HealthEquity Shrinks Lead Time for Onboarding New Suppliers.
HealthEquity is a Utah-based healthcare benefits and financial services company in the FinTech industry that manages health savings, flexible spending, and other tax-advantaged accounts. Founded in 2002, the company is comprised of nearly 3,000 employees.
As a custodian of health savings accounts, HealthEquity manages a lot of confidential health and finance information. Ensuring compliance with HIPAA, data privacy, and other industry regulations is essential. HealthEquity currently works with over 1,300 suppliers. As part of its risk management efforts, the company must evaluate all suppliers for data privacy and information security compliance. It’s vital to ensure all supplier companies understand what data they have and to make sure that information is secure. Suppliers can’t simply be fast-tracked through the system. To bring on properly vetted suppliers that present low-risk, the procurement, security, and legal teams need to work together.
In the early years, HealthEquity had about 800 employees and a small vendor base. The company used a homegrown SharePoint application designed for procurement, but not for security and risk management.
After the acquisition of WageWorks, HealthEquity’s supplier base nearly doubled. Even after implementing a purpose-built ERP, the company could no longer effectively manage and monitor its growing supplier base.
Prior to Graphite, the onboarding process was disconnected. Security and Risk Management often weren’t notified early enough when a new supplier was under consideration, and ongoing rescreens were inconsistent. Legal wasn’t brought in soon enough for reviews, and it was unclear exactly where each supplier was throughout the procurement process.
There was no tool in place that allowed the teams to effectively communicate and collaborate. Nor was there a central repository for storing data and vendor contracts.
Supplier data lived in different programs with different teams, or even on individual’s desktops. Often, that information was outdated and inaccurate, or riddled with duplicates across systems that couldn’t talk to each other. Suppliers were often named differently between systems, which made it difficult to track down contracts and spend data.
Multiple systems and duplicate or mismatched information offered low visibility into the supplier network.
Limited Due Diligence
This incomplete view into already isolated or fragmented data in turn limited the ability to accurately identify and manage potential risks. As a result, many suppliers were slipping through the cracks.
It was time to move forward with a more robust system.
The search began for a complete solution that could connect all the necessary teams, offer visibility across the entire procurement process, and help clean up the data. As HealthEquity started looking at different solutions, Graphite Connect was on the list. Although Graphite was new to the market, stakeholders recognized the flexibility of the platform and the expertise of the team in the procurement space.
Most importantly, the tool offered a secure, central repository for teams to store and access supplier information and contracts—all in one place. “I think the number one reason we liked the Graphite Connect tool was that it allowed us to have all the separate workflows in one location,” said Gina Smith, Program Manager for Risk Management. “So it was going to service the needs of our procurement team, our data privacy group, our information security group, and even our enterprise risk management team.”
HealthEquity and Graphite partnered in 2020. Implementation included a one hour weekly call to make sure the system setup was going smoothly. During these calls, stakeholders discussed changes and issues and also determined what questions, based on business rules, to ask suppliers during onboarding. From start to finish, implementation took four weeks.
The Graphite Connect solution has streamlined day-to-day tasks, including:
Prior to Graphite, important information got buried in emails—there was no single location where teams could store or search for contracts. Now, the Graphite Connect platform makes it much easier to keep track of contracts. Teams can send, upload, or perform searches for specific contracts in the system.
Tasks are triggered in Graphite Connect so the appropriate stakeholders are assigned to review agreements. Redlines can be shared online and there’s an audit trail of all changes and updates. Legal is able to review and approve contracts and obtain final signatures through the Adobe Sign integration. Everyone has visibility into when a contract task is completed and ready for next steps.
Vendor information was dispersed across teams and systems before Graphite. Now data is available in a central location so stakeholders can see the status of suppliers throughout the process, as well as any potential hang ups or bottlenecks.
“The data that you can get out of Graphite has been awesome. We’ve been able to build reports of contracts coming due in the next 60, 90, 120 days and we’ve seen lead times decrease,” said Ian Harward, Director of Procurement. “We can actually show how long it’s taking our vendors to connect with us in the system, and how long security and legal reviews are taking.”
The workflow for onboarding suppliers is quicker and more streamlined through the Graphite platform. Now a supplier who wants to do business with HealthEquity can simply complete and submit the online questionnaire. From there it goes through security and privacy vetting, based on HealthEquity’s business rules.
“Graphite is making our company safer through the vetting process, which can be rigorous and long,” said Connie Michalak, Purchasing Coordinator for HealthEquity. “With Graphite, we’re able to get very specific with the due diligence that should be done.”
After going through legal review and being approved, supplier data automatically syncs with HealthEquity’s ERP system. Graphite validates all the information HealthEquity needs, including tax ID, bank data, OFAC and other sanctions. Team members know they’re always working with the most accurate and high quality data about any given supplier.
With Graphite Connect, the risk management team now has visibility into every supplier that is onboarded, so high-risk suppliers are less likely to slip through the cracks. Automated rescreen reminders make it easier to stay on top of annual controls. And because of this transparency, HealthEquity has visibility into the status and risk level of each and every supplier.
Graphite Connect provides HealthEquity with a more unified and holistic view of every supplier. Now, systems, teams, and data are connected. The procurement, risk, compliance, legal, and finance teams have a single location to monitor activity, manage reviews, and reach out to suppliers. Not only is there greater visibility into the supplier network. The entire process from onboarding all the way to contract approval is significantly faster.
“You can get a more holistic look at what the lead time looks like, which has a lot of positive downstream impacts,” said Harward. “You have project managers who are trying to plan for onboarding a new vendor. And now that we can say, hey, it’s taking us about 28 days from start to finish, depending on how responsive the vendor is, it’s helped with scheduling and eliminated a lot of issues on the backend. There were times it would literally take us 12 weeks to get a vendor onboarded. Through this process, it’s helped streamline a lot of that.”
Stakeholders can see what’s happening at every stage. Procurement knows exactly what’s going on with compliance, and vice versa. Based on HealthEquity’s business rules, the appropriate suppliers are getting routed to the risk management and legal teams for review.
“We can get that information in front of our compliance teams sooner to quickly determine whether a partner meets controls that are in place,” said Smith. “and avoid working with partners that would have presented significant risk.”
HealthEquity is pleased with what it has accomplished so far with Graphite. Never one to rest on its laurels, the healthcare benefits and financial services company continues looking toward the future to see how to make the partnership even better. A project is in the works to fine tune the existing system and take a deeper dive into business logic for compliance.