Sunday, July 31, 2005

48 Years of Paper – Changing the Culture of the Allstate Financial Contact Center

presentation by Theresa Calabrese, Jenny Matya, Barbara Miller & Nancy Wise of Allstate Financial
9 August 2005 (Tuesday)
5 - 7 pm at Allstate with webcast to Factiva (see sidebar for directions)

Strategic Challenge
Allstate Financial has several contact centers located in three different states, each of which operations semi-autonomously. As we have integrated these call centers to handle calls from other locations, we discovered a need for sharing of information by customer service representatives. Much of the information used to answer customer and agent calls was inconsistent among representatives and across service centers and largely paper based. Life insurance and annuities are, by and large, heavily regulated by state. Approval of all content by our Legal, Tax and Compliance departments created a challenge many organizations undertaking content management do not have to face. Training already takes far too long and taking representatives off the phone for training they may not use immediately is not effective.

We needed to create a content management solution that would transform existing paper and scattered on-line documents into dynamic, interactive knowledge delivered at the moment of need.

We developed a new paradigm, where the employee/learner is viewed as a knowledge seeker, with constantly changing learning needs and timeframes.

Presenter Bios
Theresa Calabrese is a graduate of National-Louis University and has over 24 years of experience with Allstate Insurance in Human Resources, Training Design and Delivery and front line management. In addition to co-leading the Knowledge Management initiative, she is working on a project to enhance Leadership development and accountability

Jenny Matya is a graduate of Indiana University. She interned two years with Allstate Financial training and accepted a permanent position upon graduation. In 2004, Jenny joined the Knowledge Management team and has worked extensively with our technology partners to create system specifications and the automated workflow in Interwoven.

Barbara Miller brought 21 years of personal trust administration experience to Allstate during the inception of the Allstate Bank. Barb has a MLIS from Dominican University and earned her 6 Sigma Black Belt certification in 2004. Her library science and 6 Sigma skills are a great asset to the Knowledge Management initiative. She has worked extensively in developing and analyzing measurements for the project.

Nancy Wise brought over twenty years of management experience when she joined Allstate Financial in 1998. Since joining Allstate, she has managed the training department that supports the Allstate Financial Operations service centers and most recently is managing the Knowledge Management team.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Plug-n-Play Knowledge Management

Kevin Desouza of The Engaged Enterprise will present on "Plug-n-Play Knowledge Management" at the July meeting of KM Chicago. He will be located at our Loop location (Factiva) with live webcast to our Allstate location (see sidebar for details).

Date:July 12, 2005
Time:5:00 - 7:00 pm

Summary: Knowledge management agendas are most often characterized as static, one-time, and inflexible. Organizations may gather knowledge, code it, store it, and apply it. Yet, when faced with a similar problem in the future, most organizations will be forced to reinvent knowledge and move through the creating and application cycles again - a costly and ineffective proposition. One reason, for this is the lack of foresight and upfront care in devising a flexible knowledge management system. What does it mean to build a knowledge program that is flexible and agile? Mr. Desouza will highlight how one can build a knowledge program that resembles the "plug-n-play" approach. The concept of "plug-n-play" is familiar to us from the computer hardware domain. Without plug-n-play capabilities integration of seemingly unrelated and distinct hardware components will become cumbersome and unfriendly. In the presentation, Mr. Desouza will discuss what features and components are required in order to build a knowledge program that emulates the plug-n-play nature.

Biographical detail: Kevin C. Desouza is the President of The Engaged Enterprise, a strategy consulting firm with expertise in the areas of knowledge management, crisis management, strategic deployment of information systems, and government and competitive intelligence assignments. He also serves as the Director of the Institute for Engaged Business Research, a think-tank of the Engaged Enterprise. He has authored Managing Knowledge with Artificial Intelligence (Quorum Books, 2002), and co-authored Managing Information in Complex Organizations (M.E. Sharpe, 2005). He recently edited New Frontiers of Knowledge Management and co-authored Engaged Knowledge Management both books are scheduled for release by Palgrave Macmillan in early 2005. In addition, he has published over 80 articles in prestigious academic and practitioner journals such as Information and Management, Communications of the ACM, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Technology Forecasting and Social Change, Government Information Quarterly, Journal of Business Strategies, International Journal of Technology Policy and Management, Business Strategy Review, Emergence, IT Professional, Journal of Knowledge Management, Knowledge Management Review, Knowledge and Process Management, International Journal of Information Management, European Management Journal, HR Magazine, among others. He is currently serving as an associate editor of the Journal of Information Science and Technology and is on the editorial board of several journals. Mr. Desouza has been an invited speaker on a number of cutting-edge business and technology topics for industry and academic audiences.