TD Bank Gets Social, Cashes In on IT-Business Teamwork

A smooth and efficient business-IT partnership was imperative to TD Bank's successful enterprise social network deployment. Here's how they worked together to bring collaboration to more than 65,000 users.

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Tue, July 24, 2012

CIO — Five years ago, TD Bank Group recognized that social media was on the brink of becoming big. "We knew social would be creeping into the workforce and we wanted to be ahead of it," says Wendy Arnott, vice president of social media and digital communication. The question was how to go about it.

"Our leaders have always been interested in hearing employee opinions," Arnott says. "Every time they met with employees face-to-face, they said how much more connected they felt, and how many great ideas there were. We asked ourselves, 'How do we amplify that?'"

At that time, TD Bank's corporate intranet had the makings of something social, but it wasn't quite there. Arnott says employees were able to comment on items posted to the intranet, such as corporate news, accomplishments and process changes. But the company wanted something more, and started to consider an enterprise social media solution.

"Enterprise social media would give us a competitive advantage: If we got employees more use to using social tools at work, los of good ROI would come of that, we thought," Arnott says. "Employees in our workforce are of many backgrounds and ages, and we wanted to capitalize on that knowledge."

Building the Social Committee

TD Bank started by establishing a committee comprised of senior leaders from the company's main businesses and departments, such as wealth, U.S. retail, Canadian retail, the HR department, TD Bank's CMO and its CIO, Glenda Crisp. This team, called Next@Work was tasked with rounding up requirements from the various business units.

TD Bank's IT department, which is made up of 8,000 individuals and services more than 85,000 employees, had a number of requirements it wanted an enterprise social networking solution to meet.

[11 Promising Enterprise Social Networks]

"TD has well-defined policy around vendor selection, so first we looked for a match against our business/functional requirements, which included security, compliance and privacy capabilities," Crisp says. "Then we looked for alignment to our technology standards as well as scalability, flexibility and performance. Finally, we considered the capability of the vendor to continue to develop the product into the future. This includes their commitment and ability to partner and grow with us in the future."

Once requirements had been determined, Arnott says the two teams—Crisp's team and her own—came together to merge the requirements, focusing on what the business really needed and what would actually work in their organization.

"We wanted to do this right and we knew the space was moving fast, but if we chose a partner that would fit in our requirements and allow us to grow over time, that would be the ideal scenario," Arnott says. Ultimately, they signed with IBM, and the project got underway in January 2011.

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