A Case of Document—and Organizationwide—Collaboration

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Article ImageThe World Bank Group was founded in 1944 with the goal of helping developing countries across the globe further develop their infrastructures. Through the technical and financial support the organization provides, World Bank assists these countries with funding (through such means as low-interest loans) to help them build stronger programs in areas such as health and education. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., World Bank has about 10,000 employees across the globe with a membership of 185 countries.

Business Challenge
The World Bank processes $20 billion worth of loans every year, with about 250 people managing such processes. The World Bank’s controllers vice presidency (CSR) needed an effective tool with which to create, publish, and disseminate its business process documentation. The bank wanted to avoid duplication of efforts and control costs in the process. Also important was the need to create a tool that could train and support the bank’s employees as the organization rolled out a new enterprise system for the bank’s loan administration functions.

Champions of Change: The Knowledge Dissemination Division in the Accounting Department (ACTKD) and the internal IT group of World Bank
The Knowledge Dissemination Division serves World Bank’s employees with knowledge management, content management, learning, business analysis, communications, and service desk support. The internal IT group is the central IT unit for World Bank, and is responsible for developing technology solutions to enable the bank to conduct its business processes. The IT group comprises a team of more than 800 individuals (including contractors), with five devoted to this particular content management initiative. 

The Problem in Depth
The previous document-related processes were inefficient. Documentsweren’t always published in a timely manner, and a document’s existencewasn’t always known—oftentimes a duplicate document was unnecessarilycreated from scratch. The World Bank needed a more efficient system fordocument creation as well as a process that would enable equallyeffective dissemination of the documents.

"We wanted the publishing process to link to the document process,"says Prasanna Lal Das, senior program manager (controller’s andstrategic resource management, knowledge dissemination). Two main goalswere to ensure documents were published quickly and that they wereupdated just as frequently. In addition, Lal Das says other challengeswere to put users in control, to make the system easier for them touse, and to make the information more usable in the process.

Lal Das’ job was to conceptualize the project, which includeddetermining cost benefits, testing with users, finding the appropriatevendors, overseeing the building of the application, and coordinatingthe learning of the new system, as well as changing managementprocesses.

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