Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wikifinance, Wikitreasury – Part 3

To quickly recap this theme - we have, from part 1 – change is going to happen, and from part 2 – tacit interactions is where the rubber hits the road and the social network is the unit of work.
Exhibit A
I am attending the Association of Finance Professionals annual conference later this year. The 4 day program will provide me the following – a keynote speech, a social event, 10 content sessions selected from 10 different tracks, two to four bank sponsored events, eight to ten hours of interaction with finance and treasury vendors, and an evening of entertainment.
I have not checked this for a fact, but I would wager that we could find on YouTube and other social media sites a famous keynote speech and 10 presentations dealing with finance content. On magazine and professional sites I can browse and download vendor sponsored whitepapers and subsequently correspond via e-mail or telephone. I can find two hours of entertainment on any number of sites. I could replicate the chance encounters at this conference by participating in some LinkedIn professional groups. After all that I could meet my banker for drinks.
In other words, even today there are alternatives.
Still Not Quite There
However, I will tell you this – after having had a virtual organization experience for several years, there is still no substitute for face to face interaction. I do not think I am alone in this - airlines still fill up seats with people going from here to there to meet clients, attend meetings, make presentations, etc. The conference I mentioned above still has thousands and thousands of attendees.
This tells us that the promise or threat of the Web-world is still on the horizon. It should not give us comfort that it is an empty threat. Rather, it should tell us that the reasons why “old school” methods still work will become the subject of further innovation, forever chipping away at the stone.
For instance, I have never experienced, but believe that if I sat in a meeting room, with a floor to ceiling screen of one or more counterparts on video from a distant city, that the need for a face to face meeting would be almost satisfied. Or, if there was a 3-D holograph. At least enough to make one trip a year feasible rather than one trip per quarter, say.
But Getting Closer
While we may not be there yet, we are getting closer. On a personal level, I did not blog last year. My LinkedIn contacts have doubled since last year. My group participation in LinkedIn has more than doubled. I never commented on somebody else’s blog or whitepaper before last year. I’m even thinking of getting one of those smartphones everybody seems to have…!
So, now - we have, from part 1 – change is going to happen, and from part 2 – tacit interactions is where the rubber hits the road and the social network is the unit of work, from part 3 – change hasn’t happened yet but don’t let it fool us into thinking it won’t....stay tuned.
I would love to hear your thoughts about impacts to the future treasury organization or your stories on this topic if you have them.
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  1. There still are advantages for face-to-face. With actual interaction, little side conversations happen. With video conferencing, you have a sterile interchange. Less joking, somebody watching, etc. Not saying that social networking isn't important. It gives you a lot of reach.

    Nice post series.

  2. Maddie, I agree with you. Banking is a relationship business, and in my role I visit with a lot of bankers, and they still get on airplanes to visit me several times a year.

    I do not think they would do this if there were not benefits of face-to-face, some of which you have described above.

    Thank you for the comments!