Director, Technology Infrastructure, Blue Cross Blue Shield, North Carolina
Tech Optimization and Modernization
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) has been committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable since 1933. And, it has been driving better health in North Carolina for generations, working to tackle our communities’ greatest health challenges.
Today, Blue Cross NC is a fully taxed, not-for-profit North Carolina company with major operations centers in Durham, Fayetteville and Winston-Salem. It employs about 4,800 North Carolinians and serves its customers and communities of more than 3.81 million members, including almost 1.1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Several years ago, Blue Cross NC infrastructure was outsourced, and the IT team struggled with capacity and capabilities due to vendor lock-in, which had an impact on the speed of delivery and the reliability of service from an unstable environment. Fast forward to 2018, Blue Cross NC decided to hit the reset button on its technology approach and reassess their systems with fresh eyes so the Director of IT Infrastructure Petar Bojovic and his team evaluated their IT system, knowing they needed to create a future-proof environment that would evolve and adapt as the company itself evolved and that would provide access to data to drive business results. Blue Cross NC wanted to move at the speed of thought, to be very responsive, agile and dynamic in the changing world.
In order to future-proof the IT infrastructure, the IT team knew they needed an adaptable environment that could pivot and change as the organization evolved – one that was truly agile. Autonomy and choice were also needed in the technology chosen to support rapid innovation and increase stability while keeping operational overhead relatively low. Looking at a variety of market options, NetApp was ultimately chosen because they are the leader in the marketplace and they provide a strong foundation to further build upon through NetApp’s Data Fabric and cloud partnerships. Additionally, with no vendor lock-in, Blue Cross NC gained peace-of-mind knowing they could pivot as needed should circumstances change.
Partnering with NetApp, Blue Cross NC equipped themselves with a full technology stack that is flexible, always on and allows for data storage in the public cloud or on-prem. The All Flash arrays allow Blue Cross NC to no longer be limited by hardware inefficiencies or latency. The IT team is now set up to focus on how to optimize and evolve their technology stack, as opposed to scrambling to deploy solutions on a case-by-case basis. Blue Cross NC is able to evaluate and adopt DevOps and container technology, further improving its IT structure. With a strong IT infrastructure, the team is directing their efforts toward providing relief for COVID-19 patients, protecting its workforce by setting up 99% of employees to work remotely, and consistently delivering best-in-class healthcare solutions to their customers with a resilient IT infrastructure.
- Seamlessly moved ~10,000 employees (99% of its workforce) to be able to work from home
- Infrastructure owns a bandwidth that is capable of handling up to 7,000 VPN connections
- Reduced time to implement infrastructure services from 90 days to 90 minutes or less
StorageGRID Software-defined object storage solution for large archives, media repositories & web data stores
All Flash FAS Robust scale-out platform built for virtualized environments
CVS ONTAP Software-only storage subscription that runs NetApp ONTAP storage software, offering data control with the power of an enterprise storage software solution
Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise-ready K8s container platform with full-stack automated operations to manage multiple cloud deployments
A full data center migration is a difficult endeavor in and of itself, but cutting over all of production during an extended weekend was unheard of, but that’s what Blue Cross NC did when it hit the reset button two years ago and chose innovative technology solutions to build its IT infrastructure from the ground up. This big-bang one-weekend migration approach allowed Blue Cross NC to dramatically compress the timeline and limit the risk to the business with a painless implementation and adoption of NetApp’s data management process. Blue Cross NC was able to disrupt its approach to IT by taking back its autonomy and moving IT solutions in house, giving them the freedom to choose the right vendor that fit their technology needs – which they found in NetApp – whose solutions have proven their resiliency, even with the uptick in demand driven by COVID-19. As industry peers worry about their technology stacks keeping up with today’s demands, Blue Cross NC has been able to focus its time and energy allocating resources to other projects knowing its IT infrastructure will be able to keep up with current and future problems.
Given that Blue Cross NC has a robust, flexible and agile IT infrastructure that can handle evolving demands, the organization has been able to focus its efforts on providing relief to those impacted by COVID-19. Efforts have included waving telehealth charges, educating individuals on how to stay safe and healthy, working with food banks and leading several donation campaigns.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield, North Carolina
We're committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable, helping drive better health solutions, working to fix our communities’ challenges. We are a fully taxed, non-profit company with offices in Durham, Fayetteville and Winston-Salem. We serve our customers and communities of more than 3.81m members, including 1.1m served on behalf of other Blue Plans