Creating a Culture of Collaboration at Deutsche Bank

How do you get a highly-regulated company – one of the world’s largest and most competitive banks – to collaborate using social media? This talk provides a compelling set of lessons for morphing a conservative, hierarchical organization into one that’s agile and embraces community-driven change.
Deutsche Bank

Sounds like information I need.  And, since he’s in IT, playing a key role in leading this effort at his company, he’s a guy I need to follow as well.  Done.

John Stepper, whose job it is to solve collaboration at Deutsche Bank,  leads this conversation, one from which I’m hoping to glean very important pieces of information.  No pressure, John.

After many attempts, DB is solving more and more collaboration problems at work.  Why do they care? The top 20 bank generate over a trillion in revenue and spend over $50B on IT per year.  There are also over 2M people who work at those top 20 banks and could be served by enterprise collaboration solutions.

There are lots of reasons to say no.  But, saying no doesn’t add value in most cases or solve the problem.

Things that failed

  • Gmail.  Two years ago, they were convinced GMail was going to be awesome.  They had people petition, they ran a pilot, and they couldn’t even get to a contract.  Security policies could not be changed to accomodate GMail and GMail didn’t want to change either.  I really agree with this one.  I have yet to see Google succeed in the enterprise space.
  • Yammer.  The letters of regulations that they had to fulfill could not be performed with Yammer.  I agree with this one as well.  How can you risk your intellectual property with an external microblogging service?

Things that worked really well

With help from the teachings of Seth Godin, Clay Shirky, Etienne Wenger, and Malcolm Gladwell, they learned there wasn’t one single approach that would work, but a hybrid of these.

  • Start with a wide focus.  There are concentric circles of risk, so stop focusing on the most problematic and start looking across the organization.
  • Microblogging.  It’s with their “The Wire” tool that they learned to talk to and listen to their constituents.  Often times, it can be the first step to gaining traction.
  • Blogging.  Some people don’t care, but it’s a step you can take to move from conservative to more open.

But, then it felt like they had some solutions and they were looking for a problem.  One of the key learnings is that they needed to solve real problems within the enterprise.  To do that, a key step was to form an internal collaboration practice.  So, instead of selling the platform, the service was intended to show people how to solve their specific problem in:

  • client serv ice
  • building communities
  • product development
  • real-time feedback
  • employee engagement

A second key step was to link people who cared.  So, they started a collaboration community of practice which included local evangelists and lynchpins (like IBM’s BlueIQ) to tap into the people who care about the topic and want to help.  It also empowered them to do things differently.  It enabled them to maximize value through collaboration and standardization.

The goal for Deutsche Bank is to touch more people and to make more money as they do it.  They do it with lightweight tools right now and are waiting for their enterprise to mature to bring in a more powerful platform.  If a custom integration needs to be done, they feel the pain of coding that.

John’s session was one of the most personally valuable to me.  But, I think DB is less complex and mature than HP is in this area.  Good lessons (and failures) to learn from, though.  Thanks, John!