May 23, 2014

For years, the primary technologies for automating enterprise content management were complex, and pricy, on-site customer communications management (CCM) platforms. Not anymore.

Like so many other applications CCM is moving to the cloud, foreshadowing a reduction in the technological divide between large firms and everyone else. Or, in the case of an established insurer like MassMutual Financial Group, it gives business units the agility to adopt a solution on an as-needed basis.

Just a couple of years ago, the executive Worksite Insurance Division at MassMutual was creating on of its key customer presentation, the Employer Planning Guide, using a 10-page word processing document comprised of multiple complex tables.

Amanda Ramsey, MassMutual
Amanda Ramsey, MassMutual

"Each account manager needed to create several Guides every week," recalls Amanda Ramsey, a marketing consultant for the Springfield, Mass., insurer. "The process took an average of three to four hours for each presentation."

Seeking a better mousetrap

When Ramsey joined the division in early 2012, she decided there had to be a better way. Fortunately, Ramsey's manager had seen a presentation by the San Diego-based startup Seismic.

"In addition to Seismic, we looked for other appropriate solutions, but found none," says Ramsey. "So we conducted a quantitative evaluation of Seismic against an existing internal solution." Ultimately, Seismic was selected over the internal solution for its intuitive interface, Apple iPad compatibility and subscription-based pricing.

After signing a contract with Seismic in the late summer of 2012, Ramsey collaborated with two other MassMutual colleagues to dissect the existing Guide and map all the elements. This information was passed on to Seismic for development of the MassMutual platform.

Then, in November, a hurdle arose. "When we were about three quarters of the way along, the decision was made to revise key elements of Employer Planning Guide, which impacted the mapping logic," says Ramsey. "We were already working toward a February 2013 launch, at our group's annual conference, where we could train our 18 account managers and sales support specialists simultaneously.

"Seismic was incredibly accommodating," she continues. "They not only listened to our needs but they also showed us when the outcome would be different than what we envisioned. Essentially, they helped us help ourselves."

About a month before the rollout testing began, five people tested a number of employer plans, simulating the types of plans likely to be created with the tool. "Throughout the process Seismic's developers quickly made adjustments as we identified them," says Ramsey. "Frequently it was overnight so we had something to review in the morning."

Content creation time slashed

After a smooth launch in February 2013, the Seismic tool successfully reduced guide production time by about 85%. "The time required to create a Guide dropped to under a half hour," Ramsey says. "Our account mangers loved it."

Since then, plans have developed to expand the tool to MassMutual's executive group life product. And, with Ramsey's move to the Retirement Services Division, an adoption being piloted by that unit may drive the total MassMutual user base into the hundreds.

"With Seismic, we create one source of the truth, eliminating multiple versions each customized by the individual end user," says Ramsey. "We can give salespeople flexibility while still retaining control and ensuring output of consistent, quality material that is compliance-department approved."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's ...