Thursday, October 23, 2008

Strategies for Successful Wiki Implementations

By 2009, at least 50 percent of organizations will use wikis as important work collaboration tools -- will your organization be in that number?

With over 75% of the global assets tied up in knowledge assets, having access to increased solutions to improve collaboration productivity is a key growth factor for organizations that want to improve their innovation capacity.

Businesses must enlist technologies that will help workers stay connected while they collaborate on internal projects.

One tool receiving greater consideration in 2008 is wiki technology, according to a new study completed by the Society for Information Management's Advanced Practices Council (APC).

A wiki is a writable web that every approved user can edit. Originally designed for online collaboration among loosely affiliated software developers, wiki technology is moving into the mainstream corporate IT infrastructure. Some firms have used wikis since the late 1990s. Moreover, the success of Wikipedia is placing wikis squarely on the CIO's radar screen.

When considering use of wikis, CIOs should keep in mind that in reality, a large number of companies may already have employees using wikis for work purposes without the authority to do so.

The APC commissioned research this year to help its members plan better for 2008. It asked:

* How are wikis used now in corporations?
* What's the value wikis present?
* What are the barriers to implementing wikis corporate-wide?
* What are the best practices for sustaining wikis?

After surveying more than 160 active corporate wiki users, the APC study identified seven strategies to be followed in 2008 to ensure the sustainability and value of a corporate wiki:

1. Integrate the wiki as one of several important tools in an organization's IT collaboration architecture.

2. Understand the wiki "rules of conduct" and ensure they are monitored and enforced.

3. Optimize the use of wikis for collaborative knowledge creation across geographically dispersed employees, and for crossing divisional or functional boundaries, in order to gain insights from people not previously connected.

4. Assign a champion to each wiki and have that champion observe contributions that people make to the wiki; the champion will help foster employees who adopt the important "shaper" role within the wiki.

5. Recognize that the most difficult barrier to cross in sustaining a wiki is convincing people to edit others' work; organizations should ask their champion and managers to help with this.

6. Recognize that a significant value of wikis comes from embedding small software programs into the wiki that structure repetitive behavior. Some include organizing meeting minutes, rolling up project status or scheduling meetings. Ask wiki participants to keep watching for repetitive activity to evolve and enhance wiki technology.

7. Understand wikis are best used in work cultures that encourage collaboration. Without an appropriate fit with the workplace culture, wiki technology will be of limited value in sharing knowledge, ideas and practices.

The disruptive nature of wiki-based knowledge management may not be appropriate for all organizations. Those with traditional hierarchical information sharing approaches will not "get it."

Some organizations in industries with little turbulence and low information intensiveness will not have much need for wikis. Nevertheless, a large number of organizations can benefit from a wiki approach to knowledge management, whether in small project teams or through an Intranet.

The APC researchers predict many more organizations will start using wikis in 2008, confirming Gartner's earlier predictions (Gartner, 2005) that by 2009, at least 50 percent of organizations will use wikis as important work collaboration tools.

Helix has been supporting client's wiki deployments for over 4 years, and was an early adopter using these tools internally, we have found that it is critical to ensure that the wiki toolkits are easy to use, and allow end users to work as close to their experiences with Microsoft Office as possible. Microsoft offers a wiki solution in their sharepoint version 7(Moss) version however it is very rudimentary in nature.

We recommend to our clients they use the Atlassian Wiki solution as it integrates with Microsoft, but provides more rich functionality to satisfy both basic and more advanced user needs.

Wiki corporate solutions are numerous, but have a tendency to cluster in these key areas:

1.) Project Management/or Collaboration Needs
2.) Product and Solutions Planning Needs
3.) Wiki like Encyclopedias (like WikiPedia) tailored to specific functional or corporate knowledge/lexicon.
4.) Communities of Practice to share specific knowledge or share interests

Wikis can either be open or closed, with ease of permission setting.

What is always important is to understand the nature of the content being leveraged in a wiki, and if the content has a major risk to ensuring after the creation process is completed, often the final versions are moved to a more secure document management environment.

Wikis are easy to use, deploy and help support end users with increasing toolkits to support their collaboration needs. Will your organization be introducing wikis effectively and what are the concerns that you have on your mind?

Let's continue the wiki dialogue!.

No comments:

Bookmark and Share