In the November 2009 edition of InsideKnowledge, there is a case study of how one group at Clifford Chance LLP — one of the world’s largest law firms — stopped using email to collaborate and embraced a wiki instead:
“The Clifford Chance Foundation is made up of staff of all levels of seniority from across the whole firm, who come together to review applications for funding for charitable causes. As a virtual group tasked with making recommendations to the board, they have an operational challenge – they can only have so many conference calls, each of which must be focused on reaching decisions quickly. If each application were e-mailed to every member, the number of interactions and disjointed discussions would be considerable and inefficient.
The introduction of wikis into this environment means that group members can now post each new application to their designated wiki, along with meeting agendas, minutes, decisions and management communications. With everyone’s contributions organised by topic, the wiki makes it easy for members to comment on submissions or help draft communications. A daily e-mail alert with links to the most recent additions means that members can see who changed what and when, on each page. Using the wiki is a much more efficient way of collaborating than relying on Microsoft Word and e-mail, as fewer interactions means less chance of missing something. Foundation members claim that their meetings are far more focused because most of the discussion takes place beforehand.“
During my time in Europe earlier this month, I had been talking about this scenario, and how collaboration technology can be used to (a) re-think the purpose of meetings, and (b) make the remaining meetings much more effective and focused. The Clifford Chance example is a great snapshot of where one group made the transition, and the effects it garnered.
Link: Case Study: Clifford Chance LLP (you have to be a subscriber to read the article).