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2015 KMWorld Promise and Reality award winners
KM Reality winner: Allstate Business insurance

This article appears in the issue January 2016, [Volume 25, Issue 1]

Allstate Business Insurance, a division of Allstate Insurance, is a provider of insurance solutions for small business owners. Its products, distributed through a network of 10,000 exclusive agents and 2,000 independent agents, are designed to meet the specific insurance needs of small business including coverage for commercial vehicles, structures and liability exposures.

With help from Earley Information Science, Allstate Business Insurance has developed ABIe, a virtual assistant that through an online avatar (called ‘Abby’) provides Allstate agents with answers to questions about writing commercial insurance policies. ABIe was conceived of and developed for the purpose of addressing the high dependencies the company had for real-time support provided by call center personnel. Meeting call demand was becoming costly, causing caller frustration due to long hold times and interfering with the company’s ability to meet customer needs. ABIe provides agents with on-demand assistance directly through the online system they’re using at the time when most of their questions arise.

As a result of the implementation, Allstate has experienced reduced call volume to call centers, stronger acceptance of its technology and stronger business results in the form of premium growth and a one-stop shop for all business insurance content. Since ABIe’s start in fall 2013, monthly usage totals have increased from 2,131 in October 2013 to 26,169 in July 2015. The company has more than 2.5 million page views and more than 470,000 sessions from approximately 137,000 users.

Allstate Business Insurance now has a deep taxonomy for its knowledge repository, which allows situational filtering of data. Also through analytics, it has developed an autosuggestion feature in which it can recommend an appropriate search string to users based on what they type in the search field. The company has improved the user search results by applying consistent keywords and phrases for documents. The search framework tests more than 260 queries to determine how good user searches will be. When a search is out of an acceptable range, specific keywords or phrases are applied to ensure a proper result.

Allstate Business Insurance hopes to benefit in two key areas: an overall reduction in the cost to support agents in the field and growth in the number of commercial policies written by agents in the field. For the first goal, ABIe is one stop for all Allstate Business Insurance questions and documentation, reducing the many places a user had to go to find information—in particular the call center. Through ABIe the company has a better idea of what content matters most to users and what areas of the quoting system they need help with. The system easily evolves as the company learns what questions are important to agents and new content is added.

Allstate Business Insurance can customize “Best Bets” for its users. By knowing where they are in their quoting process, the company can provide immediate access to the specific knowledge documentation they need most. Agents know they do not have to wait in a phone queue to get the information that they are looking for and are more comfortable going online to get help. Consequently, the company has seen a favorable reduction in the number of calls to the call center.

Regarding growth, Allstate Business Insurance is providing its agents with a more consistent user experience and easy access to a body of knowledge they need to become better at writing business insurance. As such, the company has seen, over the period since implementing ABIe, a favorable increase in the growth of new commercial policies. While the company can’t necessarily attribute the growth entirely to ABIe because multiple programs are in place to increase growth, it is confident that ABIe has played an important role in that growth.


Clarification

An article about the KM Reality finalists in the November/December issue of KMWorld failed to acknowledge that two Hewlett Packard Enterprise divisions—Software Services and Global Customer Solution Center—should have been recognized. The strategy of Hewlett Packard Enterprise is to provide solutions for the New Style of IT, with complete end-to-end solutions in cloud, big data, security and mobility. Its mission is to make IT simpler, safer, more agile, faster and more cost-effective.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Software Services employs about 3,000 internal and external employees across 50 countries. Its Services organization provides new yet similar services to many of its customers. Creating similar content every time the organization executes an engagement takes a lot of time and money. Providing KM practices and processes integrates the available assets and lessons learned into a customer engagement with finite resources, thus potentially saving time and costs in the project. In addition, the organization needs to understand what knowledge its experts know and find ways to increase profitability through the reuse and harvesting of that knowledge. The KM team has been in place since 2007 and restructured its KM approach in early 2013. The team designed its strategy and detailed approach in a way that targets key business results and/or organizational improvements. In developing a metrics-based dashboard, the organization tracked month-over-month reuse savings and implemented a performance goal aligned system that highlighted millions of dollars in cost savings. The restructured KM Program led to better content quality, increased customer satisfaction and improvements in the organizational culture.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Global Customer Solution CenterThe Global Customer Solution Center includes 5,000+ Engineers who support 3.1 million customer cases annually, covering multiple enterprise products in diverse customer environments across 180 countries and 18 languages. Since late 2013, the KM team has focused on creating a knowledge-centric culture among engineers to ensure critical information is documented, relevant, immediately available and easily accessible. The key reasons to initiate knowledge practices and processes effective late FY 2013 were to deflect known issues to customer self-solve as well as to solve complex issues through efficient Intelligent Swarming (Collaboration).


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