Wikis in the Enterprise

Some links concerning wikis entering the enterprise …

1. Wikis Are Alive and Kicking in the Enterprise (eWeek).

If you haven’t heard that cry already, chances are you will soon, as the use of wikis in enterprise environments spreads like wildfire.Proliferating virally, wiki usage has grown exponentially in recent months, along with other consumer-centric technologies—including blogs, podcasts and RSS—that have made their way into the workplace thanks in part to the influx of the tech-savvy entry-level employees of so-called Generation Y.

Companies like Motorola are experimenting with Wikis across their organization, and they let them develop rather freeflowing. Hence bottom-up implementation efforts dominate this (IT-)engineering dominated realm.

This is good for a start, but we’ll have to progress further and help them conquer the mainstream. This is good practice for enterprises – not only of the technology kind, because there are many advantages:

  • Wikis can help to leverage the knowledge of every single employee and empower emergence through connections with the collective knowledge.
  • Wikis fulfill a genuine need – knowledge workers need and want to collaborate and cooperate across boundaries of time and distance.
  • Wikis can act as easily implementable and usable knowledge repositories, where they support capturing, modeling, sorting and providing of (tacit) and informal knowledge.
  • Wiki knowledge bases can be easily modified, enhanced, adapted, employed and built-upon in flexible ways.

2. Let Freedom Ring (eWeek).

New technologies such as wikis, blogs, podcasts and social networks should be welcomed in the enterprise, not ignored.

3. Wikis: New Cultural Model? (Linux Insider)

the wiki model of shared writing and editing is spreading into surprising new realms, from accounting, real estate and academic research to cake design and even intelligence gathering.
“Wikis are finally becoming mainstream


It’s not just a tool; it’s a culture,” […] “The idea that exactly one person has to hold the quill at any moment is an assembly-line concept. The wiki concept is about parallel production. And under the right conditions, the results can be spectacular.”

4. Blogs And Wikis Move In As E-Mail Overload Becomes Unbearable (InformationWeek)

To get things done, knowledge workers are adopting more manageable forms of messaging like blogs and wikis. And as organizations attempt to coordinate dispersed groups around the world, they’re adopting blogs, wikis, and other collaborative communication software to make messaging manageable.

5. and last, I want to recommend Joe Kraus’ four-minute whiteboard demonstration on wikis, of which I’ve learned through Luis Suarez:

However, you would agree with me how there is a good amount of folks out there who still keep coming up to you, or to me, asking us to give them the short version of what a wiki is and see if it would be something that their teams, or their communities, would be able to make effective use of.

Applying Web 2.0 in the enterprise

Dion Hinchcliffe recounts a presentation by Bob Morgan, Vice President of the Chief Technology Office, American Express Technology on the Web 2.0 efforts at Amex, pointing out that.

major corporations are starting to seriously explore the use of Web 2.0 techniques in various aspects of their business

Amex is driving three initiatives combining Web 2.0 and SOA:
1) Improving the Customer Experience
2) Community and Collaboration
3) Simplicity and approachability

Note also that

figuring out how to leverage the positive aspects of the emerging best practices on the Web today, without eliminating the very benefit they provide, is one of the biggest challenges in providing a Web 2.0 “context” in the enterprise

Beyond predictable workflows: Enhancing productivity in artful business processes

This is a good article at IBM Systems Journal, revolving around decentralized, democratized work processes, like ad-hoc organized knowledge work that relies on self-organization and emergence:

A parallel to the growing influence of end users on business services is found in the democratization of content under the influence of Web 2.0. By democratization, we mean a shift from central control of IT services to a greater ability for end users to help themselves. Blogging and wikis are recent examples of the trend to democratize content.

Explaining the potentials of enterprise social software like wikis, especially in supporting and enhancing established enterprise applications, is currently my main job, this article is a welcome help.

Social Software’s Corporate Value

Regarding social software in the enterprise, the numbers are impressive, demonstrating the value of social networking to some 21st century organizations:

Over 3,000 individual employees blog at Microsoft.
IBM has 15,000 bloggers.
70,000 IBM workers contribute to wikis.

So, is it all set for social software tools in the enterprise? Eric Lundquist at eWeek says hopefully so, and encourages tech managers to experiment with social software.

He’s also citing from Don Tapscotts fortcoming Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, arguing that mass collaboration is changing the landscape:

Smart companies are encouraging, rather than fighting, the heaving growth of massive online communities—many of which emerged from the fringes of the Web to attract tens of millions of participants overnight. Even ardent competitors are collaborating on path-breaking science initiatives that accelerate discovery in their industries. Indeed, as a growing number of firms see the benefits of mass collaboration, this new way of organizing will eventually displace the traditional corporate structures as the economy’s primary engine of wealth creation.

Yes, insight into organizational structures is needed, moreover one needs a thorough understanding of a companies business model, to be able to describe how these social applications can be applied for the company’s benefit:

Implementation efforts need their groundwork done to succeed.

frogpond is well suited in this space, check out my weblog on business model innovation.

Office 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 interviews

Robert Scoble has added some really interesting Office 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 interviews and demos to his Scoble Show, check them out:

Koral‘s Mark Suster on content management inside enterprises

Blogtronix‘ Vassil Mladjov on (intra-company and customer-oriented) enterprise social software like Blogtronix, used e.g. for communities like Microsofts Channel 9

Consulting Approaches for Enterprise 2.0

Susan Scrupski on consulting in the changing landscapes of Enterprise 2.0, i.e. Consulting and SI 2.0, when more and more companies are embracing “as a Service”-models.

This nicely sums it up for me and my consulting approach:

Consulting 2.0 is Business Process-based not technology-centric

Well, I would add another twist on organizational settings, analysis and design … but the core remains valid: I don’t peddle wikis (or social software by any means) as the one and only, and predominantly, technological solution.

Being confident, but also knowing when and where to employ wikis (or other social software) and when not to is key. It is – at least in my book – a basic ingredient for sustainable consulting work that really helps clients.

Consultants who can dig deep within the business processes of an enterprise are going to be invaluable in helping large and small enterprises take advantage of new SaaS and Enterprise 2.0 applications.