Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial logo

Company Information

Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Manulife Financial Inc. [NYSE & TXE: MFC] is a global insurance and financial services company with 28,000 employees and agents in 15 countries, principally in North America and Asia. In a highly competitive field, Manulife is embracing technology to continuously enhance their relationships with employees, partners, employees and other critical stakeholders. In 2004, Manulife completed the acquisition of John Hancock and Maritime Life creating the second largest insurance company in North America.


With its global reach and need to remain competitive, Manulife decided to evolve its current Lotus Notes website into one that included a true, web-based site. To make this evolutionary stage, Manulife engaged Prescient Principal Consultant Toby Ward to assess their current environment and to develop the necessary strategic plan and blueprint for building a web-based, knowledge management worksite – a comprehensive, single-point access, interactive gateway to internal business tools and knowledge within Manulife.
Additional work included the creation of a redesigned portal, governance model, editorial-content policy, user research, prototype testing and an intranet merger plan and portal design for the new combined company of Manulife Financial and John Hancock.


Phase I
— A rigorous assessment of Manulife’s current website included a benchmarking exercise that examined the best practices of more than one dozen leading website companies, interviews with 35 key stakeholders at Manulife, and a review of existing Manulife employee research. This assessment led to a complete blueprint plan of more than 250 pages, with more than 50 strategic and functional recommendations, a business case with several million dollars in ROI potential, complete information architecture, wireframes and a design concept, with content, governance, management, and phasing recommendations.

Phase II
— Subsequent phase work saw a complete redesign of the site which included user surveys and focus groups as well as information architecture development, design concepts, project management of the build, prototype testing, governance model (roles and responsibilities), and editorial/content policy.

Phase III
— Manulife merges with Boston-based John Hancock and Halifax-based subsidiary Maritime Life to create the North America’s second largest insurance company. Manulife again engaged Prescient Digital Media to spearhead the strategy and planning of a combined company intranet portal – integrating the intranet assets of all three companies. The mandate: to establish a proven, timely, and short-term common intranet platform for all employees in all areas at minimal cost.

In December 2003 and January 2004 Prescient undertook an assessment and formal evaluation of the intranet environments at Manulife, John Hancock and Maritime Life, which concluded with a working plan, design concept and recommended technology solution for launching a new company website gateway in May 2004. The project included a business requirements analysis, a six-point evaluation of the three intranet sites, and a benchmarking of leading best practice companies. The project was approved by Manulife and John Hancock executives and the new combined intranet gateway launched in May 2004.