State Street: Social Business Leader Of 2013 - InformationWeek
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State Street: Social Business Leader Of 2013

Learn lessons from the global financial company, which will be honored at the E2 Conference for social collaboration on a large scale.

That was in 2009. What followed in 2010 was a broader business and IT transformation initiative, and the team driving that also required a collaboration environment to work with. This prompted a more formal "bake-off" analysis of the major players in enterprise social networking, including IBM, Jive Software and others. "When it comes down to technology, they all had about the same thing," Waryas said.

However, State Street had become a "SharePoint shop" ever since adopting SharePoint 2007. Although there was a need to consolidate sites and institute better governance, SharePoint was so established as a standard for document sharing and other forms of collaboration that "we realized we weren't going to be able to fight the SharePoint beast," Waryas said. The recommendation to the executive team was "we're not going to fight this, and we're not going to stand up two separate platforms," she said.

Although SharePoint itself wasn't a complete social solution at that time, Microsoft made an introduction to NewsGator, which has made a business of filling in the gaps in SharePoint as a social platform. Even with the enhancements in SharePoint 2013, NewsGator continues to leapfrog SharePoint while aiming to steer its own course.

The collaboration team Waryas established also recognized that it had been a mistake to deliver SharePoint as an IT initiative divorced from a broader corporate strategy on information management. By establishing many pockets of collaboration activity, State Street had denied itself the possibilities of global collaboration across the organization. So part of the project became chasing down the many separate SharePoint sites that had been established and folding them into one social collaboration network. Since SharePoint can be used for things other than straight collaboration -- for example, as a platform for application development -- there are still SharePoint instances that will escape this dragnet. As a rule, however, the firm has ruled that teams should collaborate in groups within the enterprise social network, rather than on separate SharePoint sites.

To rationalize the SharePoint network, her team has been checking the activity logs for each site to see if it is being used and checking that there is a site administrator actively managing it. If not, they shut it down. They are applying the same sort of discipline to community management on the social platform, sunsetting communities that aren't being used. "I'm ... watching over what communities get stood up and facilitate weekly calls" with community managers, Waryas said.

To make social collaboration fit the security concerns of a regulated industry, State Street applied an existing information-classification policy to communities, with tightest restrictions on those who work with highly confidential or sensitive information.

As she did with the customer platform, Waryas established a champions program to promote the use of the social intranet, which has about 1,000 people signed up and 400 actively engaged. They also serve as an advisory body to discuss concerns about governance and community management.

The next phase of the project is to pull all intranet content into the social network. At the same time that the social collaboration project was moving forward, a marketing-led brand alignment initiative had been aggressively consolidating Web portals, including those used for internal communication. Unfortunately, they had been doing it on a different technical foundation, IBM WebSphere. Now that content needed to be migrated once more, to SharePoint.

"We decided we needed to rationalize what we had, in terms of content management, for the sake of making things readily accessible," Waryas said. To be effective at boosting productivity, the network needed to make content easier to find in a search.

Longer term, she "absolutely" sees potential for integrating business applications with the social network. For example, as part of its transformation program, State Street is creating operational dashboards to help fund accountants track trades, and there ought to be ways of integrating those dashboards into the social network or adding social functionality to the dashboards, she said. "If your fund has an alert on it, we'd like you to be able to click on it and see what's going on with that fund -- and then have a person picker, where you could have a subject matter expert pop up as a contact." However, such enhancements won't get past the strategic planning stage this year -- what's funded for now is getting the basics of social communication and collaboration right, she said.

The social intranet is also focused on boosting adoption. State Street Collaborate will be welcoming users who had been excluded in the past, such as investment advisers who initially couldn't be supported on the platform for lack of a way to archive their social communications, as required under financial industry regulations. Including those people should make a big difference because many of their coworkers were reluctant to invest time in an employee social network if it didn't include everyone.

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David F. Carr
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
6/6/2013 | 2:42:50 PM
re: State Street: Social Business Leader Of 2013
Does your organization belong at or near the top of this list? What can I do to get more firms to nominate themselves next year?
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