LACERS empowers LA’s city employees

Taking retirement applications from days to one hour

Downtown Los Angeles skyline
LACERS logo
INDUSTRY

Government

COMPANY SIZE

120

YEAR FOUNDED

1937

KEY USE CASES

Case management
Digital client exchange
Field operations management

PRODUCTS & INTEGRATIONS

Box Relay
Box Consulting
Box Shield
Box Platform
Box Governance
Box Sign
Custom integrations

50K

active and retired members

$24B

in managed funds

1 hour

to fill out a retirement application, down from days

CHALLENGE
4 icon problem (1) 1 0
  • Collaborating on content via email created massive version-control issues and lag in project turnaround time
  • The status quo was to work with members in person —an impractical setup that became impossible during COVID
  • California state regulations made it necessary to closely vet any new application, a time-consuming, laborious process
OUTCOME
4 icon solution (1) 0
  • Simplifying content collaboration processes with one single source of content in the cloud made a big difference internally
  • A retirement portal built out with Box Consulting created a contemporary digital experience for member customers
  • Knowing that Box is both FedRAMP and StateRAMP certified means LACERS can automatically work with any Box partner integration

Bringing retirement services into the digital era

In the pantheon of endless tasks, the red tape of retirement planning has to be one of humanity’s universal least favorites. Luckily for LA city employees, LACERS makes it as straightforward, painless, and rewarding as possible. The Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (LACERS) serves about 50,000 active and retired members with a pension fund that’s currently at $24 billion. Out of that impressive fund come benefits for current and retired city employees —not just retirement plans and insurance policies but the resources and programs to achieve financial and physical wellness in later life.

LACERS originally turned to Box because of a twofold need:

  1. Customers expect self-service options for accomplishing retirement-related tasks
  2. Increased compliance and security around the personal data of employees and members was paramount

“Under the old system,” says Vikram Jadhav, Chief Digital Officer, LACERS, “we were beholden to analog processes. You had to show up in the office and interface directly with customers, or you could create a delay in their benefits.”

The pressure to provide LA city employees with secure, digital self-service options was exacerbated during COVID, of course. As Jadhav says, “You see advancement with USPS and UPS tracking shipments, and mortgage companies tracking where applicants are in the process. That’s the same degree of service we wanted to provide to our members at multiple touch points.”

Smiling elderly black couple on a beach. The man's arm is around the woman's shoulder.

A new world of ease in the Content Cloud

This is all context for how LACERS arrived in the Content Cloud. Jadhav’s team chose Box because of the ability to inherently comply with HIPAA regulations and protect the PII of LA employees with built-in security features including:

  1. Zero-trust architecture
  2. Single sign-on (SSO)
  3. Enhanced governance features

The organization’s digital transformation journey started with the “low-hanging fruit that would have the maximum impact,” as Jadhav puts it. That meant migrating away from legacy SharePoint systems and conducting communication and collaboration (that had previously been done over email) into the Content Cloud. “Moving all our collaboration and communication into a cloud-based system was really the first kind of flag in the ground of what a new world could look like,” Jadhav says.

Retirement application cut from days to just one hour

That initial experience with Box opened up other digital possibilities, including moving teams to Microsoft 365 and building out a retirement application portal with the help of Box Consulting. As part of this project, LACERS trimmed an 80-page retirement application down to a 10-page digital spread with editable, prefilled fields. The whole process is held in Box and enabled by supplemental Box products like Shield, Governance, Relay, and Sign so members can log in and out at will, stay within one app to complete the entire application, and save progress as they go. “They can be done in an hour,” says Jadhav, “where it used to take a few days.”

This is why Jadhav says that “Box has been hugely instrumental for our ability to function in a world of ‘work from anywhere’ and deliver the same degree of service. It has allowed us to improve our member experience and how our members engage with us.”

Since then, Box has enabled LACERS to eliminate the need for staff to manage, monitor, and patch systems, and the cost savings on that alone have been huge for the IT organization. But Jadhav cites another qualitative metric the Content Cloud creates: a change in the mentality of the staff and what they feel is possible inside of the workplace.

Man using laptop

Straddling two worlds with secure, compliant content

Jadhav serves as both CDO and CISO, so he holds the vision of digitizing customer experiences as well as the nitty-gritty of building out security governance practices and teams. He says: “As we move digital, we’re bringing cybersecurity elements into the fold so we’re not just innovating, but making sure we’re maintaining a safe and secure environment. We’re on the one hand a fund manager, and on the other, a service-delivery organization. Where it gets interesting is that we live in the middle ground between finance and government.”

The challenge of going digital is that, with so many offerings to weed through, CDOs like Jadhav must determine which platforms will meet both business needs and cybersecurity needs. StateRAMP was introduced in 2020 to create a unified approach to the cybersecurity standards required from service providers offering solutions to state and local governments. It’s overseen by a registered 501(c)(6) nonprofit comprising service providers in a few realms:

  • IaaS, PaaS, and/or SaaS solutions
  • Third-party assessment organizations
  • Government officials

StateRAMP enables LACERS to improve the business by bringing in new platforms and technologies more quickly in order to off-board legacy systems. For LACERS, the stamp of approval StateRAMP grants is invaluable, because the organization has to be careful not to expose the PII of customers or their own data to security vulnerabilities. “With the introduction of StateRAMP,” Jadhav says, “we got really excited about having vendors pre-vetted before we jumped in. It’s a great listing board to figure out who we can look to first, so we don’t have to go through that whole process ourselves. They’re safe to come into the sandbox, so to speak.”

The confidence to work with (and beyond) Box

“At LACERS, we hold ourselves to a high bar for the security of our customers and employee data. When we were selecting a partner to help us digitize our workflows, we saw in Box a company that held their solutions to those same high standards,” says Jadhav.

Knowing that Box is both FedRAMP and StateRAMP certified gives LACERS the confidence to work not only with Box, but with Box integrations —rendering Box what Jadhav calls a “proxy insurer.” For this reason, he says, “Everything is kind of now built up and around Box. Box has become a proxy for everything else that is brought in.”

With StateRAMP emerging as a new standard for cybersecurity, we are happy to partner with Box in their application for StateRAMP authorization.

— Vikram Jadhav, Chief Digital Officer, Lacers

 

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