Like other health insurance companies, Portland, Ore.-based Regence Group needs to build a more robust infrastructure to handle the vastly increased role of IT in today's rapidly changing, customer-oriented market. Having taken on responsibility for all of the regional Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer's infrastructure groups at the turn of the year, Kerry Goff, director of production delivery and support, will tackle several challenges toward that objective.
"We need to get to the point where we can drive the business from IT, so that we are enabling our business to transform healthcare," Goff comments. "To do that, we need to be very agile and virtualized, and that's a significant departure from most classical operations groups and infrastructure groups."
Among the challenges Goff's group faces is coping with aged data centers in an era when data proliferates at a tremendous rate. "We are about 95 percent sure that the majority of our data centers will be hosted rather than internal, and that presents a significant challenge with respect to the execution of data migration in a cost-contained manner," Goff says. "We haven't established a road map, but we are most likely looking at an 18-month window to accomplish that."
Regence Group is also in the midst of a conversion to a fully converged VoIP network that Goff says will be largely complete by the end of 2008.
Beyond these large initiatives Goff says his group will be focused on providing high availability as Regence Group continues a shift from a traditional "6:00 to 6:00" service world to delivering services around the clock.
As the Blue Cross Blue Shield company for several states, Regence Group also faces the challenges related to the M&A activity that resulted in that geographic spread. "We used to operate as many different companies, and so we have many processes, some of which are more manual than they should be," Goff observes. To address those issues, he adds, "we're working on process automation and becoming more streamlined as an organization."
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio