Chris Plescia, IT Leader, Collaboration, Nationwide

SuperNova Award Category

CoIT & The New C-Suite

Future of Work

The Company

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit

The Problem

In 2011, Nationwide was using a host of internal collaboration tools including IBM Connections, Xerox DocuShare, Confluence and JSPWiki, but unfortunately none of these tools were seeing a lot of adoption. This meant that employees lacked a centralized place to share, search and discover all business-related files, groups and sites, so they wasted time searching for information and ultimately duplicating content that probably already existed.

The Solution 

There were two main objectives in initiating this collaboration project: 1) Build a solution that gives employees the tools they truly want to use, and 2) Drive culture change. IT leaders at Nationwide were interested in building a solution “by associates, for associates”, so they focused on asking employees what specific tools they needed to execute their jobs. One of the biggest priorities was putting Search at the forefront of this tool, so associates could have a seamless experience searching for any content, people or conversations they might need to access in order to get work done.

The Results 

“Spot”, Nationwide’s social intranet built on Yammer and SharePoint, has generated three specific business results:

● Engagement – Associates at Nationwide are more engaged, better connected and have access to the expertise needed to get work done.

● Efficiency – Spot enables teams to work faster and reduces the duplication of work.

● Cost Savings – Nationwide is saving $1.5 million year over year.

See metrics below for data backing these claims.

The Technology:

Enterprise Social Network, Yammer, Inc.

SharePoint, Microsoft Corp.


● When Nationwide began this project, there were 15,000 members on Yammer. As of this submission, there are over 30,000 registered users.

● Engagement on Spot is now at 20% on weekly basis and 50% on monthly basis, which is significantly higher than past levels of engagement on any other collaboration solution used at Nationwide.

● Problem solving takes place collaboratively in real-time on Yammer. Specifically, in the first month after the roll-out, calls to the internal help desk dropped massively. Whereas there were typically thousands of calls per month, the help desk received less than 50 calls during the month immediately following the implementation of Spot.

● Prior to Spot, Nationwide was spending $3 million annually on a number of collaboration tools that weren’t actually seeing much adoption. By eliminating those tools and sticking with Yammer and SharePoint, the cost is $1.5 million annually, resulting in $1.5 million savings each year. Additionally, there are no maintenance or upgrade fees for Yammer which is a cloud-based solution.

Disruptive Factor

A lot of companies have intranets, but are they usually aren’t social and they often don’t update in real-time. This project was innovative and disruptive because it took an existing technology and made it social, forever changing the way associates communicate at Nationwide. Employees can find answers to questions quickly by searching the site – and if their query doesn’t return the desired results, the social component provides a real-time communication mechanism enabling one to many conversations, transforming the way work gets done.

Shining Moment

For Nationwide, “Spot” is just as much about giving associates a tool they truly love using, as it is about getting work done. Watch this video to get a sense of the genuine excitement at Nationwide around Spot: