Enterprise Wiki’s

Posted: October 7, 2012 in INB346 Enterprise 2.0

Wikis are vastly becoming a popular tool in the workplace today. Organizations are starting to take on the trend and implement Wiki pages for their company to centralize knowledge sharing, documentation and announcements. Wiki pages, if implemented correctly, can have the power to centralize all information and provide a knowledge base for employees in an enterprise.

As discussed in previous posts, the Brisbane Airport case study is used as an example, where the organization requires the use of social media and web 2.0 to enhance business processes and efficiency. As mentioned in my previous blog post, common challenges businesses face, including Brisbane Airport, can be narrowed down to the following:

–       Bring together an organization spread out by geographical location

–       Centralization of information and knowledge sharing

–       Collaboration and productivity

–       Incorporate into current processes

–       Access data easily in a centralized location

Wiki systems ideally are used as collaboration software and tackles business issues and challenges in dealing with collaboration issues and centralization of information. Generally, these wikis are simple to use and can be broken down into several specialised areas for different business areas using separate web pages for each. (Ezra Goodnoe, August 08, 2005, InformationWeek)

A wiki is simply a collaborative database of information that can be edited freely by anyone and everyone. Business organizations, including the Brisbane Airport case study, generally have issues with keeping up-to-date with information and centralizing it so all respective parties have the right information. This can be in the form of important memos, project documentation, proposals, meetings and meeting agenda, news etc. Rather than traditionally sending and sharing this information via email, wikis allow the information to be up-to-date and available to everyone in a central location on a company’s intranet.

As discussed, wikis can tackle several challenges businesses face including centralization of information, documentation, data access and much more. In using the Brisbane airport scenario, these issues/challenges can be eased with the use of a business wiki.

Three business process issues Brisbane Airport can rectify using wikis, according to business wiki trends suggested in webtrends.about.com, include:

1. Global communications

Using wikis for global communications can be greatly beneficial to large scale organizations such as an airport. Wikis are easy to use and can be used as a source of information both publically and within an organization. Users are able to edit and add information when required. Users spread out across geographical locations who are possibly working on the same task, require the same information etc. are able to work together collaboratively in the same online workspace. No longer is email required as the sole source of communication where information can be lost or left behind.

2. Knowledge sharing

Once again, the team emphasis comes into play. Knowledge sharing is made easier with the collaborative abilities of a wiki. No longer are documents needed to be stored in a network that can become out of date or lost. Documentation is easily kept up–to-date and no longer are users lost with the wrong copy of documents. Knowledge bases are kept in a singular online location within the business intranet.

The wiki provides a singular point of location for all business documents with the ability to have specialised areas for particular teams or sectors of a business. Common issues, questions or general information is easily shared to all employees, (or the public for public facing wikis) in a centralized location.

3. Project management

Project management information can be a difficult piece of artefact to keep up-to-date and everyone informed regularly. Meetings may take place where topics are forgotten or follow-up emails are ignored. The wiki provides a central source of information and the ability to upload, update and store important documentation and project management information.

In the Brisbane airport’s case, projects may be conducted on a massive scale, and physical documentation or simply keeping everyone up-to-date can be near impossible. The powerful wiki tool comes into play, where this simple wiki tool can provide the platform for all project management and teams to view upload and store information regarding the project in a single location. Projects become much simpler to manage.

Building a company wiki can be challenging and the Brisbane Airport will have to take measures with a clear goal in mind for implementing the wiki. Other case scenarios have to be considered where organizations have both considered and failed.

One case where a large organization the Los Angeles Times deployed a wiki, consideration and care was not taken into the implementation. In this case, a public wiki was created based on the Iraq war, the Times hoped users would create their own opinion column as a general sharing of information. What was ill predicted was the amount of spam posts made by users. The organization spent days trying to police the wiki article before eventually taking it down. (Ezra Goodnoe, August 08, 2005, InformationWeek)

Cases like these need to be taken into account if the Brisbane Airport were to introduce such technology. Although wikis can be very beneficial and provide an open source of information and improve collaboration, they require careful considerations and strict guidelines. As seen in the Los Angeles Times example, employing a public wiki (or even internal) on a large scale can be difficult to manage.

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