BUPA has just posted its largest turnover and surplus for the sixth year in a row. Because it is a provident association, its entire surplus after tax is re-invested in the business.

CIO John Lister believes the technology renewal currently taking place at BUPA reflects the importance of technology in delivering benefits to the business. “It has really taken off,” he says.

“We are spending around £120 million on IT across the group this year, and work with our business colleagues to make sure that significant benefits are realised through any investment we make in IT.”

During the last year BUPA started a programme to replace the systems for its UK private medical insurance (PMI) business and is seeing great business benefits as a result. “The systems have gone out to small and medium sized corporate customers with great results. We are really pleased; the systems are good, have been well received, and the first phase of the programme is on track to complete as planned.”

In the applications arena, the company has standardised on .Net and J2EE for the web, and has achieved a very high level of consistency. “The new systems are better for the business, simpler and cheaper, and are based on reusable architectures,” he says. “For example, in Australia the enterprise architecture work to build on the systems replacement project uses the same technologies as for the UK PMI systems. Reusability is key, and our progress in systems development has been very interesting this year.”

The UK PMI project will continue into 2007, and will replace over 75 mainframe and ancillary systems with one .Net/J2EE-based system for all backoffice systems, founded in part on an evolution of systems used in the UK-based BUPA business. BUPA has also introduced Teradata warehousing technology.

“The effective use of health information is very important in improving customer service and delivering affordable healthcare. Using Teradata will continue to move this forward,” says Lister. “We are also implementing an IP network in the UK with VoIP capability and preparing to rollout a compatible network throughout the group as it becomes appropriate.”