Enterprise 2.0 Legal Risks, Explained..

My last post helped to highlight some of the key Benefits and Risks associated with implementing Enterprise 2.0 within an organization. I’d now like to discuss the specific legal implications of implementing enterprise 2.0 within the banking sector and use the Commonwealth Bank as an example.

Malcolm Burrows, an Associate at Rostron Carlyle Solicitors, recently presented some of the main legal risks that organizations might expose themselves to, as a result of engaging in Web 2.0 networks:

“Loss of confidential information, Trademark infringement and loss of brand reputation, Copyright infringement, Discrimination, Misleading and deceptive conduct, Passing off, Organizational reputation risk, Breach of continuous disclosure obligations for public companies, Defamation, Privacy, Vicarious liability, Negligent misstatement, Occupation and industry specific risks as they are embodied in organization specific legislation.”

..Burrows, M. 2010. Submarines online – legal risks of social networking for organizations. Retrieved 22/08/2010 from http://www.rostroncarlyle.com/legalarticles/social-media-law-articles/submarines-online-legal-risks-of-social-networking-for-organisations.html

While – possibly – all of these might apply to a financial institution such as the Commonwealth Bank, I would like to focus on some of the main risks, I believe are important considerations in E2.0 deployments.

Trademark Infringement

Commonwealth Bank, (CommBank) like most Australian banks has been slow to join the social media bandwagon and – more specifically – does not seem to have an official Facebook presence. There are several pages on Facebook that have the name – ‘Commonwealth Bank’, none of which appear to have any official support/administration by the financial institution. This exposes a major risk in trademark infringement for the institution. Facebook users, who don’t appear to have any official affiliations with the institution, are running communities that utilize the organization’s trademark, without its consent; this allows potentially malicious content to be posted on the communities by Facebook users, about the bank. The Commonwealth Bank needs to look into this issue and work with Facebook to remove the multiple, misleading pages and to create a new brand image for the bank on Facebook. This will enable the bank to connect with its national customer base on Facebook, and possibly use the service to promote bank services and collect feedback about its operations.

Breach of continuous disclosure obligations

CommBank staff might also expose the organization to legal liability through their online presence/activity. For example, if they specifically endorse/recommend old colleagues on networking sites such as LinkedIn, who might be considering jobs in CommBank, which might be represented legally as a clear conflict of interests. Also, tweeting about daily tasks might reveal sensitive information about the operations of the bank, which might be easily analyzed by the competition. To safeguard against such issues, it is best to implement an effective social media policy which lays loose guidelines surrounding the use of social media for personal/professional purposes. Bank employees need to be instructed in the basic do’s and don’ts of information sharing on social platforms.

Reputation risk

One particular problem with social media is the possibility of disgruntled customers or ex-employees posting defamatory content that directly harms the brand image of the organization. For CommBank, in particular – this poses a particular problem which is difficult to control, especially taking into account, the nationwide customer base. If a customer were to post a blog/twitter update about a bad service experience with CommBank, it could possibly go viral, if left unchecked. It is therefore important for CommBank – and indeed, all financial institutions – to setup social media teams that can monitor content posted online across multiple social networks and develop frameworks for transparent, rapid issue resolution. These teams can then be used to analyse, recommend and initiate the best response in accordance with the social response framework.

This blog on legal risks for financial institutions such as CommBank is far from exhaustive, but the main object is to get the dialogue started. How can we develop better enabling frameworks for Banking 2.0? If this article ever gets to CommBank, or other banks in Australia, I would like to bring their attention to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald which highlights the inadequate social-web presence of financial institutions in Australia, as compared to other industries such as telecommunications & airlines:

..Knight, A. 2010. FB friends with your bank? Retrieved 22/08/2010 from http://www.smh.com.au/money/on-the-money/blogs/well-heeled/fb-friends-with-your-bank/20100615-yckf.html


Enterprise 2.0 | Benefits & Risks

In my last post, I discussed some case studies which highlight how Enterprise 2.0 is being utilized in organizations such as Citrix and Emergent Solutions Inc. A closer examination of the increasing adoption of Enterprise 2.0 best practices exposes several factors that need to be considered while determining the viability of enterprise-wide adoption. We will now take a closer look at the specific benefits and risks for Enterprise 2.0 implementations, as highlighted in a variety of case studies, as also the specific risks that organizations face when employees are not afforded Web 2.0 enabled communication platforms. The key questions to consider are:

What will Enterprise 2.0 do for my organization?

