NAB upgrades service through knowledge management

Organizational changes sweeping through the National Australia Bank (NAB) continue to influence IT projects and the company intranet is being ramped up to improve knowledge management.

The bank will make organizational changes and will ensure all documents in its two data warehouses are web-enabled to improve availability of internal information to staff. The changes are expected to steadily increase the 25,800 static page documents on the NAB intranet.

The IT decisions echo NAB's strategic direction of creating more customer-focused business units. A change management program has been one of the drivers in the bank's expansion of its intranet, according to Marcus Falley, Web information analyst at NAB, and will give NAB business units responsibility to publish their respective Web content. This is a task which IT staff previously handled.

A Notes shop, NAB will roll out IBM's Lotus Workplace Web Content Management system across the bank so the units can publish documents. NAB IT staff have tailored the program to automatically capture and/or add metadata required for documents to be easily found on the intranet.

A natural language search engine, Autonomy, is a key component of the intranet, but NAB is still tinkering with the search engine after it replaced a $400 "short term solution" that was used for three years, Falley said.

He said the bank has done considerable work in mapping the content management system and database fields to metadata tags to ensure data can be easily found via Autonomy, which lets NAB index any database in its two data warehouses.

To identify how users can find what they want faster, the bank's intranet development centre monitors 190 profiles of Web usage by groupings such as business units and management levels.

"We had an average 2.5 page views per visit in the search engine results, now we're at 1.5," Falley said.

Falley said the changes have already benefited workflow.

"One extranet has to field calls to support technology - computers, phones." Even though the intranet provided the information, staff were answering the questions by phone calls. That's changed, he said because, "It was cheaper [for users] to discover that information."

Once the new metadata procedures were adopted, calls were reduced, Falley said.

NAB also now requires that external suppliers of Web content meet its metadata standards before the bank adds such content to its site.

The bank plans to later roll out role-based portals for searching Autonomy, Falley said.

"We have a task-based taxonomy which is being introduced," he said, where previously the bank had a structure-based taxonomy which was a problem as "only management could find [information]".

Both structural and task-based searches will be available to NAB staff in a browser-based system once the CMS and portals are rolled out, he said.

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