Deutsche Bank uses social media to unite employees

Tools

At last week's Web 2.0 Expo in New York, John Stepper of Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB) revealed some of the challenges of bringing a large, highly-regulated organization into the social age. Stepper, whose mission is to improve collaboration among the more than 80,000 worldwide employees of Deutsche Bank, has already made strong inroads, with 30,000 employees "approved" for enterprise 2.0 tools. 

As it turns out, achieving adoption of these social tools among end users at Deutsche Bank has been the easy part. Stepper noted that two earlier attempts to institute Gmail and Yammer, an enterprise chat client, experienced hockey-stick adoption rates among DB staff, only to be shut down by the company's risk and compliance teams. In the case of Gmail, employees went so far as to petition for its use in the firm, but the legal departments at Google and Deutsche Bank couldn't reach agreement over terms and conditions.

So how does one overcome the regulatory hurdle and make social tools useful? Start small, both in scope and in message. By focusing on low-risk internal functions, Stepper identified a subset of the DB workforce whose collaboration activity would get past the compliance team's filter. Then, to encourage quick adoption, he employed a microblogging platform that would be "lightweight and easy" for teams to start using. That service, called "The Wire," is much like an internal Twitter feed, based on Statusnet, which allows teams within Deutsche Bank to update each other easily.  

With these tools in place, Stepper has now turned his focus to building communities of practice and ensuring that his team is offering solutions to actual business problems, rather than simply tech for tech's sake.

For more:
- see this full recap of the presentation
- follow John Stepper at twitter

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