How can I sell/pitch Enterprise 2.0 to ‘Corporate’?

What would happen if my organization decides to block/ban access to Web 2.0 platforms?

Are there any risks in implementing Enterprise 2.0? How can we overcome them?

Enterprise 2.0 | Cause_and_effect

There are certainly benefits to be had, through successful Enterprise 2.0 implementations; these are broadly identified as: Increased productivity/efficiency, Knowledge Management, Increased Reputation / Brand Image and Employee Engagement.

Certainly, harnessing these benefits requires an adjusted focus towards ‘losing control’ over employees. IBM, a mammoth organization that employs over 400,000 people worldwide, has very effectively relinquished this control by empowering employees to engage in social media such as blogs, Socialblue, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. With – literally – hundreds of thousands of employees across these networks, it is little wonder then that the IBM brand attracts over 500,000 people worldwide during crowdsourcing jams. This scale of employee engagement leads to a massive surge in productivity and initiative. The 2006 Innovation Jam, led to the selection of 10 best ideas which IBM funded with $100M, leading to Smarter Planet. Initiatives such as this are a good example of organizations harnessing collective intelligence by engaging network effects without any need for control or policing. Which, in turn, leads to greater knowledge management and enhanced brand image for the organization without any direct corporate direction or input.

..Hibbard, C. 2010. How IBM Uses Social Media to Spur Employee Innovation. Retrieved 16/08/2010 from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-ibm-uses-social-media-to-spur-employee-innovation/

..IBM. 2006. IBM Invests $100 Million in Collaborative Innovation Ideas. Retrieved 16/08/2010 from http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/20605.wss

Perhaps the IBM results might be viewed as an inevitable triumph in an organization believed to employ highly motivated IT professionals. So , here’s an example from a domain that is always described as highly rigid & governed – SBAB, a government owned bank in Sweden. Using the basic steps to Enterprise 2.0 success – Management Sponsorship, Starting Small, Maintaining Informality and Clarity of Vision, SBAB was able to rollout a highly successful Enterprise 2.0 platform for employees in September, 2009. The metrics speak for themselves:

‘A single business unit with 74 contributing users generating over 4000 Wiki articles in just 5 months!’

SBAB E2.0 Growth

Not only does this address all the benefits Enterprise 2.0 has to offer, but it also demonstrates that E2.0 works even for the most rigid organisations with a very high stake in information security and control.

..Hansson, R. 2009. Pizza & Beer – a successful E2.0 launch. Retrieved 16/08/2010 from http://www.e20-blog.com/post/pizza-beer

However, the rapid increase in visibility into Enterprise 2.0 successes is rather marginalizing the documentation of Enterprise 2.0 failures, or so I’ve found. Few organizations would want to admit that they’ve not been able to implement E2.0, at least not successfully. Also, Enterprise 2.0 is best implemented in an organization when there is exists an approved case for it; an emergent risk with this trend is the evolution of E2.0 into a solution-looking-for-a-problem.

..Patel, S. 2010. Articulating the Business Case. In Enterprise 2.0 Prepares for Relevancy. Retrieved 16/08/2010 from http://www.pretzellogic.org/2010/06/21/enterprise-2-0-prepares-for-relevancy/

It therefore becomes important to discuss the risks associated with implementing Enterprise 2.0.

Ross Dawson, a leading Enterprise 2.0 Evangelist, as interviewed by the Australian Financial Review acknowledges that “there are some real dangers in an increasingly transparent world”. However, in his opinion, one of the most common perceived risks is decreased productivity, due to employees ‘wasting time’ on social networks. While this may be a reality, the risks in implementing Enterprise 2.0 call for an abstracted, higher view into the organizational drivers for Enterprise 2.0 implementation and the risks they create. Dawson’s Enterprise 2.0 Governance Framework lists the main risks organizations face as – Productivity, Information Loss, Reputation, Network Penetration, Culture.

..Dawson, R. 2008. An Enterprise 2.0 Governance Framework – looking for input! Retrieved 16/08/2010 from http://www.rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2008/02/an_enterprise_2.html

One such blaring example that highlights a lot of the risks mentioned, is that of the twitter user – ‘theconnor’ – who was offered a job at Cisco; due to an imprudent tweet, ‘theconnor’ was fired from the organization even before being inducted, as reported by Helen A.S. Popkin, of MSNBC.

