by Lisa Banks

CommBank launches whole of bank intranet

Jun 16, 2010
Collaboration SoftwareE-commerce ServicesInnovation

The Commonwealth Bank has deployed a new intranet that focuses on social networking and collaboration.

Commonwealth Bank solution delivery manager Scott Suine spoke about the transformation of the bank’s intranet into an integrated, collaborative tool designed to lure Gen-Y employees to the organisation. The shift was announced only days after the bank launched a new look NetBank.

Suine spoke at the Australian SharePoint Conference in Sydney and outlined reasons why the intranet needed to be updated.

“The intranet had an inconsistent look and feel and content for the bank was being managed by five people. It was a real hogwash of different styles. We didn’t know how many people used the intranet and there were no useful analytics. Believe it or not, it was 2009 and there was no search engine across the site,” Suine said.

Suine said while there were 50,000 to 60,000 pages on the intranet, only 30 per cent were up to date and contained relevant information. There were also some 13,865 phone calls made to the bank’s helpdesk each month regarding the intranet and the site took two to three days to update.

“There was no collaborative channels. Trying to get content onto the intranet was near impossible. We’ve now introduced more collaboration and are moving the intranet into the new millenium,” he said.

The bank chose SharePoint for the upgrade and Suine said the goal of the project was to get 80 per cent of the some 45,000 staff members using the intranet to create a collaborative workplace using Web 2.0 tools.

“We introduced the idea of using blogs, podcasts and vodcasts. Unless you’ve got these tools available to everyone, you’re not going to be the employer of choice for the new generation coming through.”

“It fitted in very nicely with out larger strategy with our whole collaboration strategy around the bank,” he said.

In addition to introducing social media applications, the intranet now contains a personal portal where staff members can access contact information about other staff through an application similar to LinkedIn.

“It contains information in a style similar to LinkedIn. Staff can do a bit of micro-blogging and keep people abreast of what they’re working on at a certain time,” he said.

It has now been 18 months since the project began and according to Suine, there are only a few sites to migrate and this should be completed “in the next few weeks”. Suine said help desk calls have fallen by 50 to 60 per cent and the costs of operations have plummeted.

“Everyone who has joined has agreed to pay toward the cost of the platform. They pay for their content to be used on the system,” he said.

“We all had in the back of our minds a strategy of how the platform would grow and new technologies would be taken on.”

The Commonwealth Bank is not the first to use collaboration to reduce costs in the workplace. Last month the NAB announced it had reduced travel expenses by 40 per cent thanks to collaboration in the workplace.