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Live @ Lotusphere 2012: IBM Customer TD Bank Makes Major Social Business Deposit

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So are you feeling social yet?

C’mon, it’s day 2 of Lotusphere and IBM Connect 2012, get with the program!

My alarm clock had another big fail this morning, but fortunately my neurons were so in tune and excited about day 2 of Lotusphere 2012, that I sprouted up just in time for the morning keynote once again.

Starting Day 2: Getting Down To The Business Of Social Business

If I were to summarize this morning’s session, I’d have to say Day 2 is about getting down to the business of social business, moving well past the “whys” and into the practicalities of the “hows.”

IBM VP Mike Rodin kicks off day 2 of Lotusphere 2012 with a discussion on finding one's way to the real business value of social business

But first, IBM executive Mike Rodin set the stage for Day 2 with a few prefatory comments.  He explained that there are a number of key forces driving the market need for social business, and that we’re witnessing some major changes in people’s behaviors.

Notably, he observed the rise of the empowered individual.  And I thought for a moment, and said, wait a minute, he’s talking about me!  No, not me, specifically, but all of those of us who have an entrepreneurial bent in organizations large and small, who just want to get good work done and make a difference for our businesses and who now have the tools and technologies to facilitate that type of action.

He explained this new milieu is changing the way we all work, and that roles and connections are being forever changed across both internal and external networks.

McKinsey On Social Business: 90% Of Companies Realize Real Business Value

Rodin then brought to the stage Michael Chiu, a senior fellow with the McKinsey Global Institute.  Apparently, someone on the staff forgot to remind Mike Rodin that he  was the one interviewing Michael, as Rodin left for the exits.  Very funny, very human moment, talking about social business!

Rodin quickly made his return and set right in to getting some red meat from McKinsey, as Chiu explained his team had been studying collaboration in the enterprise for over 10 years, and observed that though IT has been great at learning how to improve the efficacy of physical and transactional processes, with knowledge work, that hasn’t been as much the case.

But, he explained, we’re getting there, and are on the cusp of the “S-curve” towards better understanding how to improve those knowledge worker processes, and the rise of social is adding fuel to the fire.

Rodin responded by asking how companies can use capabilities like microblogging for business benefit, and Chiu expanded the aperture with his answer by explaining you can never fully know how people are going to use the technology, but if you can develop some level of hypothesis based on the general adoption, you’ll be surprised where you will find the most benefit.  Then, you have to learn how to scale and extend it across the enterprise.

Wendy Arnott, VP of Social Media and Digital Communications at TD Bank America, explains to the Lotusphere 2012 audience how even a heavily regulated industry like banking can move into the social business realm.

Rodin acknowledged this by observing that McKinsey’s own data suggested over 90% of companies using social today are deriving hard ROI, and Chiu echoed this, explaining that fully 70% of them were reporting real business results.

IBM Customer TD Bank: Make Social Part Of Your Culture

Perfect time for IBM customer, TD Bank, in the form of Vice President of Social Media, Wendy Arnott, to enter from stage left, to help demonstrate not only to the IBM audience, but to the world, what real social business leadership looks like.

Some background on TD Bank: They’re the 6th largest bank in North America, with some 19M customers and more than 85,000 employees working in over 3,000 locations, including in branch offices, trading floors, and even home offices.

Ms. Arnott started TD Bank’s social business pitch explaining that their corporate social mission had to jibe with the company’s key values, including staying true to their belief of “building for the future.” She and her associates were always trying to figure out how they could take their business to the next level, and that because the world was changing, and her fellow employees and their customers were operating in new ways, were driving new expectations of the bank.

And yet, there were constraints for moving into social business: TD Bank operates in a highly regulated industry, and yet, they recognized incremental improvement wasn’t enough.  To win, they needed to change the game.

They started by engaging in conversations with their customers through a social media customer service team, a logical place to do so, and a launching point for other companies trying to move into social business.

But TD Bank didn’t stop there.  They decided to focus on three key imperatives that would guide their social strategy development: Align with their core values, deliver real business outcomes, and acknowledge and face their risks head on.

Soon, they found themselves breaking through some formerly taboo issues. The bank wanted to expand its business by staying open on Sundays.  Through a transparent employee jam, employees, rather than booing the idea outright, came around and were eventually enthusiastic about the idea, recognizing it would make TD Bank that much more competitive.

Good Ideas Can Come From Anyone

Another win: A CSR in a brand had an idea about changing a simple paper process to digital that would prevent customers from having to make a physical trip to the branch office.  It wasn’t a completely new idea, but now, with crowdsourcing, hundreds of other employees chimed in and rallied behind the idea, and the next thing you know it was sitting in front of executives, just daring them not to support the idea!

With each step, TD Bank was embedding social in its core business processes.  Little by little, they were able to bring down the walls of resistance, even in the regulatory environment.  On that front, they again brought the key risk mitigators into the discussion, made them core to the brainstorming, and were able to find common ground and, as a team, identify the major risk inhibitors, and soon found many shifting their perception from risk to opportunity.

So what were the lessons learned in all this?  Arnott explained there were several, and left the Lotusphere 2012 audience with this very actionable set of “leave behinds”:

  1. Leadership matters. At TD Bank the entire senior exec team believed in and supported the Connections roll out from the beginning.
  2. Build a dedicated social team.  This has to be someone’s job.  Every day, all day.
  3. Form great partnerships. Things don’t just happen in a large organization.  HR, communications, privacy, marketing, IT…they all need to come together to forge a set of shared beliefs that will get social efforts off the ground.
  4. Get into the weeds.  The devil’s in the details, even when they rock the boat.  Be prepared.
  5. Engage employees. They get it, and they can advocate on a large scale and quickly.
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