time for staff at Wrangle as they had to scramble and stay late most days. Since going live with the new tech stack, the need for overtime has been effectively eliminated. Staff satisfaction at work has increased and new lines of business can be formed with the time saved from the new system being put in.

Wrangle's clients continually comment on how convenient access to their dashboard is. The visibility they are given allows Wrangle's clients to save time on their end as well since they no longer need to get on the phone with Wrangle's staff.

The Department of Labor noted how impressed they were with the system. In annual statistics published by the DOL, it is noted that Wrangle has basically no filing errors. This is the result of close attention paid by Elevate Digital to making the filing process correct and free from erroneous input.

The sentiment around Wrangle's new tech stack can best be summed up by a recurring comment offered by Wrangle staff during their recent acquisition: “Whatever you do after the acquisition, please do not take away the new system!”

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