Canada's Scotiabank is using technology from Microsoft to introduce an internal Web 2.0 social networking platform aimed at encouraging information sharing and collaboration among its staff.
Based on Microsoft's Office SharePoint Server 2007, the platform enables employees to share, store, organise, search and manage information using blogs and wikis. As part of the programme, the bank is creating online user profiles for staff members.
Scotiabank, which is currently piloting the system at its international division, says the technology will transform how staff share knowledge and best practices.
Commenting on the move, Robert Fournier, SVP, enterprise architecture and methodology, Scotiabank, says: "By leveraging the knowledge and experience of the Scotiabank team with a business focused social networking platform we are enabling staff to better serve customers by sharing best practices and identifying experts and skill sets regardless of geographic and organizational boundaries."
Dan Bloch, director, financial services, Microsoft Canada, says the SharePoint system includes native support for wikis, blogs and RSS feeds as well as privacy and security mechanisms so that employees can connect and share knowledge via a customisable and security-enhanced interface.
Last month Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) launched a financial advice blog written by students that can be accessed via its fan page on social networking site Facebook.
RBC has selected six full time post-secondary students at Canadian universities to write daily blogs on money management, which along with videos, are available through the bank's Web site as well as the "RBC Bankbook" page on Facebook.
Last year analyst house Javelin Strategy encouraged banks to open their own blog sites as a way of strengthening brand management and customer loyalty.
The US research firm surveyed over 3500 consumers and found that one-in-five read blogs, rising to 34% among the more affluent tech-wise surfers.
But the study found less than one per cent of financial institutions had opened blogs, and Javelin warned that banks are largely losing control of discussion about themselves in the 'blogosphere'.