Social in Insurance -- Overhyped or unused?

With over 66% of top financially performing companies leverage social in their processes and over 80% positive impact on trust for CEOs who openly communicate on social,  social can mean power to some and hype to others.

In the next 3-5 years the use of social media by Insurers will increase from 4% to 51% as one of the most important mechanisms to engage customers according to IBM CEO study.

Is this because of hype?   I don't think so.   Financial Services has always been a “social” industry – we are now just shifting from F2F and phone to more online interaction; mirroring the shift of our customers and employees.  The leading FSS companies are using social to explain changes to the financial environment and to provide increased clarity around specific products – partially due to changing regulatory requirements, but also to build trust.

Financial Services as a sector suffers from a major trust gap – social is a powerful capability for building trust

Financial Advisors are using social to engage clients and prospects – using social compliance capabilities to provide support for suitability and records retention.  Many financial companies have embraced external social media for brand promotion, engagement, and marketing. Leading financial companies have also brought social capabilities inside the firewall.  Regulatory requirements necessitate active social compliance monitoring and reporting

Complex, expert-oriented activities (e.g. commercial or specialty underwriting) can be faster (social collaboration) and more accurate (engaging the right people).  Networking social capabilities into traditional core insurance and financial services business processes and legacy systems can create dramatic value while leveraging investments you have already made.

Today I am at Prudential for their Technology Leadership Conference and we will discuss these topics and more!  I'd love your thoughts - especially if you are in the industry!

Clash of Civilizations - email in a Social World!

Global E-mail Patterns Reveal “Clash of Civilizations”

The global pattern of e-mail communication reflects the cultural fault lines of thought to determine future conflict, say computational social scientists.

Researchers analyzed a global database of e-mail messages, and their locations, sent by  more than 10 million people over the space of a year. The results suggest that the pattern of connections between these people, clearly reflects the host civilizations. In other words, the way we send e-mails is a reflection of the mesh of civilizations that is an important driver of future conflict.

Social Business Governance: Relationship over Rules

I have been meeting with a lot of clients and see a lot of discussion around governance and structure required.   In a survey done in 1Q 2013, we see 2.7X the focus on developing social business governance. 
Because there is no natural organizational owner of “social,” an effective governance structure must balance  responsiveness and inclusiveness. 

Being inclusive means engaging stakeholders early and broadly to build shared understandings and expectations.  Responsiveness provides for clear accountability and speed in decision making.  The  challenge is to build governance structures and processes that accomplish both.

Having a relationship with your employees not just rules makes a huge difference in how successful you are!

Achieving the transformative value of becoming a Social Business involves connecting all parts of the organization (including channels, partners and customers) in new ways.  It often requires quite new ways of managing people, flatter organizations, and significant cultural change.  While becoming social provides individual flexibility, it’s important that the change achieves the unifying value for the company  of the new goals and culture. 

A strong governance program facilitates coordinated change.  The governance is led by two complementary leadership groups who’s members include the major “organizational structures” (e.g., LOBs, Finance, Supply Chain, HR, Channel Management,  …). 

The first, the Executive Sponsor Group, defines the strategic linkage and goals   of becoming a social business.  Members are leaders across the organization.  The second is a Digital Council.  These are executives who are responsible for the organization-wide, execution creation of the Social Business plan.  The representatives are often the social business leaders in their respective LOBs and functional areas, which ensures focus on the vertical and horizontal needs.


The Digital Council focuses on the key areas of a social program:

