Get me to the swim meet on time

By Joe Shepley posted 12-16-2011 05:57


I was in Toronto this week and, other than the unseasonably warm weather I enjoyed, also had a great conversation with a client that crystalized some things for me about how Enterprise 2.0 methods can transform information sharing. He works for one of the Big 5 Canadian banks in retail operations, and when I asked him if he used social media in his personal life, he said no, but that he lived vicariously through his wife and daughter who both were avid Facebookers.

He then told the following story:

I was taking my daughter to a swim meet and on the way there we realized we didn’t have the address. I told her to call the coach to find out where we needed to go, and she said “okay” and began typing on her phone. Annoyed, I said, “Aren’t you going to call coach? Honey? Yoo-hoo? Sweetie, stop typing and call the coach already.”

“Got it,” she interrupted, and gave me the address. “And by the way, Meghan’s dad said to avoid the last mile of the highway, cause it’s bumper-to-bumper.”

Puzzled, I asked her how she found all that out so quickly. “Facebook. I just posted the question as my status and Meghan saw it and responded.”

For him, it was an aha moment about how social media could transform information sharing. With a few seconds of typing, his daughter not only got the answer to her immediate question, but something beyond it: advice on how to cut time off of her trip.

Consider her other option: calling the coach like her father asked. Best case, the call would have pulled the coach away from what she was doing to answer a question that, clearly, didn’t require the coach to answer it. And it probably wouldn’t have provided the added information on traffic conditions, since the coach likely got to the swim meet hours before.

After he told the story, we spent a good half an hour riffing on how this use of social media might play out in his bank’s operations, from retail sales associates to back-end processing. Picture a new sales associate at a branch, for example, who has a question about how a particular flavor of mortgage should be processed or the specifics of its terms.

Sure, they could find someone at the branch who should know the answer, or page through FAQs, desktop guidelines, or product sheets, but first they need to know where these resources are and second, it’s going to take time to comb through them to find the info they need.

Picture instead the same employee posting a question to the internal community of other bank employees, much like my client’s daughter, and not only the speed of the response, but the possibility of getting additional information the employee didn’t even know they needed—the time saved and errors avoided by having up-to-date information and additional relevant context would be significant…and that’s just one interaction for one employee. Multiply it across thousands of employees across the bank, day in and day out, and you begin to glimpse what a mature E2.0 capability would do for an organization.

The final word

Despite the visionary optimism of this a part of the conversation, my client also shared some of the things holding his organization back from reaching this E2.0 end-state that were not only significant, but also things I hear clients in every industry say.

In the next post, I’ll go into these in some depth and present some thoughts on how to resolve them (or at least work in spite of them) in order to move forward as an E2.0 organization.

#expertisemanagement #e2.0 #banking #knowledgemanagement