EMC Insurance Companies

EMC Insurance employees deliver more accurate, more accessible information through Mediasite.

EMC Insurance employees deliver more accurate, more accessible information through Mediasite. EMC Insurance needed to quickly, accurately and consistently deliver timely information and on-going training to employees, regardless of location.  To conduct training, EMC either conducted conference calls and transmitted document images using dial-up modem technology or sent managers to remote sites. Both processes were expensive and time consuming.  EMC Insurance turned to Mediasite to create and control the delivery of their content in one seamless solution that did not require highly trained operators.

Mediasite is now used across departments to cost-effectively deliver reliable and accurate information to over 2,300 associates nationwide. The result has been improved productivity, better time management and reduced travel expense.  As associates experience how easy it is to operate and view, annual use of Mediasite continues to grow.

At a glance

  • Dispersed workforce required efficient technology for training
  • Mediasite enables EMC to distribute content to remote servers where users can access it on-demand
  • Managers can train employees consistently regardless of other day-today demands
  • Improved reliability, accuracy and frequency of internal and external communication to enhance overall productivity

Challenge

EMC needed technology that would allow staff to capture and deliver timely information to employees. Before discovering Mediasite, EMC often conducted meetings over their intranet or sent staff to on-site training for new product roll outs. While this was adequate, it was expensive with 21 remote locations nationwide. In addition, it was difficult to do timely follow-ups as people changed jobs within the company or new employees were hired. As a result, ongoing training was often left to local staff, which over time, could result in presenting inconsistent or even incorrect information due to miscommunication.

For more than a decade, EMC had studied trends in videoconferencing, but were never sold on the process because of its complexity, cost and the need for certified operators. EMC also had some locations that did not have access to the required ISDN lines. While the new digital video over IP offered cheaper prices, easier use and more stability, they still had the project constraint of not interfering with the company’s current data transmission.

At one point, EMC used dial-up modem technology to transmit document images and show real-time annotations while in a teleconference. However, this still required that a home office content specialist be present to lead all training whether there was one student or 20; and while the instructors and students viewed the tool as an improvement, the technology had limitations and was not stable in large group settings. In fact, the original solution they purchased proved to be a short-lived transitional technology that was soon obsolete as vendors moved to more stable IP platforms.

EMC decision makers wanted a technology that would allow content specialists to share information quickly, accurately and consistently. They also wanted to avoid a pay-as-you go solution which would force them to pay high costs to produce their own content. And, being an insurance company highly dependent on information, they wanted a system that would not interfere with their daily data flow, or require highly specialized and technical operators/editors. The concern was that a multimedia specialist trained in production techniques could not be retained at an insurance company for a part-time function.

Solution

“We knew from the onset that we wanted to create and distribute an enormous amount of content and did not want to depend on a provider who forced us to work through them only creating another step in the process,” said Cary Bergman, associate technical analyst. “Mediasite allows us to create and control the delivery of our content in one seamless solution and also allows us to view content as many times as we like – similar solutions we looked at did not allow for this all important feature.”

Once a request for Mediasite has been placed, the content specialist contacts Bergman to inform him of the details surrounding the request. Bergman takes great pride in ensuring that Mediasite is accurately setup to capture content EMC employees used to disseminate internally and externally.

“Convenience and flexibility were the driving forces of our adoption,” explains Bergman. “We have complete control over when, where and what we record and publish. Mediasite completely meets our communication and training needs. It has also allowed us to disseminate numerous other important communications to enhance our overall productivity.”

Result

Presentations have been developed by the data processing department, the marketing team, multiple claims employees and human resources staffers. The HR team presents life-saving safety information with Mediasite, such as an appropriate first response when someone is injured at work. Additionally, new employees in some departments are required to view a pre-determined number of presentations as part of their job descriptions.

Bergman’s team uses Mediasite as a training tool on topics ranging from how to use the company’s internal email system to how to deal with various insurance claims. EMC safety experts just captured four presentations regarding ergonomics. Currently, EMC Claims Technical staff is developing a series about the company’s claim system. EMC executives also create a quarterly presentation about the state of the company.

EMC currently has one Mediasite Recorder with plans to expand its use. “We have increased the usage of Mediasite every year we have had it,” said Bergman. “The first year we captured 31 presentations and we are up to 32 this year already in just the first four months. To do 32 presentations in the first third of the year is just amazing.”

“Mediasite has definitely exceeded our initial expectations,” said Bergman. “IT management was interested in the ability to easily store the content and deliver it when needed by the viewer without any additional plug-ins or software. Essentially, we move Mediasite content to servers in each remote location after production. Users view a list of Mediasite presentations on their desktops. When they select one, the link is directed to their server and the content is delivered directly to them when they need it. This solved the project constraint of not interfering with the daily data flow. This also had some pleasant surprises. Early on, we tried to keep the content to logical ten to 30 minute productions. This was seen as easier on the content specialists, however, it has been a great asset to the students out in the remote areas as well.”

“The short training segments allow the students to easily fit their training into their workday on their schedules. They no longer have to set aside large blocks of time, nor do we, as a company, have the difficulty of trying to schedule training sessions across four time zones. Another great feature we found for this is the ability to put the Mediasite presentations on CD. We have developed a system that allows our at home users to order a Mediasite presentation on CD through our supply system. This allows them the convenience of viewing the presentation when they want without having to be connected to the network.”

Bergman and others are hoping to expand the number of presentations conducted throughout the coming year. “The more people who view the Mediasite presentations, the more ways we imagine using this exciting communications technology,” he said.

“Overall, Mediasite has been the right tool for EMC and our unique training requirements. It is easy and inexpensive to operate and it has been received well by the teachers and the students,” said Max LaBlanc, lead analyst at EMC. “The number of productions for 2006 has already exceeded the total for 2005 and we still have more than six months to go. In addition, only half of our prospective users are involved, so we anticipate growth for a number of years to come. I would also like to note that the Sonic Foundry people have been very good to work with and we look forward to a long term relationship. “

About EMC Insurance Companies

Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, EMC Insurance Companies (EMC) is built on more than 90 years of serving policyholders and independent insurance agents. EMC provides property and casualty insurance products and services throughout the United States and writes re-insurance contracts worldwide. Employers Mutual Casualty Company, the lead company of EMC Insurance Companies, is licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Today, EMC has grown to become one of the largest property and casualty companies in Iowa with more than 2,300 employees nationwide.