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Other technology captures information as it is posted to the World Bank’s Web site, as well as non-World Bank Web sites visited to obtain information. Weetjens says the World Bank is also looking at ways to capture the collaboration information of short-term projects to provide long-term knowledge benefits, as in the case of Latin America and Thailand, He adds that the World Bank also makes liberal use of blogs, wikis and other virtual media to share knowledge across the organization.

While the World Bank is experimenting with some collaboration tools, technology alone isn’t the only answer, according to Weetjens. So The World Bank has brown bag lunches as well as other informal and formal meetings to share information from group to group and from country to country.

More collaboration needed

Few banks share knowledge of internal resources to the extent that the World Bank does, according to Nancy Atkinson, senior analyst for Aite Group. "There’s a growing recognition that much of the [customer] knowledge that banks have is disbursed too broadly to be useful."
In one instance, Aktinson found an international bank with 32 different systems containing snippets of customer information.

There are some technologies that purport to share customer information across the enterprise, Atkinson explains, but it’s cumbersome to try to pull information from so many disparate technologies. Institutions that can pull and consolidate that information can do a better job of cross-selling and upselling than the competition.

But cumbersome technology isn’t the only issue keeping financial institutions from sharing customer knowledge across the enterprise, according to Atkinson. The knowledge management systems are in conflict with corporate structures, so the systems are underused. A mortgage lender of a large bank, for example, might have little or no information on a credit card customer of the same financial institution, even though mortgages and credit cards are both lending products.

The problem, Atkinson explains, is that the compensation structure in many financial institutions is set up to recognize the department that "owns" the customer, rather than viewing the customer relationship as beneficial to the entire organization. Therefore, she doesn’t expect any major improvements in customer information sharing until the compensation structures are revamped.   

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