I think more
be taking this route,
particularly those that have
a lot of knowledge workers,
although I think it can pay
off for companies in almost
DAN OLDS, ANALYST,
GABRIEL CONSULTING GROUP
like Facebook to communicate. By 2007, the
bank formally began using social tools, first
publishing articles on its intranet and then
allowing employees to offer advice or ask
questions, Arnott said.
Yet, said Crisp, Canada-based staffers like
herself generally “weren’t able to see [and easily
communicate with] the U.S. employees.”
That has changed, she said, since late last
month when TD Bank completed a broad
rollout of IBM’s Connections collaboration
software to 55,000-plus workers in Canada and
to more than 28,000 in the U.S.
“Now I can see all of my U.S. colleagues and
[can] search for their expertise,” Crisp said.
“I’ve never been able to do that before.”
TD Bank selected the IBM software after
evaluating social collaboration tools from 20
vendors, Crisp noted.
The rollout started with a pilot program for
less than 1,000 people last August.
The software was available to workers in all
Canadian facilities by November, and to all
U.S. employees by late last month.
“A lot of companies tend to start smaller
and go division by division,” Arnott said. “We
decided the power of social is in numbers, so we wanted every-
one up there at once.”
The implementation team faced a challenge in integrating
Connections with TD North’s corporate single-sign-on system,
but Crisp said that the problems had more to do with the compa-
ny’s complex technology environment than with IBM’s software.
TD Bank executives wouldn’t reveal the cost of the project.
Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, said the
problem faced by TD Bank isn’t unusual among large companies.
“Companies have tried various ways to get employees to collaborate more in the past, but with somewhat limited success,” he said.
The rise of consumer social networks has shown I T executives
the potential of systems like the one TD Bank deployed, Olds added.
“I think more companies will be taking this route, particularly
those that have a lot of knowledge workers, although I think it can
pay off for companies in almost any industry,” he said. “At some
point, it will be an accepted part of a company — like email.” u
TD Bank Unites
The bank deploys a collaboration tool to encourage
brainstorming among its widely-distributed 85,000-
plus workers. By Sharon Gaudin
BUILT VIA A SLEW OF MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS, TD Bank Group in recent years had seen its employees lose the ability to easily collaborate with one another as its workforce grew rapidly across the United States and Canada.
“It was really hard to find [internal] experts and know who to
go to for different issues,” said Wendy Arnott, vice president of
social media and digital communications.
“We needed a way for people to communicate and help each
other,” added Glenda Crisp, vice president and CIO of the Toronto-
based parent of TD Bank, TD Canada Trust, TD Waterhouse, TD
Auto Finance and other financial services firms. “[Employees]
needed to be able to work together more effectively.”
TD Bank Group says it has 19 million customers and more
than 85,000 employees, mostly in the U.S. and Canada.
Arnott said that as the bank grew over the past decade or
so, executives noticed some employees using social networks