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Risk Management Firm Bets On Social Business

Marsh built the habit of sharing around its social learning environment. Now it plots the next steps for a social business strategy.
Long term, Marsh is likely to look to get out of the business of developing software if it can find a platform that meets its needs, Brooks said. However, over the past few years this approach worked well, with Red Rover taking an agile software development approach, hosting software and making sure that Marsh University stayed current with upgrades to the components of its platform, such as WordPress.

"It was great for us to be able to ride the wave of an ecosystem like the one around WordPress," Brooks said. "I would always keep an eye on Chatter and Yammer and Jive, and we sometimes were ahead of where they were. Oftentimes whatever they were describing was something we already had, sometimes with a more simple way of expressing it. Now, a lot of that technology has caught up. Marsh is not a software company, so we're evaluating whether there is an opportunity for us to stay current with social technology using one of these platforms."

Marsh is also interested in the concept of providing a common "social layer" that integrates with multiple enterprise applications, Brooks said. Other next steps include:

-- Exposing Marsh University (or a subset of it) to potential new hires. "We're thinking 'how could we engage in them peek of what the company is like and get them to understand our role in the world of commerce, our position in our industry,'" Brooks said. The company already provides a public landing page that articulates some of Marsh's social business bragging rights.

-- Inviting participation from insurance carriers for social collaboration on the supply end of Marsh's business.

-- Social collaboration with clients.

The last of these would be the most compelling, Brooks said. "I haven't seen too many companies crack the use of social for B-to-B, but everyone seems to be talking about it." Some clients do business with Marsh in 30 or 40 countries, "where the footprint or maturity of the business in each country might be different," so the collaboration challenge would be great but so would the potential payoff, he said.

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Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)