Enterprise 2.0 Preview: Collaborative Tools Gird Wachovia's Global Push

Wachovia is embracing Wikis, blogs, instant messaging, social networking sites, Microsoft's Sharepoint, and other collaborative tools to connect staff, cut costs, and retain and attract younger employees.
Finally, the effort is also meant to help Wachovia retain institutional knowledge. As older workers retire their experience can be preserved in digital form. "It's a problem almost no one is doing anything about, but these are the perfect tools," said Fields.

Wachovia is rolling out the project in stages. It launched a pilot program with about 1,000 workers in December, extended it to 10,000 in February, and availability to all of its 120,000 employees was targeted for completion by the end of May.

Among the more popular tools in Wachovia's Enterprise 2.0 portal are the wikis, according to Fields. The bank's first effort was a wiki designed to capture and define the numerous three letter acronyms used throughout its operations. Fields says it represented "a non-threatening use case" designed to introduce the bank's employees and managers to wikis while sidestepping any controversies. The wiki quickly garnered more than 900 entries, said Fields.

Shortly thereafter, Wachovia created a wiki dedicated to ideas to help it go paperless. It's now piloting a full, encyclopedic wiki and also plans to roll out tools that will allow individual business units to quickly post wikis for individual projects.

Fields says Wachovia does not specifically regulate what employees can and cannot post on its wikis and other online forums. "They're governed by our same codes of conduct that apply to written communications, voice mail, and e-mail," said Fields.

To date, there have been no problems. Fields notes that Wachovia maintains a large theater for staff meetings at its Charlotte headquarters. "There's nothing in the world that prevents employees from jumping on that stage and screaming something inappropriate, but they don't do it," said Fields.

Ultimately, Wachovia will extend its Enterprise 2.0 network to customers and business partners, but carefully and gradually. "We'll be more conservative about how we roll that out," said Fields, noting privacy and security considerations. Ultimately, however, "this is going to change how we all work," said Fields.