Wednesday, October 05, 2005

CNA’s Performance Support Tool - Oct 11th

The October 11th meeting of KM Chicago will be at CNA Insurance in the Loop, rather than at Factiva. Directions and webinar information available shortly.

Abstract: The concept of CNA’s Performance Support Tool (PST) originated with business requirements to satisfy an ever-challenging business issue – “to deliver expert information to users at the right time and in the right place”. The concept of performance support is important as it indicates CNA's commitment to using Knowledge Management (KM) best practices to achieve measurable results. The relationship between knowledge management and performance support is straightforward: KM tools, techniques, strategies, and processes serve as the enablers of performance support. In this view, performance support answers the question of why CNA is engaging in KM-related initiatives. Similarly, KM initiatives provide the answer of how CNA will be executing and supporting performance support initiatives.

CNA’s Knowledge and Learning Group centrally manages the collection, clustering, sharing and presentation of knowledge, manuals, guidelines, procedures, and management of content. The PST aids this business process by providing an electronic easy-to-navigate user interface that provides anytime, anywhere access to knowledge.

The tool is built on collaboration software that has been customized to allow pre-selected business subject matter experts to manage their own content without knowing any specific programming language. The tool integrates common communication software (i.e. email, corporate portal, instant messenger) and a “Google-like” search to allow for both push and pull of expert information. Content is loaded into a business process-based taxonomy that is pre-developed by a core group of subject matter experts. The PST requires that the content owner add meta-tags to all information. Some examples of required meta-tags are: effective dates (go-live date), expiration date (date that the content will be deleted unless refreshed by the content owner), key words (acronyms or common misspellings), and a content owner (an active CNA employee).

Users are able to search within their own function or across multiple functions for key information needs. Additionally a user can provide direct feedback to the content owner’s through the tool. This feature has created a heightened awareness of the content’s accuracy, clarity and quality.

In sum, CNA’s Performance Support Tool enhances CNA's business operations through the careful growth and development of critical information, knowledge tools and resources.

Jay Kostrzewa, PMP, is the Assistant Vice President in the Knowledge and Learning Group for CNA Financial. Mr. Kostrzewa is responsible for CNA's Knowledge Management program, IT Learning and Development curriculum, and Learning Systems and Metrics. He has been responsible for CNA's Knowledge Management for the past 4 years. Prior to CNA, Jay led Whirlpool Europe's (Milan, Italy) Knowledge Management practices within their Finance department.

He holds a MBA in International Marketing and Finance from DePaul University.

Brooke Lord is the Operations Consultant for CNA's collaboration tools. Brooke joined CNA in 1994 and has held a myriad of roles. She started on the business side of the house in Risk Control and eventually made her way to CNA's Knowledge & Learning Group in 2002 focusing on Performance Management. In 2004, she moved to KM within KLG. Her prior experience includes Risk Control work for three other insurance carriers over a span of 21 years.

On a personal note, Brooke is walking a bit gingerly of late as she ran her second Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 2.

Bob Guardi is a Project Manager in the Knowledge & Learning Group (KLG). He has managed or advised on various KM type projects at CNA for the past 4 years including Executive Dashboards, Expert Locator, Online Reference Centers, Taxonomy Development, Application User Interface (Usability), and Portals. Bob is the hands-on administrator for many of the KLG applications and adviser for most KLG technology initiatives. His prior experience includes 4 years in CNA IT leading a development team as well as programming client/server applications. Before coming to CNA he was a programmer and network administrator for a Market Research company based in Chicago.

Brian Richardson, PMP, is the president of Richardson Consulting Group (RCG), a management consulting firm with expertise in knowledge management, talent management, process improvement, and technology deployment. Mr. Richardson specializes in the financial services industries and his recent engagements include work at CNA, Wells Fargo, HomeBanc Mortgage and First American Tax Services. Prior to RCG, Mr. Richardson was a project manager at Allstate and a Senior Manager in the Financial Services practice at Accenture.


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