Care First: PeopleSoft HCM 9.1 Upgrade

Care First: PeopleSoft HCM 9.1 Upgrade

Integrated Talent Management Implementation and 9.1 Upgrade

When the 17th largest insurer in the nation wanted to upgrade its PeopleSoft HCM systems and concurrently implement several talent management modules, it contacted BTRG. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) is the largest health care insurer in the Mid-Atlantic region; providing health benefit services to 3.3 million members across Maryland and the National Capital Area. Employing over 5,000 associates and contractors, CareFirst has the largest provider network in the region, with more than 80 percent of the region’s health care providers participating in one or more networks.

Getting Started

Through a competitive bidding process, BTRG was selected from among the leading PeopleSoft systems integrators to perform CareFirst’s upgrade from PeopleSoft HCM 8.8 to 9.1. BTRG was chosen because of its 18 year history of successful PeopleSoft upgrades and implementations combined with its enduring experience in the healthcare insurance payer and provider industry.

The goal of the project, which was completed in 10 months, was to upgrade CareFirst’s PeopleSoft HCM and ELM applications and in doing so, take full advantage of the new functionality delivered in the latest release. The executive steering committees top priorities were to;

  • Improve operational efficiency and effectiveness by automating key business processes
  • Generate more accessible reporting
  • Eliminate costly customizations and stay vanilla
  • Eliminated manual, paper-based hiring processes and increased visibility and accountability

To achieve these goals, BTRG lead the project to upgrade CareFirst’s existing PeopleSoft HCM 8.8 modules while simultaneously implementing several of the Integrated Talent Management modules in PeopleSoft HCM 9.1.

In addition to project management and executive leadership, CareFirst relied exclusively on BTRG for expertise in analysis, fit/gap, configuration, testing, training and deployment across all modules. In addition, Oracle User Productivity Kit (UPK) was licensed and used as the primary training tool for the end-user population.

BTRG provided a complete project team including a senior project manager, a senior solutions architect, 5 senior functional consultants, a senior upgrade specialist, a senior technical lead and a senior developer to accommodate the development of a minimal amount of customization required to more closely align the system with CareFirst’s existing business processes.


Despite the enormity of the project and several unexpected challenges, BTRG delivered a successful go-live on-time and on-budget. Adhering to the mandate to stay vanilla, approximately 90% of existing customizations were eliminated, reducing the cost and impact of future upgrade. In addition, several strategic innovations were introduced in key areas including Manager Self-Service and Talent Management.

Improving Employee Productivity:

Managing people is time consuming and the goal of any system is to make it easier for managers to carry out their responsibilities. Although most customizations were eliminated, BTRG developed a new business process within Manager Self-Service that dramatically streamlined the MSS user experience. By listening to CareFirst and gaining a full understanding of its needs and requirements, BTRG was able to consolidate transactions initiated from eight different PeopleSoft MSS pages onto one consolidated page that validates, submits and routes for approval the employee and position data transactions. The improved user experience saves time and improves employee productivity.

Attracting and Retaining Top Talent:

Introducing the PeopleSoft Talent Management suite of modules was a major step forward for CareFirst. Like many organizations, CareFirst was still using manual, paper-based hiring processes. The upgrade to 9.1 provided the perfect opportunity for CareFirst to implement PeopleSoft e-Performance, e-Compensation, e-Development, Career Planning, Talent Acquisition Manager and Candidate Gateway.

As a result of this project, CareFirst eliminated most manual recruiting and hiring processes and now provides candidates with online job offers; with candidate communication managed from within the system and supported by an online approval process. In addition, job candidates are provided a better user experience which has greatly reduced the drop off rate and candidate evaluation forms provide timely feedback from managers. CareFirst recruiters now have the ability to track and manage candidates and take action all within the PeopleSoft application process.

These changes have substantially improved the organization’s enterprise-wide ability to attract and retain top talent. By rolling out the PeopleSoft HCM 9.1 Integrated Talent Management modules CareFirst has:

  • CareFirst has drastically reduced the volume of paper forms being printed and stored.
  • Automated Salary proration and eligibility rules to reduce or eliminate manual intervention
  • Implemented the ability to request or grant base salary increases for employees, which are automatically routed for approval
  • Established workflow to automate approval routing
  • Implemented multi-document functionality to enable multi-rater and 360-degree feedback
  • Established an easy-to-use, web-based employee development process with workflow
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