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Archive for the ‘wiki’ Category

Here’s a post worth reading on wikis over at the Socialtext blog. Just like we’ve evolved proper email etiquette over time, so will proper wiki etiquette need to evolve as well. This will be dictated by the culture of the company and will involve a feeling out process before standard practices and habits become the norm.

Many are familiar with the Wikipedia etiquette where everyone contributes to a single document on a particular topic. In the work place, employees will be able to contribute but the way in which the editing is done will vary from a Wikipedia style to more of ownership mode where one person owns the wiki and others make suggestions on updates to that wiki by posting drafts that don’t alter the main page.

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Wikinomics

If you haven’t checked out the book yet, then you need to check out the wiki! There’s a lot of great information on mass collaboration and how it will impact business that makes this book/wiki a must read.

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My email is out of control. Not in the sense that I receive too much volume (although that can be a problem) but in the sense that tracking projects, archiving important resources, and keeping up with company information is not what email was originally meant for and I’m guessing there are many people feeling the same burden.

Let’s take company communication for example. I’m willing to bet that most people receive some kind of company update on a regular basis whether it’s a sales communication to marketing or an HR communication to the whole company, email is perhaps the worst way to deliver such information. We see these things, say I’ll go back to it later, and then several hundred emails later we remember we wanted to read something but can’t remember what it was or when we received it.

This is where a good company intranet comes in, especially one built on flexible Web 2.0 applications such blogs, wikis, and tagging. Companies need to deliver tools that employees can use to collaborate with online. Whether it’s a sales wiki that archives the latest documents to be shared with marketing or a blog from the VP of Sales talking about the latest trends in the field, using such tools would vastly change communication in a company for the better.

I’m tired of the weekly spam email. Instead, employees should be able to go out and find the information on the intranet that they need and subscribe to the RSS feeds that deliver this information instantaneously. Personally, I’d rather have one place that I go to for this type of company information and free up my email client to track my direct communication with my fellow employees. An RSS client is better suited for tracking this type of information and employees can use it to easily tag, and later find, the information that is important to them.

The benefits of such a system clearly out weighs the “this is how we’ve always done it” system. Just because the current system works, doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient solution. Remember, less than 20 years ago email was in such an underdog position. Now a business wouldn’t even think operating without it.

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One, if not the most, valuable resource a company owns is the information stored on each employee’s computer. This information is filled with employee knowledge and understanding of their specific role with an organization. There are thousands of Word documents, spreadsheets, and presentation files that would be a valuable resource to other people in the company. Unfortunately, this data is rarely shared outside of a project or scope of work. This is why I’m a huge advocate of using wiki/blog/online document tools for sharing information within a company.

Using such tools would allow a vast amount of knowledge to spread throughout the organization. Instead of trying to figure who knows what, what information they’ve created, and whether or not its useful once they send it to you, you could simply find this information on the corporate intranet. If you wanted information on a particular product you would go to that products wiki page which would be a collaboration of content based on all current and past employee knowledge. Links would be provided to all the presentations, documents, brochures, etc. that existed for this product. This central storage would ensure that the hard work going into creating the documents weren’t lost once an employee left a company.

One downside to such a setup is that it requires a certain type of company to get this right. It requires a company who’s culture is based on trust and openness and doesn’t let fear get in the way of providing and sharing information with all of its employees, not just the chosen few. There are also logistics that would need to be worked out such as working on documents while your away from the network but there’s no reason why this can’t be overcome or why it should be used as an excuse for a more closed system. The value of such an open system is immense. Imagine an employee network where everyone feels free to collaborate, learn, and share information in an environment that fosters trust and respect. Such a company would have a huge advantage over all of their competitors.

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The Wiki Intranet

Apparently, I’m a little late to the Wiki intranet game. Avenue A | Razorfish launched such an intranet a few months ago. It’s wonderful to see that a lot of things I had in my head are already shaping up in the real world.

I especially like how they can bookmark content from digg, Flickr, del.icio.us, etc. and share it on their intranet. This is a company that gets it!!

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