Delta Dental Uses Datadog to Accelerate Time to Insight and Get New Features to Market Faster | Datadog
CASE STUDY

Delta Dental uses Datadog to accelerate time to insight and get new features to market faster

会社情報 Delta Dental

Delta Dental of New Jersey's mission is to provide accessible dental benefit programs. Offering dental benefits since 1969, the organization is part of a national network that provides dental coverage to more than 89 million people.

Insurance

201-500 
Employees

New Jersey

Google Partner

“With Datadog and Google Cloud, we can get to the market faster with new features to enhance our employees’ capabilities and customer experiences. This helps us remain competitive as we scale and continue to innovate.”

justin_lahullier.png customer
Justin Lahullier
CIO and acting CISO
Delta Dental of New Jersey
justin_lahullier.png customer

“With Datadog and Google Cloud, we can get to the market faster with new features to enhance our employees’ capabilities and customer experiences. This helps us remain competitive as we scale and continue to innovate.”

Justin Lahullier
CIO and acting CISO
Delta Dental of New Jersey
Why Datadog?
  • Enabled data correlation across the entire stack 
  • Enabled faster troubleshooting
  • Accelerated time to insight
Challenge

A mix of ad hoc data-collection and system-monitoring tools made it difficult to quickly identify the causes of issues because the company lacked visibility across the entire stack.

Use case

Datadog on Google Cloud

Key Results
↑ 4x Improvement

In time to delivery

Multiple weeks → One week

Accelerated time to insight

Lack of enterprise-grade observability limits efforts to improve customer experience

Delta Dental of New Jersey is one of the largest and oldest dental benefits providers in New Jersey and Connecticut and, across the United States through its membership in the Delta Dental Plans Association. Recently, the company’s business has expanded to include vision insurance and other ancillary lines of coverage. At the same time, insurance buyers now have higher expectations when it comes to digital services. Dental Dental’s 1.9 million customers want a seamless online experience where they can easily purchase, access, or modify their coverage or personal information.

These changes and evolving demands required Dental Dental’s entire business to become more data-driven. Its IT organization needed to take a more significant and strategic role in driving a better customer experience and long-term business growth. In response, Justin Lahullier, CIO and acting CISO at Delta Dental of New Jersey, redefined how the IT organization manages its DevOps and security processes and moved to a more agile work environment, including the adoption of Google Cloud. As it did so, Delta Dental faced two primary challenges. First, to ensure a great customer experience, it had to prevent bugs from hitting production. However, Lahullier didn’t want the process of ensuring quality code to limit how quickly they released features. Secondly, if something did happen in production, Lahullier wanted to ensure his team could find out about it quickly and mitigate the issue before it impacted customers.

At the time, the company relied on a mix of ad hoc data-collection and system-monitoring tools, making it difficult to quickly identify the causes of issues because they didn’t have visibility across the entire stack. “We would be in situations where the phones would start to ring off the hook in our customer service unit, and they'd be opening a ticket and telling us something was going wrong somewhere,” says Lahullier. “We'd then have to dig into those ad hoc applications to try to figure out what was happening.”

To monitor issues that might affect users, as well as connectivity between all third-party vendors, Delta Dental needed an enterprise-grade observability solution.

delta-dental-team.png

Delta Dental selects Datadog to monitor and optimize its environment

To improve overall observability, centralize on a single solution for collecting logs and other information, and enable faster response to incidents, Lahullier and his team turned to Datadog on Google Cloud. “We looked at a couple of different solutions. Datadog was attractive because it had the ability to ride on top of the Google Cloud environment. In addition, we felt Datadog had more of a vision for the future and a more modern stack that would allow us to do more creative things when it came to the way we explore our data.”

Datadog now provides Delta Dental with an enterprise-grade solution that allows it to bring in all its logging data, aggregate it, and store it in a central place, then leverage it to get alerts and investigate issues that arise. “Datadog is helping us make it part of everyone's job to observe, with a wider perspective, what's happening in our systems so that we can appropriately react to it,” says Lahullier. “It allows us to have an enterprise view of things and get the teams to work together to resolve whatever is happening across the stack.”This is especially helpful because the company recently migrated to a more microservices- and API-based architecture. “Having logging and APM functionality that’s native to those capabilities has allowed us to have deeper reporting on the types of transactions that are happening across the organization,” adds Lahullier.

Delta Dental also recently started rolling Datadog out on an infrastructure level to understand local and remote network capacity performance. “We did a show-and-tell inside the organization and the infrastructure team saw the results we were getting. The idea of bringing all that data together under one platform quickly picked up steam,” says Lahullier.

“Being able to mitigate problems quickly and communicate what’s happening has built trust in our IT organization. That turns into more investment from the business for us to deliver more and richer capabilities.”

Accelerating time to insight

Now that Delta Dental has moved to more of an agile DevOps model and integrated Datadog with their Google Cloud resources, they have seen improvement in identifying and resolving production-related issues before customers are aware. “The way we define success is time to market and the quality of the code that’s deployed,” says Lahullier. “We were able to go from initiation to delivery three to four times faster with Datadog. With Datadog and Google Cloud, we can get to the market faster with new features to enhance our employees’ capabilities and customer experiences. This helps us to remain competitive as we scale and continue to innovate.”

It also means Delta Dental IT team members can spend less time on traditional types of legacy IT troubleshooting and dedicate more time to activities that add value to the business. “If our deployments aren't going well and issues are affecting employees or customers, we can’t get increased development resources to explore things like generative AI,” says Lahullier. “Being able to mitigate problems quickly and communicate what’s happening has built trust in our IT organization. That turns into more investment from the business for us to deliver more and richer capabilities.”

Ultimately, adopting Datadog is helping Delta Dental in its mission to become more data-driven. With Datadog and Google Cloud, Lahullier’s team can now quickly bring data into their data lake and accelerate time to insights. “Our data scientists are tapping into critical information and have data available on our platform within a week, thanks to how our data ingestion is streamlined,” says Lahullier. “Before, it might have taken two, three, or even four weeks.”

Lahullier says he is excited to continue to evolve the use of Datadog and Google Cloud tools because the environment scales with them as needed and they can turn on additional capabilities when required as they expand the services they provide to customers in the future. “In the end, much of how our customers will judge us relates to driving better customer experiences with less friction, and we believe our work with Google Cloud and tools like Datadog will put us in a leading position to meet those expectations.”

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