Independence Blue Cross modernizes the workplace with Microsoft 365

Early in my career I recall the days where I would drive to work and sit at my desk using my large CVT monitor and tower PC working on a new marketing plan for a seasonal campaign. I would then email the plan or fax to multiple people in different locations for a follow-up conference call a few days later. That type of workstyle is a distant memory and speed agility with an increasing need for real-time collaboration is critical to business agility and success. Today organizations across the globe are increasingly becoming more mobile, with more employees working from home or a remote location to accommodate a flexible workstyle. In fact, studies show employees are not at their desk 50-60 percent of the time.*

Over the past year Microsoft has been actively working with Independence Blue Cross (IBX), with headquarters in Philadelphia, which provides health insurance for more than 2.5 million people to help deliver a low cost yet highly productive solution for their mobile workforce

Challenged to support its increasingly mobile workforce and safeguard customers’ personal medical information, IBX worked with Microsoft Consulting Services to upgrade to Microsoft 365, which includes Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 ProPlus, and Enterprise Mobility & Security suite. So far, it has deployed 3,300 licenses on desktops across the company, the first step in upgrading its entire workforce.

One of the main drivers of moving to the Microsoft 365 suite of products was the native security and mobility functionality in Windows 10 and the collaboration capabilities in Office 365 ProPlus. IBX improved mobility and increased productivity for its employees all while reducing operational costs. And with Microsoft 365, IBX is able to modernize their workplace through managed services, empowering IBX with more creativity, security, and simplicity in their environment and for their employees, wherever they decide to work.

“Our company has a very ambitious work-from-home strategy. Giving employees the ability to go where their responsibilities take them, and ensuring they can work and communicate securely from any location and on any device, is fundamental to our vision for the business,” said Steve Giuliano, Vice President of Technology at Independence Blue Cross.

With Windows 10 and the Semi-Annual servicing model through Windows as a Service, employees are able to download the latest updates to their devices at their convenience versus having the IT team schedule deployments with each department and interrupting their work for hours on end.

“We considered the partnership with Microsoft our safety net, giving us the right amount of planning help to navigate our concerns, avoid potential roadblocks, and make sure the upgrade would go smoothly,” said Katherine Kuznetsov, Director of Infrastructure Systems at Independence Blue Cross. Kuznetsov added IBX employees appreciated the way the company deployed Windows 10, calling it a “significant win for [IBX] as a company.”

IBX is making the most of Windows 10 security and management options to serve the needs of its workers wherever they are. IBX relies on Microsoft System Security Configuration Manager and Windows Defender Anti-Virus, allowing IBX to manage devices and provide updates to the operating system much simpler by providing a consistent experience across all devices while keeping data and applications secure and consistently up to date. Additionally, the company is also looking at Windows Defender Device Guard and Credential Guard to protect employees further.

One of the exciting outcomes of the workplace modernization taking place at IBX is the company’s desire and interest in the latest hardware innovations on the Windows 10 platform. Having moved to Windows 10, IBX now makes Microsoft Surface devices a standard offering. Employees who need a new computer can choose a Surface Pro 4 device, and the company is taking advantage of Surface Hub for enhanced teamwork and collaboration in the conference room.

Windows 10 Reduces Costs and Complexity for Independence Blue Cross

Standardizing on Windows 10 provides reduced cost benefits for IBX. According to Giuliano, the comprehensive platform and native functionality that Windows 10 provides adds up to big benefits. For example, the company has reduced complexity and lowered costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars eliminating several third-party applications.

“With Windows 7, we had to use add-on products for things like endpoint device management and USB port management,” he said. “Now we do all that with our OS. Every time Microsoft adds a security feature to Windows 10 that takes a third-party product off our computers, it’s a win for us.”

By enabling IBX employees to have the flexibility to do work remotely or from home, and without the need to provide a dedicated desk for every employee every day, IBX is seeing a deeper cost savings as they recover more than 35,000 square feet of prime office space in downtown Philadelphia, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in operational expenses.

“Thanks to Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus, we’re making it even easier to work from home than it is to work at the office,” Giuliano said. “That’s really what people want—the ability to work anywhere without location creating some technical obstacle they have to overcome. They want to know that our company is protecting sensitive information and providing them with a reliable experience wherever they choose to work.”

With the combination of Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus, and Enterprise Mobility + Security suite brought together in Microsoft 365, IBX has delivered a complete, intelligent, secure solution that empowers everyone to be creative and work together, securely. IBX empowered their employees with more freedom and flexibility with modern mobile devices. Wherever people decide to work, IBX has the same goal for all its employees: “save people five minutes a day.”

“We work hard to achieve that goal, and tools like Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus make that process more refined,” he said. “It’s not about dramatic changes; it’s about all the small ways that things are just a little easier. It’s that idea of saving people five minutes a day, multiplied by thousands of employees and thousands of devices.”

It’s exciting to see the impact of a modern workplace powered by Microsoft 365 taking place at IBX.

*Global Workplace Analytics