Conference Notes

Notes on "Managing Content with Wikis" (James Matheson, CustomWare)

James in a wiki consultant, at CustomWare. Has been doing implementations and working with wikis for 3 years. About half of the audience have used a wiki.

What’s a wiki (“an editable web page”), with some differences:
– they are more social
– the people are more important than the content
– people have more control over a wiki than they do over a traditional web site
– it’s easy and fun! (James gets this feedback from his clients)

What’s the difference between an Internet wiki and an enterprise wiki? The latter adds:
– page, space and group permissions
– email notifications
– search (including attachments)
– WYSIWYG editing
– RSS feeds
– expert to PDF
– file attachments and versions
– tight permission controls
– slick interface

James put up a diagram to show a more efficient work practice with wiki collaboration vs. email collaboration. With the single source capability of wikis, it is more effective and efficient.

Key Use Cases for Enterprise Wikis
– Intranet replacement … wasn’t the original use case
– Project management … for both internal and external collaboration
– Meetings … for agenda and minutes … single sourcing of the agenda, then write the meeting minutes and the action items on the page
– Social interactions
– Corporate knowledge base … standard operating procedures, safety processes, learning content management

See for a comparison of various tools.

Examples of Wikis
Some publicly accessible wikis:
SAP Community Network
– IBM RedBooks Wiki
Motorola Q Wiki

Main players in online wikis:
– Wikia … building online communities around products that people love, but the main publishers are not doing anything.
– Wikispaces
– PBWiki
– Wikidot

Keys to Adoption
– structure … when you first install it, it is blank. You need to put in enough of a structure, so people can see the overall organization. But you don’t want too much.
– look and feel … needs to look more corporate and professional for enterprise wikis, rather than bland as per Internet wikis
– change management
– keep it open … allow anyone to edit it
– James thinks that people should be able to make anonymous contributions to the wiki
– search must be excellent … to help overcome the chaos that emerges in wikis
– viral or organic spread … combined with encouraged adoption

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