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Another web 2.0 initiative “behind the firewall”: Scotiabank launches a social network for staff

Most large organizations, banks included, struggle to share information and leverage the breadth of knowledge available internally. Most of them still work in silos.

Expensive Knowledge Management or Human Capital Management systems are available, but now I am glad to see more and more banks leveraging web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis and social networks.

Yesterday, Canada’s Scotiabank announced the launch of their internal web 2.0 platform. The “social networking” platform is based on Microsoft’s Office SharePoint Server 2007.

MS SharePoint is an excellent collaborative platform, but I wouldn’t describe its out-of-the-box version as “a social networking” platform. Yes, You can create your profile on your MySite section. But the bank still has a lot of customization to do such as adding new “lists” (fields) and improving the layout…

I have spotted an interesting fact in the article: “As part of the programme, the bank is creating online user profiles for staff members.”

Does it simply mean that the bank will create their employees MySite on their behalf? Or are they going to pre-fill the profiles with basic information only or extra info available on their cvs?

Every social network’s top 2 challenges are to increase its member base, and the quality of their profiles. There is no point having a profile on Linkedin if people can’t find you!

Whatever the platform, engaging with your employees is the real challenge
With “behind the firewall” projects, I believe the challenge lies in educating people, convincing them, urging them to contribute. The platform needs to be simple to use and intuitive, period.

You can roll out “the best” social networking platform, but the success of your initiative will mainly rely on the quality of profiles, the adoption of the platform from your employees, and their (valuable) contribution.


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