What we achieved

  • Increased visitors by 34%

  • Decreased session times by 20%

  • Boosted business flexibility

To who

  • Company:BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc.

  • Products: Digital Experiences

  • Industry: Healthcare Insurance


  • Part 1


    A complex and rigid IT environment stood in the way of reacting quickly to the market and providing members with engaging digital experiences.

  • Part 2


    The company transformed the way they engage with members and employees by building a digital experience platform based on a suite of HCL Digital Experience.

  • Part 3


    Results were dramatic — 34% more site visitors, 11% more sessions, and reduced site visit times of 20% — proving a more efficient and engaging experience.

The Challenge

Business challenge story:

Complex user experiences are bad for both business and members.

According to the Forrester Research report “The US Health Insurers Customer Experience Index, 2019,” among health insurance customers who felt respected, 73% plan to stay with the brand, 82% will advocate for the brand, and 82% will consider the brand for their next plan. Translation: A rewarding customer experience has the potential to not only transform healthcare-seeking consumers into new members, but also boost loyalty and improve overall company performance.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) is committed to making its members’ healthcare journeys easy, accessible, and more engaging, but the company admits that, until recently, its web and digital experiences were less than ideal. For instance, in addition to not having the ability to choose their preferred communication channels, members had to navigate multiple pages on the portal to get to their data, and the portal itself lacked much-needed tools and personalization.

The problem stemmed from a siloed and disjointed IT infrastructure made up of outdated technologies and an assortment of platforms. “It was an amalgam,” explains Ed Ober, Director Application Solutions at BCBST. “We had a fairly mature intranet, however, our member, employer, broker and other portals needed retooling and we had various content management implementations — a whole variety of technologies were in use.”

Complex and inflexible, the environment hindered the company’s ability to deliver and maintain a best-in-class experience not only for its members, but also for its partners, and stakeholders.

Jack Khera, BCBST’s Director of Digital Experience, shares his thoughts from a business point of view: “What we are seeing in the healthcare space right now is a huge influx of digital-savvy entrants — startups that don’t have a lot of baggage from a technology perspective. This has forced organizations like ours to be more agile and to make sure that we’re thinking through the lenses of our clients and stakeholders: how are we meeting the needs of our members, and can we deliver on those needs more quickly and in a more nimble way?”

In 2018, Ober decided to upgrade the company’s existing portal software and discovered a bigger opportunity. Ober elaborates: “We decided to go to HCL Digital Experience V9 because it was an opportunity to consolidate and move everything together. We realized that we could move everything into one environment, and to a single platform to reduce the complexity and clutter.”

“When it came to developing and implementing the DXI platform, the best thing we did is bring in one of the platform architects for a proof of concept [POC] engagement.”

— Ed Ober

Director Application Solutions BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc.

The Solution

Transformation story:

A single platform offers something for everyone.

BCBST went on to build a Digital Experience and Innovation (DXI) platform based on HCL Digital Experience V9 software, a suite of offerings that let organizations mix applications, create personalized content, and build adaptive and engaging digital experiences. This technology allows them to access the valuable content and data that resides in their existing systems and give them new life.
The company also uses the advanced web content management capabilities to speed the development and deployment of its digital content.

Ober and his team kicked off the DXI initiative with a workshop for key stakeholders to share project objectives, followed by analyses to identify internal digital capabilities and gaps. Early on, the company also turned to HCL for its expertise and support.

“When it came to developing and implementing the DXI platform,” says Ober, “the best thing we did was to bring in one of the platform architects for a proof of concept [POC] engagement. That was a big asset for getting it off the ground, understanding the virtual portals and themes and how the portlets were going to work, and configuration.”

The POC also proved invaluable for identifying and overcoming technical hurdles. “Early on, we identified some of the challenges we were going to have integrating the platform with our security product,” says Ober. “So, we went ahead and implemented the virtual portal, and then worked on migrating our security product. We had huge support from our local team as well as from folks on the product side. After that, things moved along very well.”

