Humana Partners With Pivotal to Rapidly Deliver Healthcare Solutions

July 20, 2015 Roman Gokhman

sfeatured-humana-lexingtonOne of the most successful health care providers in the United States is using Pivotal Cloud Foundry and services from Pivotal Labs to help its 14 million customers live healthier lives. Louisville-based Humana is focused on supporting customers’ health goals through treatment, as well as preventative care and education. The company quickly recognized technology’s potential to help clients track steps and calories, monitor their blood pressure, and maintain healthy lifestyles by using mobile applications that offer useful healthcare advice.

Software has had a huge impact on the healthcare industry, as customers increasingly expect engagement and information to be available at any time. Meanwhile, many tech-focused healthcare start-ups have disrupted the industry with various products that address customers’ needs more rapidly than Humana could manage.

“The demand for new software and the demand for software solutions only seems to grow,” Humana Digital Experience Engineer Jason McKee said. “Because of our traditional processes, we weren’t able to meet consumer demand for new features, new applications, and enhanced value.”

The company faced barriers due to various teams working separately on projects, making it difficult to launch projects that customers found valuable. Humana wanted to innovate faster and transform its software culture, and partnered with Pivotal in 2013 to facilitate building and deployment at a rate that met the growing demand.

Pivotal enabled collaborative development by creating a new culture that encouraged teams to work together, using Pivotal Labs’ agile methodologies to deliver products rapidly. These approaches helped Humana meet the demand for new applications across the business. To learn Pivotal’s methods, Humana software developers traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area and New York to collaborate with Pivotal Labs experts and gain hands-on experience. They saw how the work environment at Pivotal Labs inspired creativity and rapid development.

The company was then able to deploy the apps onto Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the open-source cloud-native platform that provides an environment to develop cutting-edge mobile applications and other digital products. Humana’s on-premise Pivotal Cloud Foundry solution provides the ability to scale with the cloud while maintaining internal security controls, a critical element to preserve customer confidentiality.

Inspired by what they saw, Humana executives went on to create the company’s Digital Experience Center (DEC) in Louisville, a new workspace that parallels the innovative spaces they used at Pivotal Labs. Establishing the DEC effectively changed the company’s corporate culture. The DEC now houses multidisciplinary software development teams working on Humana’s digital products. At the facility, developers work in pairs and even share one computer to help each other stay on-task and solve challenges. Processes that had previously been complicated are now streamlined. Developer productivity has significantly increased, making it easier to create the applications that deliver new value to Humana’s customers.

“The impact of the partnership with Pivotal Labs is far greater than just shortening the application development life cycle,” said Antonio Melo, practice director of the DEC. “They’ve helped us foster a culture of organizational product experts, designers and engineers working together, face to face, where people can be themselves.”

Humana has already built and deployed two crucial applications, Humana Vitality and My Health by Humana. Melo and the DEC plans to accelerate efforts to develop many more applications to meet the needs of its users, a goal that obtainable thanks to agile development and Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

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