I am pleased to be back for my sixth Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. Here is a link to a summary of last year’s notes. During the event I interviewed Jeff Schick, VP, Social Software at IBM. Jeff and I have spoken before and he updated me on some of their recent moves. I also attended his keynote the next day.
Jeff started by discussing some of the issues with social business. Social software is generally intuitive so people of all generations can use the tools. The challenge is building a thriving and engaged community that takes advantage of these new tools. At IBM they are looking at how to get value quickly from the new tools to encourage the success of these communities. Social business is not just about small incremental improvements but it holds the potential for transformational improvements in the business. IBM can provide skilled people to help with social business implementations and gaining engagement.
I asked about use cases and Jeff said to start with a business process. I could not agree more. Look at what people do and what you want to change. He gave an example through the work they are doing at TD Bank Group. TD is using IBM enterprise social networking software to improve employee collaboration, information discovery and sharing. With a global team of 85,000, TD employees across North America can now easily find experts, get answers to questions, recognize accomplishments, share ideas, and communicate and collaborate across geographies.
More than 4,500 blogs are spreading across the bank, and almost 4,000 Communities have been formed. Those numbers keep growing daily at TD. It’s still early since TD launched Connections (November 2011 in Canada and January 2012 in US), but the bank is starting to see a number of positive outcomes to drive business value across the organization. Connections is helping to: build stronger, more connected teams, increase collaboration, improve communication – they’ve already seen a reduction in meetings and email volume, all of which ultimately impacts TD’s bottom line and employee experience.
Here are a few specific examples of ROI that TD is realizing: Better Communication, Time Saved: Senior district leaders need to continuously coach, motivate and lead their sales and customer service teams across each of their 10-15 branches. Connections is being used by some district leaders to provide recognition and business updates. Previously recognition and business updates were filtered through branch managers in email, meetings or conference calls. Now through direct communication in IBM Connections, one hour per week is saved on the process of providing recognition and business updates. Instead of going through the extra step of communicating through the branch managers, information can be sent directly to the teams via Status Updates, Board Posts and Community engagement.
Productivity Increased: Field Marketing Managers (FMMs) plan community or market specific events to drive business to TD branches/stores. In most cases market or community events such as branch/store openings can easily be replicated in a different region through minor local adjustments. There was a reduction in duplication of efforts by FMMs from Maine to Florida through sharing information such as event plans, promotional materials and lessons learned within their team Community.
Better Communication: Colleen Johnston, TD’s Chief Financial Officer, needs a direct line not only to her organization but also to the Women in Leadership initiative she leads. Through using a forum on Connections, Colleen was able to hold a live conversation with employees across TD on the topic of ‘Women in Leadership’ on International Women’s Day. There were 181 questions, answers and comments during the one-hour interactive conversation. These employees gained insight and advice directly from one of TD’s most respected leaders. The conversation continues to be available for others to benefit from.
Jeff went on to discuss the need to align internal processes such those described above with external efforts with customers and business partners. This is one of the reasons I like the term social business rather than enterprise 2.0. For example, IBM looks at relevant content on Facebook and LinkedIn and brings it inside the enterprise to analyze it and develop responses. They also look to leverage social content with their business partners.
Jeff mentioned the TD Bank Group social application in his keynote the next day. He also introduced a manager from LeasePlan who talked about how they are building the “corporate brain” through IBM Connections. They did a pilot with 3 business units to test cultural differences and engagement among their global employees. There was so much demand and buzz around Connections, they had a waiting list to join the program and senior management was encouraged to move ahead with a full deployment Using English was an option to encourage people to contribute in their own language to encourage participation.
Adoption was a main focus at LeasePlan. They made participation optional and created a promotional video. They called the program LinkedPeople. They had testimonials from a variety of employees in different roles and different countries. They respected cultural differences. They intentionally used people who were not native English speakers. Everyone has a profile to let each person find the right colleague for their own question. He showed an example of question and response. One goal is to socially enable business processes. He noted that the corporate brain has grown while he was talking.
Jeff came back and talked about integrating social technology with IBM Watson. He demoed a community focused on healthcare that was connected to Watson. People could ask healthcare questions to Watson that are either simple or complex. This is a great application for Watson.