The initiative owes much of its success to the exceptional working relationship between Ober, in IT, and Khera, on the business side. Highly collaborative and customer-centric in their approach, the duo used strategic and agile methodologies throughout the development and delivery processes. Their focus was twofold: create positive digital experiences that give members high-quality programs and tools, and drive business efficiencies through standardization, consolidation and integration of current and new technologies.

“When we started collaborating, we described it as we each have our own swim lane,” explains Ober. “We know where the handoffs are and who’s responsible for what so we're not on each other's turf. Having that defined gave us a lot of the success we have today and the success we’ll have over the next few years. We're very effective at getting things done.”

Today, the platform is up and running, and phase one and two are completed “Now, we’re working to make sure that every single page that is stood up, whether new or existing, meets our digital guidelines,” says Khera. “When it came to developing and implementing the DXI platform, the best thing we did is bring in one of the platform architects for a proof of concept [POC] engagement.”“When it came to developing and implementing the DXI platform, the best thing we did is bring in one of the platform architects for a proof of concept [POC] engagement.”

“When it came to developing and implementing the DXI platform, the best thing we did is bring in one of the platform architects for a proof of concept [POC] engagement.” —Ed Ober, Director Application Solutions, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc

This [platform] opens up a whole new space for us because we're finally able to move more quickly and respond to what our audience wants.

—Jack Khera,

Director of Digital Experience BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc.

The Results

Engaged members, empowered business users.

Since enhancing and updating its web experience, BlueAccess, BCBST has seen over a 34% increase in users and a 11% increase in visits. Concurrently, the amount of time visitors spend on the site has decreased by 20%, suggesting that they’re finding the information they need faster. The number of members indicating a need to call a customer service rep specific to web enquiries has also fallen.

“There are so many regulations, so much information in healthcare that we're required to provide,” says Ober. “We’re simplifying everything, helping members manage their health and care, understand their coverage and find what they need.” HCL Digital Experience is the trusted platform for business-critical functions, and especially poised to deliver for companies in heavily regulated industries. The security, uptime, and its ability to scale on demand is the reason performance is so strong.

In addition to the reliability and security — and the ability to simplify and personalize the member experience — a major benefit of the Digital Experience platform is that it’s line of business-friendly. That is, the reimagined user experience in HCL Digital Experience lets business stakeholders manage and execute components of the digital experience themselves, without having to rely on IT.

“We coined the term, ‘getting IT out of the way,’” says Ober, “which means, ‘let us get out of the way so you can do your work.’ Once we familiarize the users with the technology itself, they’ll be able to take it a whole lot further and run with it.”

Khera agrees: “One thing that’s on our roadmap is moving some of the components that are currently managed at the technical level to the actual business-user level, like web content management. Right now, IT manages all of the new content and updates. I think that as we transfer some of those roles out to the business and let the technical folks focus more on the technical side, we’ll optimize that process.”

Khera also believes the member experience itself will benefit from making some of the platform’s capabilities and functionalities available to the LOB.

He continues: “From my perspective, this will definitely make a huge impact on the member experience because we’ll be able to implement and deploy on the fly, which means we’re reducing lag time and downtime.

These newfound capabilities are already delivering exactly the kind of flexibility and responsiveness BCBST is aiming for. “Our long-term and strategic goal is to be nimbler, more agile, and be able to react to the market faster,” concludes Khera.

“This [platform] opens up a whole new space for us because we're finally able to move more quickly and respond to what our audience wants—and we’re probably using only 10 percent of the platform’s capability,” says Khera. “What that means, really, is that the sky's the limit.”

About the company

Company boiler plate:
Founded in 1945, BCBST is the largest health plan company in the state, providing a wide range of group and individual health insurance plans, supplementary coverage and wellness services to roughly 3.5 million members and more than 11,000 Tennessee businesses. The independent organization works with over 29,000 providers and processes 56.4 million claims a year, totaling roughly USD 14 billion. BCBST employs approximately 6,000 people across six offices whose mission is to provide peace of mind through better health.

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