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The future of work with Prudential’s insights platform

The insurance business is changing, as the traditional friendly handshake over the dinner table is replaced with a swipe on a smart phone. So too is the future of work for all of the people that drive the business, with digital transformation accelerated by Covid-19.

I spoke with Keith Golembiewski, Director of Strategic Insights at Prudential Financial, at this year’s Insights Leadership & Talent Summit to hear how their insights platform has supported these massive transitions since launching last year.

In 2019, Jackie Chan, VP and Head of Insights & Analytics at Prudential introduced their new insights platform, “Artificial Intelligence and Me,” (or “AiME”) to the ILTS conference in Chicago.

She explained their motivation to launch in terms of insights leadership: enable insights managers with fast answers to business questions, so they can focus time saved on proactive guidance. Since then, AiME has seen exponential user engagement numbers and growing popularity within the organization.

Digital transformation in the insurance and financial sectors

As Keith explained, consumers no longer purchase their insurance and financial services from a friendly local sales rep. Instead, they use their mobile phones to order products and services from the comfort of their couch or on the go. These changes have heralded internal shifts as well, and Prudential has become smarter and more agile to ensure they reach and exceed evolving consumer demands. AiME has supported this journey to date by providing three key enablers:

1. A centralized platform for fast answers

On AiME, insights, research, news and data are all centralized in one place, so Prudential’s decisions can be led by insights. In the year since it launched, the value of the knowledge asset on the platform jumped from $30 to $40 million USD, while business reporting was introduced alongside an impressive portfolio of newsfeeds and syndicated sources.

As a consequence, total logins skyrocketed across the marketing and insights community. (As we heard from Jackie Chan, VP Head of Decision Insights Group at last year’s ILTS conference, the platform is “an activation tool for insights.”)

2. Storytelling for proactive guidance

Keith shared that in his twenty-plus years in the financial services industry, simply giving data and facts to stakeholders is seldom the right approach. Instead, he said, storytelling by connecting the dots is critical. At Prudential, sifting through the available data and transforming it into memorable insights stories is easier with AiME.

Instead of getting stuck in the weeds by sharing too much data on massive presentations, they’re able to answer the questions that are actually being asked. While experts used to spend 80% of their time searching for relevant data and insights and 20% storytelling, AiME has flipped that ratio on its head.

One of the opportunities for growth is the development of storytelling skills and understanding what makes a good story: calls to action, characters, drama, suspense and a satisfactory resolution. This storytelling skillset, says Keith, is one that needs practice – but the practice pays off. When stories pack a punch, teams are more agile, they get answers more quickly, and they can help people make decisions without getting overwhelmed by data.

3. Targeted promotion channels

The journey doesn’t end with the story. Once it’s created, AiME is used to actively promote targeted content to the business via digital channels. Noting that 53% of decision-makers admit to cherry-picking data that supports their decisions (Gartner, 2019), Keith explained that insight promotion is key to counter this with a holistic view.

“That’s where AiME provides the capabilities to push stuff out. We’re distributing targeted research to our stakeholders – insights they feel are relevant and can save them time.

With AiME, they know exactly where to go, what to read, and what to absorb – without getting overwhelmed by a lot of documents and research.” Expert channels, promoted search (like Google AdWords) and highly targeted newsletters give stakeholders both the broader picture and the focused information they need.

Looking toward the future: leading with insights

I especially liked the way Keith described the role of an insights professional as someone who puts a puzzle together. “The more pieces you get, the better,” he says, “and that’s what helps deliver a holistic picture to the business. Having one centre of truth helps pull the puzzle pieces together”.

For Keith, leading with insights means leading with impact. “We already have a basic understanding of usage, so the next step is to measure impact, by looking at how a particular insight is used to guide a specific decision.

There’s a lot of data, insights and research, but to be able to track quantitative and qualitative impacts for the company as a whole is essential. AiME and Market Logic are helping us get there. If we didn’t have this type of tool, it would be tricky to come up with impact statements. A centralized view makes this so much easier to do.”

So far, ROI is impressive, says Keith. “AiME has been able to help us win more business, keep our customers happier and enter new markets.” We’re pleased to partner with Prudential on the AiME platform and look forward to supporting them as they continue on this journey.

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