..Popkin, H. 2009. Twitter gets you fired in 140 characters or less. Retrieved 16/08/2010 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29796962/

There are certainly risks with implementing Enterprise 2.0 in your organization, which result from the heightened visibility into the organization. However utilizing this as one of the sole reasons towards refraining from jumping on the E2.0 bandwagon, can also prove to be counter-productive. Euan Semple, a Social Media consultant quoted in a whitepaper by Melcrum, mentions:

“It’s better to do something than to do nothing, particularly when it comes to large organizations and giving employees a platform to share their views and discuss their working lives.”

Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business in the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a fellow at the Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, states in his blog (in relation to potential security concerns of implementing E2.0) that “people already know how to behave appropriately, and they’re not going to be driven suddenly wild by the appearance of the new platforms.”

..McAfee, A. 2006. Enterprise 2.0 Insecurities. Retrieved 16/08/2010 from http://andrewmcafee.org/2006/11/enterprise_20_insecurities/

I will discuss some specific risks, in more detail, in my next post. Please feel free to comment.

Enterprise 2.0 Case Studies

The benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 are innumerable with more organizations looking to invest in what is arguably the best method of unlocking the tacit knowledge of employees. However, successful Enterprise 2.0 initiatives require business models that are customizable and as radical as the concept, itself. The Wikinomics Model is widely hailed as a dependable set of Enterprise 2.0 principles. It includes the 4 simple concepts of Peering, Being open, Sharing & Acting Global. The following case studies will help highlight this better.

citrix with movabletype

Citrix is a world leader in Remote Desktop Access (RDA), Web Conferencing and Cloud Computing services with products such as GoToMyPC®, GoToAssist®, GoToMeeting®, etc. With record employee growth in recent years, managing the tacit knowledge of employees was fast becoming a challenge for Citrix; a tool that could serve as a single Knowledge Management repository might possibly be the way ahead. Sufficient research by Citrix led them to the perfect solution – Movable Type, an open source, Enterprise 2.0 service. Movable Type enabled Citrix Online to create an internal blogging platform and also provided support for its secure LDAP integration, which was a critical success factor for procurement. This directly enabled peering within Citrix Online by integrating its massive employee base and legacy LDAP systems with the new service, driving easy enterprise-wide adoption. Citrix Online was also looking for an open, web based solution from the start, which could therefore be platform independent and feature rich. The success of the initial deployment led Citrix Online to share the service, enterprise wide. This deployment has enabled Citrix to compete in a global environment by investing in a powerful knowledge management system, which protects the intellectual capital of the company.

socialtext with emergentsolutions

Emergent Solutions is a global consulting firm specializing in leadership and strategy consulting. Relying on a team with specialist consulting and subject matter expertise distributed worldwide, it is little surprise that as the organization expanded, the need to ‘Harness Collective Intelligence’ assumed strategic importance. Christine Cavanaugh-Simmons (Founder & Managing Partner, Emergent Solutions) was quick to envisage the potential benefits of deploying Socialtext as both – a knowledge management solution for consultants and a highly effective service delivery platform between consultants and clients. To enable peering, a Socialtext Workplace was setup to allow consultants/coaches to host project information and collaborate through the service delivery effort. This – essentially – facilitated collaboration not just internally, but also externally with clients. In addition to this, internal communities were setup to enable social networking targeted at ‘lessons learnt’ through consulting projects. Sharing the content and project experiences openly helps foster a feeling of team spirit which enhances productivity. Emergent Solutions currently establishes individual Socialtext Workplaces for all its customers, globally. Emergent Solutions also deployed Socialtext Signals – an Enterprise Microblogging solution from Socialtext – to share project updates and news as well as customer successes. These lessons learnt have helped Emergent Solutions establish itself as a Consulting 2.0 pioneer, globally.

There are several highly successful Enterprise 2.0 deployments, worldwide. However to create enabling frameworks for Enterprise 2.0 successes, it is important to highlight the associated critical success factors. According to Andrew McAfee, these factors basically involve Technologies, Support and Culture. Carefully selected tools which are freeform, egalitarian and social, support for initiatives with incentives and clear goals and organizational culture based on trust, support and information sharing, go a long way in ensuring success in this emerging organizational trend.

Please Comment..


McAfee, A. 2008. What’s Most Important for Success with Enterprise 2.0? Retrieved 08/08/2010 from


SocialText .2010. Citrix internal blogs. Retrieved 08/08/2010 from


SocialText .2010. The Transformation To Consulting 2.0. Retrieved 08/08/2010 from


Blogging | Why sharing your thoughts contributes to human evolution

Given the audience of this blog, it is safe to say that you have all heard of blogs, and the inevitable etymological background – Web+Log. However, what I want to share with the blogosphere is not what blogs are, or why you should at the very least – experiment with them, but rather an insight I had into just how significant a platform blogs are and how they are the natural progression of human evolution and will therefore be instrumental in taking us forward into the unforeseeable future.

