Blogging was where we began, and how we built our company so we have preserved this archive to show how our thinking developed over a decade of developing the use of social technology inside organisations

Social Business Design for the Finance Sector


Earlier this week, I spoke at the SOMESSO Conference in Zürich, held in the beautiful surroundings of the Swiss Re Global Leadership Centre, about Social Business Design for the Finance Sector. The SOMESSO site carries details of other talks and sessions, but particular favourites seemed to be Matthias Kröner on community banking (slides, video), Anne McCrossan on brands and culture in the finance sector, and Marilyn Pratt on How SAP launched an online community to collaborate more efficiently on International Financial Reporting Standards.

My talk started with a brief survey of new developments in externally-facing customer engagement across the financial services sector, such as blogs, social news sites, online communities and new products and services such as Zopa, Kiva, Mint, Wesabe and Covestor. It moved on to argue that the next stage is all about taking these developments, and the learning they have provided, inside the firm to re-write the business operating system and create more successful and less risky organisations.

There are a number of challenges facing companies in the finance sector, such as internal cultural issues and morale (perhaps linked to reorganisation), employee engagement, the socialisation and embedding of new ways of working or new regulations, reducing co-ordination costs, better data flows and early warning systems; and, at least in areas of the sector where there is competition, customer acquisition and retention.

As a quick overview, I looked at three of the main practice areas we work in, and discussed issues, challenges and typical social tools or projects that we are seeing clients begin to address:

  • Workforce collaboration: networked productivity, the power of ‘we’, business social networking and building purposeful internal ties.
  • Customer participation: challenges of the intention economy, social networks as influencers and information filters, and how to do the basics in externally facing customer engagement.
  • Partnerships and service innovation: learning from Kiva, Zopa and other market innovators, leveraging market data and building partner and developer ecosystems.

Finally, I looked at how companies in this sector can build a social business design program, with measurable outcomes, rather than just dabble in social tools without a deep connection to business goals, and I looked at how the ‘lenses’ of our social business archetypes can provide insights into business-wide issues to be addressed. I closed by talking about adoption challenges and how to focus on the basics of supporting existing behaviours as a step towards change.

This is an interesting area and a rich seam of use cases where social tools and social business design can add a lot of value, so we are very keen to learn more about internal needs, projects already underway and new developments in this area. We have internal and external projects running in a major investment bank, big four auditor, an assurance firm and a major equity investment house, but we are very keen to develop a more diverse portfolio in this area, so please get in touch if you are interested in our ideas.

Here is a video of the talk:Here are my slides (slightly revised for clarity):

2 Responses to Social Business Design for the Finance Sector

  1. By Business Market on November 6, 2009 at 4:23 am

    In the private sector of big business it’s a matter of course and now required for the private sector under Sarbanes Oxley for IT governance. Business Market

  2. By personal finance on November 13, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Your post actually describes the facts going on. Continuing reforms in the banking sector were aimed at improving the efficiency and financial strength of commercial banks.