CTG Provides 24x7x365 Production Support for Large Payer Organization in Western NY

The Client

The Independent Health Association (IHA) is a large payer organization based in Western New York. Established in 1980, IHA consistently rates among the top health plans in the U.S. for customer service and member satisfaction. IHA’s offerings include HMO, POS, PPO, and EPO products; Medicare and Medicaid plans; traditional indemnity insurance; consumer-directed plans; coverage for self-funded employers; plus health savings account (HSA) and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services. The organization provides health benefits and services to nearly 400,000 total individuals.

The Business Challenge

IHA’s IT development resources were tasked with developing solutions for their strategic initiatives in addition to responding to incidents generated from daily production processing. Because incident triage took priority over their development responsibilities, it caused delays in delivering solutions. By outsourcing the Production Support activities, IHA IT development resources could focus on their project-related work, resulting in the on-time delivery of these solutions to the business community and allowing IHA to realize their strategic goals.

In March 2008, IHA selected CTG to provide these on-site Tier-2 Production Support Outsourcing services for their legacy applications, including 24x7x365 support responding to production incidents during business and non-business hours.

These services are provided by a team of technical consultants (analysts/developers) led by an engagement manager. The skill sets of the consultants include the following technologies:

  • AS400/Cobol development
  • Informatica
  • Cognos
  • Kalido MDM EDW development
  • Java
  • SOA

The CTG Solution

During this engagement, CTG’s goal was to provide IHA with 24x7x365 Tier-2 triage support using our Application Management Services methodology. The scope of the engagement initially included all Business Intelligence applications and processes and all PC applications. A transition phase was executed during which application documentation was developed and the Production Support services plan and operations manual was established. This provided the foundation for the support to be provided in an effective, consistent manner. New metrics were developed that enabled IHA to better understand the overall workload and throughput of the Production Support team. The CTG engagement manager then introduced IHA to CTG’s Application Change Turnover process, which was incorporated into their Engineering life cycle and is still used today. All changes that go into production from any source have to have accompanying documentation, ensuring the best production support possible. This process provided the project teams with a tool to knowledge transfer modifications and new processes to the support team. 

CTG’s Production Support service also includes developing continuous improvements for existing processes that are supported in the production environment.

In Their Words IHA

The Results

Over time, the support team has optimized their efficiency, allowing them to support five times more processes than the original scope with the same number of resources. Because IHA recognized the effectiveness and efficiency of CTG’s support service and process, they decided to add a new scope that included supporting AS400 Cobol custom processes, SOA services, and all of the new applications and processes being developed as part of a new Core Application Platform. 

The initial contract with CTG was for three years and consisted of four support technicians. The team grew to 10 as additional applications and processes were added to the CTG responsibility. The team was a mix of on and off site resources who provided 24x7x365 support.

By using CTG’s methodology to create a Production Support services plan and operations manual, combined with launching the Application Change Turnover process, CTG production support staff was able to support five times more processes than the original scope. This in turn allowed IHA to transition support and service of additional newly-acquired and developed applications, thus continuing their ability to keep critical IHA resources focused on strategic initiatives.