IT Science Case Study: Bridging Gaps in Corporate Comms

eWEEK IT SCIENCE: A Fortune 500 insurance holding company has issues delivering corporate communications and resources.The previous version of the company’s intranet was described as more of a “static newsletter” than a living site. Here's what it did to solve the problem and open the internal communication lines.

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Here is the latest article in an eWEEK feature series called IT Science, in which we look at what actually happens at the intersection of new-gen IT and legacy systems.

Unless it’s brand new and right off various assembly lines, servers, storage and networking inside every IT system can be considered “legacy.” This is because the iteration of both hardware and software products is speeding up all the time. It’s not unusual for an app-maker, for example, to update and/or patch for security purposes an application a few times a month, or even a week. Some apps are updated daily! Hardware moves a little slower, but manufacturing cycles are also speeding up.

These articles describe new-gen industry solutions. The idea is to look at real-world examples of how new-gen IT products and services are making a difference in production each day. Most of them are success stories, but there will also be others about projects that blew up. We’ll have IT integrators, system consultants, analysts and other experts helping us with these as needed.

Today’s Topic: Creating a Unified Repository for Corporate Comms, Documentation

Name the problem to be solved: Genworth Financial is a Fortune 500 insurance holding company headquartered in Richmond, Va. Genworth recognizes that the company’s people are its core strength and is committed to supporting them in the best way possible. A key part of that effort is Genworth’s corporate intranet, which serves to deliver corporate communications and resources. Unfortunately, the previous version of Genworth’s intranet was described as more of a “static newsletter” than a living site. Due to the difficulty in updating content on Genworth’s intranet the user experience was dated and making changes was a time-consuming process.

Describe the strategy that went into finding the solution: Genworth had worked with Liferay to develop the previous two versions of the company’s intranet and turned to Liferay again to build a revitalized third version. In particular, Genworth upgraded its intranet to run on the latest version of Liferay Digital Experience Platform (DXP) and engaged with Liferay’s Global Services division (the company’s consulting arm) to complete the integration. The goal was to provide a better user experience via an improved UI combined with new self-service capabilities. Self-service capabilities in particular would provide employees with greater satisfaction by empowering them to do more on their own.

List the key components of the solution: The entirety of Genworth’s new corporate intranet is based on Liferay DXP.

Describe how the deployment went, perhaps how long it took, and if it came off as planned: Working with Liferay’s Global Services division was described as “immensely helpful” by Genworth’s IT Program Leader, Perry Lombard, in the transition from Liferay Portal Enterprise Edition to Liferay DXP. The new intranet was deployed successfully, while taking into account Genworth’s unique backend and integrations with existing enterprise systems. In the end, Liferay DXP completely replaced Liferay Portal, obviating the need for the older software

Describe the result, new efficiencies gained, and what was learned from the project: Genworth’s third-generation intranet is home to more than 700 sites operating from one platform, allowing the company’s IT department to operate far more efficiently. Individual sites appeal to a wide variety of use cases, including community sites for communal initiatives and a self-service knowledge base aimed at Genworth’s customer service representatives. This improved solution also delivers a modern look and feel and makes it far easier for non-technical professionals to add and modify content.

Describe ROI, carbon footprint savings, and staff time savings, if any: As a result of the upgrade to Liferay DXP, Genworth’s intranet is able to deliver 2x performance, with uptime exceeding that of other internal systems. Genworth now has plans to use Liferay in the development of a fourth-generation corporate intranet that allows users to subscribe to relevant content streams. The company is also looking to leverage Liferay DXP Cloud to take advantage of managed hosting and analytics that deliver insights on how intranet content is performing.

If you have a suggestion for an eWEEK IT Science article, email cpreimesberger@eweek.com.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...