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  • November 12, 2020
  • News

2020 KM Reality Award Winner: Prudential Financial

The 2020 KM Reality Award goes to Prudential Financial. The KM Reality Award recognizes an organization in which knowledge management is a positive reality, not just rhetoric. The award recipient has demonstrated leadership in the implementation of knowledge management practices and processes, realizing measurable business benefits. To be considered for the Reality Award, the knowledge management program must be in place for at least 1 year, receive support from senior management, and have defined metrics to evaluate the initiative and its impact on organizational goals.

2020 KM REALITY AWARD WINNER: PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL

Headquartered in Newark, NJ, Prudential is a Fortune 500 company and has $1.5 trillion in assets under management. Over the years, Prudential’s U.S. businesses had adopted their own technology solutions and processes for content management. This lack of consistency made it difficult for employees to share and access knowledge across the organization. Prudential’s complex content management landscape was also a roadblock to its goal of improving the customer experience by standardizing processes and introducing new technologies.

"On behalf of Prudential’s Enabling Solutions Knowledge Management team, we are honored to receive the KMWorld Reality Award," said Allison Wilkins, director, learning and knowledge management, at Prudential Financial. "This award validates our efforts and commitment to create a robust Knowledge Management tool and governance framework that enhances the end user’s experience, improves accuracy and reliability of content and reference materials, and reduces expenses for our company. Recognition by a leader in the KM industry further inspires us to continue this important work, as we evaluate new opportunities for improvement and identify innovative solutions leading us into the future. "

Centralized repository

In 2017, Prudential recognized that it needed a formal knowledge management program and strategy. A KM centralized repository was developed to create consistency and best practices across Prudential’s U.S. businesses and support ongoing enterprise initiatives. This formed a model of engagement which focused on providing customers with a simpler way to interact with Prudential by allowing employees to access knowledge quickly and across legacy business boundaries.

The KM team measures success with a people, process, and technology rubric, which is further divided into short- and long-term goals. The KM team has achieved its short-term goals, which were designed to create a KM foundation at Prudential. Long-term goals, particularly those focused on the people and process categories, is a process of continually modernizing and creating feedback loops for end users.

Describing the process her company used in its KM strategy, Wilkins said that after many proofs of concepts with multiple vendors, the company selected SharePoint Online and custom-built the solution with guidance from Microsoft and Prudential's internal technology developers. "We utilized the APQC Knowledge Management Framework to ensure we had a well thought-out plan," she added.

"We conducted multiple business migrations over 2 years, centralizing over 400,000 knowledge articles and deployed the governance framework to ensure adherence to controls and compliance guidelines," said Wilkins. "We made subsequent optimization of the centralized repository to enhance the end user experience by including localized search, acronyms/synonyms, automated workflows, created a sitemap to help with navigation, and deployed short learning videos called 'KTubes.'"

The short-term goals of Prudential's KM project that were successfully met focused on migrating more than 375,000 items from four disparate repositories into a centralized solution, having more than 4,000 employees compete training on the KM tool, eliminating over 35,000 duplicative items pre-migration, and saving the businesses over 7,000 hours by absorbing content contributor work.

Longer-term goals have targeted automating workflows for KM tracker requests to create an audit trail for all incoming work, an approver workflow to ensure content integrity and annual attestation to ensure content is compliant. These new workflows have increased controls by 50%.

The KM team monitors KM activity metrics through easy-to-understand dashboards and shares updates with the business leads on a regular basis.

Since the KM implementation in the third quarter of 2018 when there were approximately 2,900 visitors and 6,000-page views, the usage increased to 12,000 visitors with over 124,000-page views daily as of July 2020.

Collaboration with oversight

The centralized repository was built for open collaboration across all five U.S. businesses. However, it allows for custom permissions by site, pages, or documents to restrict content views, if necessary, for compliance reasons. The process is controlled by an internal security department through entitlements and then appropriate users are granted access by the KM team. A built-in automated attestation review process ensures that compliance with company policy and procedures is maintained. Business workflows ensure that content is being reviewed by designated business parties assigned by the business. 

To improve Prudential's knowledge sharing and collaboration across U.S. business operations and contact centers, all business units adopted knowledge management annual performance objectives.

Operations and contact center leaders support and champion the KM technology solution and KM governance framework by incorporating KM into annual performance objectives, following KM rules and procedures in daily activities and tasks, promoting and adopting the KM strategy by following protocols and sharing success stories.

Content contributors act as change agents for the KM tool and governance framework by participating in content contributor training and certification, adopting KM rules and procedures, providing peer support, and meeting required quality and performance standards.

Content consumers (end users) adopt the KM tool as the "single source of truth" and demonstrate proficiency by attending required training, accessing the tool for daily operations, establishing favorites, searching for and locating target content and rating the relevance of existing content.

Outcome

In 2019, the KM team further tied its efforts to business value by focusing on three areas: the user experience, controls, and financials.

KM enhanced the employee end-user experience to improve search results through the removal of over 35,229 duplicate content items. KM worked with business leads and subject matter experts from more than 30 business functions to eliminate and archive outdated and irrelevant content prior to migration to the KM tool, reducing total content by 20%.

Controls were also put in place to improve the accuracy and reliability of content and tools by instituting automated workflows for content creation, reviews and attestation; define functional business roles for KM (e.g., content contributor, content approver); pre-migration reviews, revisions, and archival to ensure data integrity; and provide consistent communications via News posts to create consistency across businesses.

Through KM efforts, savings were realized by absorbing work previously done by the individual businesses (the KM team created/revised more than 7,000 items, saving the businesses over $455,000 in resource time); creating micro-learning videos that saved 60,000 hours of employee training time equating to $3 million in savings; simplifying the training experience by having one central tool rather than multiple tools; and avoiding future expenditures by instituting a platform that could easily integrate with other web applications (as of July 2020).

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