IBM to revamp HCF’s core IT systems


news Australian health insurer HCF today revealed it had inked a major multi-million dollar contract with IBM which will see Big Blue “continue” to transform HCF’s IT systems, using IBM’s iLog and Lombardi software to do so.

HCF is Australia’s largest not-for-profit health insurer, currently covering 1.5 million Australians. The new contract, according to a statement issued by IBM this morning, will involve IBM providing integrated technology to directly support HCF’s “core system transformation”, encompassing IBM hardware, software and services. According to the pair, this builds on HCF’s success and industry leadership using IBM’s iLog and Lombardi technology.

The two technologies relate to business process and rule management. IBM bought iLOG in July 2008 and Lombardi in December 2009. “Already utilised by HCF, these platforms assisted in IBM’s selection for the overall Core System transformation,” IBM’s statement said.

“At HCF, our members are central to the success of our organisation,” said Patrick Shearman, CIO of HCF, in IBM’s statement. “Our success with iLOG and Lombardi has shown a proven track record. These creative business solutions enable HCF to obtain increased customer value perspectives, turning information into insights.”

“IBM, through its strategic acquisitions of these companies, will now enable us to remain at the forefront of member services by continuing to provide innovative solutions. We look forward to moving ahead with IBM and deepening our partnership. Our members will be the beneficiaries of this partnership choice.”

According to IBM, a key component of HCF’s continued business transformation will be the integration of IBM’s Smarter Analytics Solutions (ISAS), which IBM said represented the first rollout of this kind by IBM in Australia. “ISAS will provide deep customer analytics capabilities, a function chosen specifically by HCF to provide real-time analytics to member enquiries,” Big Blue said. “The result for HCF will be faster and enhanced customer service.”

In addition to ISAS, the new IT agreement will include “a broad portfolio” of IBM software capabilities covering analytics, business process management, information management and governance. All will be implemented by the IBM’s own Software Group. Another key component of the deal involves the upgrade of HCF’s IBM mainframe server to an IBM zEnteprise 114, to consolidate workloads and optimise the flow of information. In addition, IBM Global Technology Services Group will provide maintenance services.

“IBM has vast experience in the insurance industry globally. We understand the challenges that a fast growing business brand like HCF health insurance will face – competitive pressures such as business efficiency and customer satisfaction,” Edward Orange, General Manager, Software Group, IBM Australia and New Zealand, commented. “Due to the breadth of our technology portfolio and our industry leading business analytics solutions, IBM is in a strong position to help HCF gain unprecedented customer insights, and therefore, competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

A nice little win here for IBM, and it looks as though the iLOG and Lombardi acquisitions were worth it; if HCF was already using these platforms, then I’m sure they have a wider footprint throughout Australia and globally. I would be interested to know who else HCF considered (if anyone) for this kind of work — given IBM’s ownership of the two companies (and it appears as if there was some prior relationship) it would seem to be a no brainer to go with IBM here. But I bet some of the more specialist financial services-oriented IT firms would have their own interest in the matter.

Image credit: Patrick H, Creative Commons


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