This particular paradigm was triggered by a very interesting talk by Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex. He is a particularly insightful speaker on TED.com who explains that the process of human evolution – in every sense – has only been possible through the interchange of ideas. Ridley argues that Homo-Erectus built the same kind of spear [below] for over 30000 generations due to a lack of an exchange of ideas.

Acheulian stone axe from Algeria made by Homo erectus

Once this was possible – apparently around 500000 B.C. – there has since been limitless growth in the cross-pollination of ideas across multiple cultures around the world. Fast-forward to today, when our lives have become so complicated that we – as a species – have developed the ability to create technologies and solutions that absolutely NONE of us individually knows how. This is most evident in the internet and the way it is expanding the horizons of human knowledge geometrically.

Kevin Kelly, in a talk about the next 5000 days of the web, shows us through research that the current dimensions of the internet exceed over 55 trillion links – comparable to the average number of human synapses. 1 quintillion transistors used in this ‘single machine’ called the internet compare closely to the average number of human neurons. If the internet – which is the best example of human collaboration – has already reached levels of complexity comparable to the human brain today, one can only imagine what might become possible in the near future.

You’re probably asking yourself what this has to do with blogs. I believe that blogs are possibly the single most powerful form of human expression. They have the potential to reach millions of people worldwide, an unprecedented decoupling of power and influence. However, as the saying goes – “With great power..” To keep it simple (and non-obvious) the most important tips I have found on making it successful and – therefore – influential in the blogosphere can be summed up simply as:

‘Write from the heart.’ Write about what matters, what your take is on it and why it should matter to your audience.

‘Interact with readers.’ Across the widest possible range of social media. Popular blogs engage network effects across multiple platforms like Facebook, Myspace, Digg, Reddit, Delicious, etc.

‘Don’t be afraid to try new things.’ According to Google, as reported on Joop.in, the internet is growing at the rate of about a billion pages a day! Which means that for your blog to stand out, you need to harness every opportunity to explore as many networking opportunities as possible and try newer offbeat ones as well.

Source: Babauta, L. 2009. 12 Essential Blogwriting Tips for Building a Successful Blog in Write to Done | Unmissable articles on writing.

I would like to leave you with a sample of some of my favourite blogs.


Sacha Chua accurately describes herself as a tech evangelist/storyteller/geek. An Enterprise 2.0 consultant with IBM, Sacha has a web-presence and following that most bloggers can only aspire to achieve. This particular example showcases advice on how to make a 5 min presentation, which offers a refreshing, novel take on one of the most sought after skills in the corporate world.

Sacha also engages her audience through a variety of social media platforms such as Amazon, multiple blogs, Delicious, Flickr, Google Reader/Talk, Linkedin, Stumble Upon, Twitter and Youtube. From her blog, her current reach includes 2278 subscribers with 3160 comments, 3048 on Twitter. The fact that her blogs cover a wide range of interests such as work, technologies, personal life, etc only add to the overall broad appeal of her blog.


Agatha was recently on Freshly Pressed – the showcase for some of the best blogs on WordPress – for her blog – Whatever happened to two way conversations? Though this blog is certainly interesting, her follow up – Life in the blogosphere… accurately captures the surprise of a writer/blogger when faced with sudden popularity, a unique feature of web audience adoption. It also provides some insight into the true nature of communication and why the internet manages to harness it so potently with blogs.


Crystal Cun, an avid blogger/photojournalist, is quite a treat for those who have an eye for detail and proper storytelling. Her account of an adventurous trek up to the Männlichen Summit is a truly fantastic and well written blogpost with great photos and even better stories. I used to dabble in professional photography and can say this much for her work: her composition is flawless and every frame tells a truly wonderful story. The choice of specific frames in the blog is very carefully pondered upon and adds real aesthetic value to the quality of the post.


Alexander is another truly gifted photojournalist – in his blog, ‘the land of the loving people’, he affords his audiences a glimpse into an evidently touching personal journey through Asia, which has influenced the authoring of a book by the same title. His photos certainly create a great blog which is inspirational, to say the least.

I hope this blog post has – in the very least – got you thinking about what you need to do to engage the blogosphere. Please take a moment to share your thoughts and insights on the art of effective blogging.