Collaborate or a Return to the Dark Ages

Even though technology is evolving at a rapid pace I am still surprised at the lack of collaboration tools which are being adopted by the financial services industry.  It is interesting that as an internet user I have a plethora of tools available to me when surfing the net and speaking to friends however when I am looking to purchase services I am still limited to either locating my chosen products on a usually badly constructed website or to fall upon the sword and actually attempt to go into an outlet who naturally are unable to comment on the products available online.  Of course I do also have the option to ring a call centre and hang on for ages, spend endless minutes choosing different ACD options or even speaking to an advisor who really doesn’t understand me.


Last week I participated in an online discussion on “Web2.0” tools usage within the Industry and I was surprised the hear all of the blockers being sited as reasons not to use them (fear of Brand damage, security Issues, can we trust our staff) I did raise the point that staff are able to blog etc in the consumer space and we could not stop them there so why try internally.  My organisation allows blogging and this encourages Innovation, lets not stifle it.


I was however pleasantly surprised this week when I was listening to an interview with Jean Holme the Chief Knowledge Architect at NASA whose chief responsibility is to organize their knowledge management activities ranging from the internal / external content of their websites, public communications and their engineers collaboration.  She explained that their goal is to contribute to peoples day to day lives.  They achieve this by addressing their community through, online discussion forums; advanced search tools and an internal version of Facebook for collaboration.  In addition to these internal tools they also have an external presence on Facebook and use Second Life for interviews with astronauts and following landings etc.


Therefore isn’t it time that all mediums of customer communication are considered by the financial services industry rather than assuming that the customer is happy with the motto “My way or the highway” as I certainly would then revert back to my favorite brands rather than ones which actually can service my needs on the web.


Author: Steve Wakefield

Steve Wakefield is an experienced Innovator presently based in London.

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