NFP Educational Platform Discovery: Retirement Plan University
NFP approached PINT to work together to identify and validate opportunities for education in the retirement plan sponsor community. The two main goals for the project included identifying messaging for the marketing website that would attract new students and refining the types and formats of educational material in which plan sponsors would be interested.
In order to do so, PINT conducted an extensive discovery effort that involved stakeholder interviews and customer surveys. Simultaneously, PINT established functional and technical specifications for a Learning Management System (LMS) and conducted a technical discovery for LMS solutions in the marketplace.
As a result of stakeholder interviews and customer surveys, PINT created a sitemap and low-fidelity wireframes for an educational platform, Retirement Plan University. This platform will educate retirement plan sponsors on their duties and the associated liabilities of plan sponsorship. Retirement Plan University will provide supplementary value for existing NFP clients and will be available to the general public through an easy-to-access educational portal.
NFP is a leading insurance and benefits broker and consultant in the financial industry. Services range from commercial insurance, corporate benefits, private client resources, estate planning, and wealth management.
Location: New York City, NY
PINT Services: Stakeholder Interviews & Customer Surveys, Requirements Gathering, Functional and Technical Specifications, Feature Prioritization, Learning Management System Consulting, Information Architecture
Technology: SurveyMonkey, Talent LMS, Absorb LMS, Skyprep LMS
Many retirement plan sponsors are not 401k, 403b, or 457 experts. Being a plan sponsor is usually not their primary job responsibility, but they are responsible for the outcome. With few plan sponsors being able to focus on retirement planning for much of their work time, it becomes a low priority. The challenge with this is that plan sponsors usually don’t realize the extent of the liabilities involved with being a plan sponsor.
As a provider of retirement plans, NFP strives to educate and empower their customers to comply with the fiduciary responsibilities and duties of a plan sponsor. Currently, NFP is educating clients through seminars, but this does not have the reach that an online solution might have. NFP wants to provide an online education platform that will inform plan sponsors and make it easier for them to do their jobs well.
PINT’s solution was trifold:
Research is crucial to acquiring a clear understanding of user needs, behaviors, and habits as they relate to the Retirement Plan University project. The data collected in discovery informs PINT’s design and production recommendations.
Interviews with NFP stakeholders were a primary source of discovery information.
PINT interviewed key stakeholders with three goals in mind:
1. Understanding NFP’s needs and goals for the platform
2. Understanding the value a service like RPU will provide
3. Understanding the needs and goals of the target users of the platform
We aggregated the results into a written discovery report diving deep into interview takeaways such as user characteristics and pain points, expected benefits of the platform, and proposed features.
Based on the answers received, PINT identified key themes, goals, features, and decision points. Plan sponsors are busy, retirement planning is not a priority, they don’t understand the extent of the liabilities involved, and the knowledge of fiduciary responsibilities can be inconsistent within committees.
Consistent with the objectives identified above, the primary benefits of the platform, as described by stakeholders, are that it addresses a gap and need in the marketplace, it’s a practical solution with tangible benefits, and it’s more flexible than other training options.
Two versions of a customer survey were created with input from NFP — one for current NFP clients and one for the general public. Covering similar topics, the survey aimed to understand:
- The user’s role in their organization
- The size of the organization
- Their understanding of, and confidence in executing fiduciary responsibilities
- Their interest in an online learning platform for retirement planning education
PINT aggregated survey responses into a written report that provided an overview of customer details, educational preferences, product interest, fiduciary challenges, and proposed solutions.
Based on the answers received, the idea of an educational platform was validated and insight into educational preferences were identified.
Many of the respondents also indicated videos and interactive learning as the preferred method of learning about retirement plan topics.
Functional and Technical Specifications + Technical Discovery
The content and functionality considerations identified through discovery were based on the interviews PINT conducted with NFP stakeholders, as well as customer survey data. With this in mind, PINT created user stories and conducted customer journey mapping. Through the stories and potential paths customers may follow, functionality and messaging were identified.
Functional and technical specifications of the LMS solution for the educational platform were as follows:
- SalesForce integration
- Other 3rd party integrations
- Extent and quality of the API
- Support provided by vendor
- eCommerce capability and features
- Course & content types supported
- SSO capability
- Mobile capability
- Custom branding options
- StorageCertification management
- Analytics / reporting
- End user engagement
- Reviews and ratings on credible B2B software review sites
- User experience / usability
PINT narrowed the marketplace down to a shortlist of three LMS solutions in the marketplace: TalentLMS, Absorb, and SkyPrep.
We identified features from the top three LMS solutions found during technical discovery and worked with NFP to prioritize them using the MoSCoW method. MoSCoW is a technique used to reach a common agreement on stakeholder values, in addition to placing a level of importance on requirements. All requirements should be attempted to deliver in order of Must Have, Should Have, and Could Have. However, Should Have and Could Have requirements will be the first ones to exclude from launch if timeline is threatened.
With the feature list solidified, PINT created a preliminary sitemap and wireframes. A sitemap is a visual document that represents each page of a site and their relationship to each other.
In this phase the focus is on:
- Including the right kind of information for our key audiences
- Clear labeling of pages and information for ease of recognition
- Establishing a clear organizational pattern or hierarchy of content to optimize navigation and findability of key content
The four deliverables of the project were:
- An in-depth written discovery report that reviewed and tied together stakeholder interviews, the customer survey, functional and technical requirements, and recommendations for next steps.
- An in-depth written report that broke down the customer survey by role.
- Functional and technical requirements for the educational platform (LMS) and marketing site.
- A short-list of recommended LMS solutions for the educational platform.
One of the key benefits of the discovery project was validation of NFP’s idea to develop an educational platform. Validating and refining ideas upfront before any development work or tool purchases have been completed is a much more cost-effective way to go to market.
NFP customers and the general public are in need of an easier way to onboard and educate new retirement plan sponsors about their fiduciary responsibilities and liabilities, as well as a way for retirement plan sponsors to freshen up their knowledge in a constantly changing regulatory space.
As a result, the next steps for NFP are to engage in user experience design, visual design, and development. In the user experience (UX) phase of the project, PINT designers will work with key stakeholders to translate key pages into wireframes, the initial visual specifications of the site design.
The focus in this phase is:
- Mapping out key content and functionality on specific pages and across user flows to support our key use cases
- Visualizing the content as it will be laid out on the site to accurately communicate the platform’s value
- Ensuring that user actions are clear and supported by the right content
- Thoroughly understanding, and reaching consensus on site specifications before moving into visual design and implementation
We’re looking forward to creating this useful education platform with NFP.
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