I should have been en route to our Asheville benefits operation today but the latest superstorm Diego (and what is it with naming storms lately?) put a squash on those plans. I was really looking forward to spending time with our team in our benefits center along with SVP, Les Greer, as we started the soft launch of our “My NTCA Benefits” portal. This multiyear project is on the verge of kicking off and will be a fabulous addition to our membership in terms of their ability to manage their own benefits. However, a foot of snow in Asheville (and counting) along with early cancelled flights led to my having a few extra days in the office instead of on the road where I felt I needed to be.
As with every software or technology upgrade, they are more complex, take longer, and create more internal tensions than anyone anticipates but, in the end, the results will be well worth all the teeth grinding along the way.
A few years ago, we started our CORE project with the idea that we will be implementing a member portal that will initially allow for online access to benefits-related invoices, more detailed information on those invoices, the ability to export billing data in detail, and the ability to initiate electronic payments. When we have our full release, we will have created a self-service portal that will reduce paperwork, have additional security, give our telco employees the ability to view activity and make changes in real time, and process life events as they happen. It will be secure, user-friendly and allow for on-demand benefits information.
Our team has been working long hours and extremely hard to get us to this initial soft launch and I had planned on being with all of them to celebrate their hard work and success in getting us to this 21st century technology, but alas, Mother Nature had the final word on that. However, in the spirit of how technology has evolved, instead of calling off the launch with the dire weather forecast, Les was able to send our key personnel home with their laptops and extra-charged batteries so they would be able to do their piece of the conversion remotely from the mountains of Western North Carolina. My fingers (and toes and everything else) are crossed as we enter the next 48 hours and continue our forward progress for the benefit of those we serve. I too will need to settle for the use of technology to thank our team—in Asheville and in Arlington—for their dedication and efforts to ensure that the user/member experience is the best that it can be.