Since 1936, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama has been providing quality, affordable health care coverage to their members at every stage of their lives. As the number one provider of health care benefits in Alabama, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama provides coverage to more than 3 million people and pays billions of dollars in benefits each year. They are based in Birmingham, Alabama and employ more than 3,700 people.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama has several websites and portals that touch customers, doctors and hospitals (a.k.a. providers), and employer groups throughout the state. In recent years, the health care coverage provider saw advances in web capabilities, including a major shift toward web and mobile technologies, which they wanted to harness to serve their customers.
Public sites for Blue Cross have been running on outdated and antiquated technology for several years. The technology was difficult for non-technical employees to use and slowed down business processes. For example, each time the marketing department needed to update the content on a public site, the change needed to be made by a developer. These changes often took a back seat for developers who had higher priorities given the demands of the business. Teams found that simple changes to a public facing site could take months to implement, if they were ever made at all.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama began searching for a new platform and chose Liferay Portal as their entire core enterprise portal platform. In a matter of six weeks,the public facing site at www.bcbsal.org was transitioned away from outdated technology and into Liferay with a full redesign. That timeframe included a very talented team on all sides that delivered the following:
- New look and feel
- Integration with Liferay's WURFL plugin including custom hook
- Global navigation using "Mega Menus" integrated with Liferay WCM
- Integrations with FloodLight, NetInsight, and TeaLeaf
- Full content entry and reformatting
- Custom styles integrated with the Rich Text Editor
- Use of theme policies to prevent duplication
- Multiple content structures and templates
- Redirection for old URLs to new URLs
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Staging to Live publishing on a remote server
- Custom navigation portlet development
- High availability clustering on WebSphere Application Server
For the public facing website, Xtivia worked cohesively with an outside design firm to translate a top-notch look and feel into a Liferay Theme. More than 90 content pages were brought into the Liferay Portal to provide a consistent and cohesive public facing site that exemplifies the Blue Cross brand and philosophy. The logistics of getting the site launched within a six-week timeframe required a coordinated effort across multiple teams within Blue Cross as well as multiple external vendors including Xtivia.
Blue Cross launched the site on the same day that a new advertising campaign was introduced via radio, television, and the Internet. No system or site stability concerns have been reported.
"We are very pleased with the Liferay technology and the implementations that we currently have with it," said Todd Hamilton, Department Manager, Application Development at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. "Our business team is also pleased that the platform allows for content changes on the user's schedule without developer intervention."
"Xtivia is a truly amazing vendor partner and an expert on the Liferay Portal," Hamilton continued. "Their collaboration and insightfulness on our projects have all led to successful deliveries that we wouldn't have made without them. I have given them several tough deadlines, and they have delivered on time and on budget with a super quality product."
The Blue Cross team is working currently on developing member and provider portals on Liferay with Xtivia.
Business Value Added
The solutions built on Liferay allowed Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama to streamline business operations, enabling business partners to update content while the development team focused on true development work.
In addition, the portal gave the health care services provider's site a fresh look with future growth potential against competitors in the health care sector.
"Our solutions that are built on Liferay pushes us way ahead in the health care market," Hamilton said. "As this market shifts to an individual-focused market with Health Care Reform, this becomes even more important to our company for retention and new sales."