Premera Blue Cross
Premera Blue Cross is one of the largest health plans in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, providing comprehensive, tailored services through Premera and its affiliates to nearly 1.7 million people in Washington, Oregon and Alaska states.
Premera needed an architecture repository and modeling tool that was economical to own but could also offer the flexibility needed to suit their specific requirements. Orbus’ iServer met their needs by providing an out-of-the-box collaborative TOGAF® solution that Premera could then extend and tailor to address the specific challenges that they faced.
A method of maintaining a repository of their architecture models without dedicating a great deal of financial and human resources to the problem.
Premera have been able to engage in TOGAF®-based collaborative modeling, all whilst staying within the Visio and Office environment.
Premera Blue Cross had been attempting to maintain a repository of its architecture models in Metastorm Provision for some time, but found that the complexity of the tool meant that only one of their specialists was really comfortable using it.
The Business Challenge
Premera Blue Cross had been attempting to maintain a repository of its architecture models in Metastorm Provision for some time, but found that the complexity of the tool meant that only one of their specialists was really comfortable using it. The challenges of lack of tool proficiency within the EA team, and resulting data degradation became untenable.
Premera needed a way to maintain a repository of their architecture models without dedicating a great deal of financial and human resources to the problem. Furthermore, the team knew approval for a ‘consultingware’ modeling tool, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to install and configure, was not going to be forthcoming.
Combined with these constraints, Premera’s EA team had recently decided to adopt TOGAF® as the EA framework upon which to base their processes and deliverables. Any tool to replace Provision would need to be TOGAF® compliant.
Why iServer was the Ideal Solution
iServer met Premera’s needs on several levels. First of all, the ability to use Visio and Office was compelling as it allowed the architectures and system designers to stay with the diagramming interface that they were used to.
Second, the low price point that iServer offers compared with some of the other tools on the market meant that the tangible investment was much easier to get approval for from management.
Third, the low overhead of setup and ease-of-use meant that the intangible costs were also low – less time spent understanding and configuring the tool means more time spent engaging in architecture activities.
Last of all, the flexibility that iServer allows in terms of extending and tailoring the metamodel means that Premera are now less exposed to risk – changes in standards or internal requirements can easily be accommodated within the tool.
By using iServer, Premera have been able to engage in TOGAF®-based collaborative modeling, all whilst staying within the Visio and Office environment. This has delivered time savings and risk reduction without imposing unacceptable overheads.
Premera’s EA team became aware of iServer as an easy-to-use but powerful alternative to many of the tools in the market place. Premera took advantage of the free demonstration and proof of concept evaluations that Orbus offers to organizations considering the use of iServer. A key feature of iServer was the ability to use Visio as the front end to the EA repository. Premera’s architecture team felt that this feature was crucial to keep the EA repository current and avoid falling into the trap of “information rot”.
After seeing the flexibility and ease-of-use that iServer offered, Premera decided to go ahead and implement iServer as their EA tool of choice. Premera took iServer’s “TOGAF® Out-of-The-Box” solution and easily extended the templates that the solution offers in order to meet their specific needs.
iServer is now the canonical EA repository at Premera, and the information in iServer forms the basis of their architectural roadmapping efforts. Premera is now looking into using iServer to support their process modeling work, taking advantage of the unique capabilities that iServer offers in order to blend and relate different models and different standards to one other.
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