Enterprise Wiki Strategies

It is long established that simply buying some software because it's fashionable or buzz-word compliant or cool is not a strategy for success. The same goes even more for Enterprise 2.0 social software. Many CxOs will claim inclusion in the Enterprise 2.0 club by saying something like "why yes, we have an enterprise wiki". Enterprises that adopt a simple "if we deploy it, they will come" attitude are forgetting the basic rule of software deployments: technology is a means not an end. The end is the solution of your business problem(s). Technology, social or otherwise should help you get there. To that extent, then, clear goals and purposes for the technology should be at least outlined at some point during the decision making and implementation process.

So here are some tips on enterprise wiki deployment that may help move your wiki from the limp system with 3 or 4 entries on stuff no one cares about to a vibrant location for socially created and updated information. (if you read German, see the original here). I've taken some additional liberty by amplifying and streamlining the translation from The Semantic Puzzle blog.

  • have clear rules and responsibilities
  • do not start with empty wikis
  • employ, incentivize, entice so called “champions” to smooth the way for others
  • change your mind on information processing - be open to a new paradigm for your working knowledge environment (hint: today much of it is email and conference calls)
  • be careful with vendor-specific plugins
  • do not outsource to professional information brokers - capture your information, it's your competitive advantage
  • everybody should be able to edit (nearly) every page (social creation of information is the purpose of the wiki - let the social groups correct errors - if you are still worried, implement an editorial workflow or other review process for sensitive items but don't let it become a bottleneck)
  • get your pages connected internally and externally - relevant information is found both inside and outside your firewall but know your audience.
  • always create useful information which others can reuse
  • get a clear definition about the fields you want to use the wiki for
  • identify your organization's advantage in having a wiki - find a way to measure success and failure
  • see which tools and services bring some personnel benefit for the employees - in making their jobs easier, more convenient, better, or simply more enjoyable.

Comments:

This is a nice distillation of corporate wiki implementation best practices, but your opener is really resonating... so many wikis are implemented with the focus on the wiki, not in the problem the wiki is being implemented to solve. The best wiki implementations are the those in which every forgets they're using a wiki.

Posted by Matt Wiseley on January 21, 2009 at 11:50 PM CST #

Matt I think you hit it spot on: the best wiki is the one that fades into the background *as a wiki* and is accessed and updated because it is the *place where right answers and good information is found*.

Posted by Billy on January 22, 2009 at 02:32 AM CST #

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