  • Community Management – Provides a common approach to drive change and adoption at and across the LOB and functional level.  It includes actions like community management, Content Management, community analytics, and best practices.  While the focus is value at the  LOB / functional level, the governance processes has a Center of Excellent that shares best practices to create a common social voice and approach across and outside the organization. 
  • Metrics and Measurement -  Covers all elements of data and measurement.  Starts with analytics / listening to guide the where and how to engage socially.  This includes internal analytics of social networks, expertise, and projects, as well as the external listening and analytics.  This group also is responsible for creating and automating the overall program measurements to track success, progress on the plan, and social return.
  • Reputation and Risk Management – Focuses on 3 main areas:  1. regulatory risk and compliance(if relevant),  social record retention for general discovery, and other legal and financial risks;    2. policies, guidelines and processes for the organization and associates to participate in social media (for example, IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines); and    3. proactively managing the organization’s reputation and having a defined plan to respond to various levels of negative media or emergencies.
  • Standards – This group focuses on process and technical standards for a social business.  While LOBs, major business functions, etc. require the freedom to build their social programs tailored to their needs, the Standards group ensures that the overall company can be nimble in connecting across boundaries in ways not always anticipated.  Standards for brand and ways of connecting with partners, channels, clients, etc. ensure that the company is viewed as coordinated and focused on needs vs. a “collection of parts.”   On the technical side, a common social business framework enables the new ways of working.




Social Business Adoption Best Practice #9: Brand Army!

Happy Monday and grab that coffee!!!

Today's Social Business Coffee Break is about forming that important Brand Army!

Let me know your thoughts!

Social Business Coffee Break! Adoption Best Practice: Reverse Mentoring

Happy Monday!   This is our 8th Best Practice for Social Business Adoption.

It is all about Reverse Mentoring -- a great best practice!

Tell me what you think!

Big Data & Social Analytics are a powerful multiplier in predicting & preventing acts of violence

In the US, we have experienced some acts of violence. As President Obama stated shortly after a recent tragedy, “We won’t be able to stop every violent act, but if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try.”

What if there was a new emerging technology that has proven that some of these violent acts can be detected and prevented before they occur? 

Over the past eight weeks, several violent acts on school campuses throughout the United States & Canada have been successfully stopped through the use of “Social-Network-Intelligence-Policing”.  For example, last week at City University New York in Staten Island, a student was arrested after threatening to shoot and kill students at the CUNY campus in Brooklyn, New York.[i]  No students or faculty were injured.  On February 8th, 2013 in Kerns, Utah a high school student was arrested after he threatened to blow up his high school.  School police checking out the threat found a photo of explosives and put the school on lock down.[ii]  No students or faculty were injured.  On February 5th, 2013 in Murrieta, California a high school student threatened to kill his teacher.  The student was arrested before he could carry out his planned attack.[iii]

Research data shows that individuals, or groups of individuals who plan to conduct violent acts, most likely will post their intentions or a manifesto on public (non-private) social network sites just prior (8 – 72 hours) to initiating these violent acts or attacks. A small window of time exists where law enforcement and school faculty can legally monitor, detect and interdict these events before they occur.

In all three of these recent cases, the GEOCOP System ( alerted law enforcement or school faculty to these emerging violent acts before they occurred.  GEOCOP stands for Geospatial-Common-Operations-Picture and it fuses social network monitoring and analytics services with geospatial data to give law enforcement predictive insights into emerging threats and events.

The recent emergence of “Big Social Network Data Monitoring, Analytics and Collaboration” technologies provide law enforcement and government agencies a powerful and legal force multiplier in predicting and preventing acts of violence on our school campuses.  Several State Police agencies across the United States use this system.  The GEOCOP system is another fantastic example where innovation and enterprise social network technologies are making a real difference in protecting our children and school campuses.




Note – The GEOCOP Solution is owned by Global Technologies Solutions (GTS Corporation) and is exclusively sold by HMS TECHNOLOGIES CORP.  The GEOCOP and TACTrend Solutions are built on IBM’s Social Business Software Technologies which include WebSphere Portal, SameTime, IBM Connections and IBM Analytics Technologies.




Note – The GEOCOP Solution is owned by Global Technologies Solutions (GTS Corporation) and is exclusively sold by HMS TECHNOLOGIES CORP.  The GEOCOP and TACTrend Solutions are built on IBM’s Social Business Software Technologies which include WebSphere Portal, SameTime, IBM Connections and IBM Analytics Technologies.

Social Business Coffee Break On Adoption from #SXSW! #socbiz #ibmsocialbiz

Happy Monday in the Great Austin Texas!

Today we are on step #7 of the Top 10 Best practices for Social Business Adoption!

As a reminder, here are my top 10!

adoption pic

So here's the best practice on Motivation!!

Adoption Best Practice #7! Motivation!

Social Business Tip of the Day: Sentiment Matters! #socialbiz #ibmsocialbiz #ibmconnect

What is Sentiment?  Per the Free Online Dictionary, Sentiment is the measurement of  thought, view, or attitude, especially one based mainly on emotion instead of reason.   So really, a view on whether someone is positive or negative about a company, brand, or idea that is in the blogosphere.

Sentiment is the way that people view what you are doing either positively or negatively.   A Social Business needs to be able to analyze sentiment and filter by concepts, hot words and media sets to have a complete comparative analysis by comparing positive, negative, neutral, or ambivalent sentiment.

Sentiment Analysis helps a Social Business make evidence-based messaging decisions with analysis into consumer and stakeholder sentiment.   It adds value in assessing  precision trends and changes in perception of your corporate reputation and reaction to campaigns.

In addition, it can help you identify and target new channels to drive greater advocacy of your products and services with key influencers based on an analysis of sentiment   For example, the effectiveness of your campaigns’ messages and their impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions as well as the resonance and believability of their promise is valuable information.

Social Business Tip: Social Infinity and beyond! #socbiz #ibmsocialbiz #ibmconnect #sxsw

To infinity and beyond!    Since I was a math minor in college and so I saw the Infinity sign in my daily tasks and fell in love with it!  Infinity is the unlimited extent of time, space, or quantity, or in plain English .... boundlessness.

Just on a POP note!   Today it is one of the most popular necklaces because it represents endlessness ... (just ask my daughter who walked me through 4 cities looking for an infinity sign necklace that was in stock -- they are hard to find!)  I am sure New Dimension has a lot to do with that!!!

Social Infinity:  But in Social, it is money for your business because it represents the endless cycle of engagement with clients, and the knitting together of the employee and the client!  The engaged employee is key.

Engaged employees are those who know the company’s values and are empowered to leverage those values with their partners and clients. They know their role and understand how to reach out to the right expert. These new social employee are about commitment and success.

An engaged employee yields an engaged Client! 

This Engaged client is one who is attentive, interested, and active in their support for your brand, product, or company. The depth of their conversations online showcases their knowledge and care. They recommend and passionately advocate on your behalf in the blogosphere -- they become loyal Brand Ambassadors -- speaking on your behalf!

A brand ambassador is a person who is passionate about your brand and references you as a normal course of business usually done socially!   And that makes you as a company a more desirable company!   Becoming an infinite loop of success and money!!!


Addendum:  The funny thing is I wrote this before my call with Janet Powers from the Women's Tool Box!  And she had the exact same thoughts!!

womens toolbox

Case Study: Create a great EVENT using Social! #ibmconnect #socbiz

I love to share case studies and here is one from our superstar IBM team in Europe!   Mark Osborn's (@mark_osborn) leadership was the driver to a very successful joint Sales and Technical Education event .

He leveraged Social to drive all the core and key elements in the event:  

  • Ideation:  Creation of the agenda based on the team's  suggestions.  First requests for topics were collected in an Activity. Common themes were organised into tracks and relevant speakers identified.  Everyone voted for speakers and topics
  • Continuous Improvement.  The speakers could see the requirements from the team and posted draft agendas back to the Activity for comment, further honing their pitch.
  • Realtime Reaction.  During the event agendas and updates were made available via an event wiki.
  • Immediate Usage.  After the event speakers posted their presentations on Connections Files with the event tag, creating an event presentation feed.   Several of our speakers, were virtual and presented via LotusLive & Sametime Web Meetings
  • Best Social tools used!  Leveraged IBM Connections

The team in Europe created a 'Ideation Blog'.   This is a blog set up for using the collective intelligence of an entire team to create ideas and build upon each others thoughts.   They took the suggested with the highest number of votes to create the agenda - there was a very high number of topics that were very popular!

And this was the Feedback from the team on this years event 97% satisfaction   This demonstrates that the social approach to planning the event was not only highly effective, but created a much stronger sense of ownership with the participants, encouraging them to feed-back.

europe ideation