May 27, 2004
Wikis for Business People
I've decided to put together a little "Wikis for Business People" article. This article is aimed to get you manager types up to speed on this subject. I wrote it as a fictional conversation between myself and ...
Ok, so what's this wiki thing? I keep reading about it and my employees keep pointing out that we need to set up a wiki - but what the hell is it anyway? And what's with the funny name?
A wiki is a quick (hence the name) way of setting up websites that everyone can write on. More.
Everyone - now wait a moment...what about our IT security infrastructure team and securicy policy, page 245?
Don't worry. There is no problem with setting up a wiki so that the access is only possible from people who have the right to do so. You can secure a wiki just like any other web application. That being said, you will want to think carefully about doing that because it will raise the entry barrier and maybe scare off people interested in contributing. Just make sure you make it easy enough to access. Oh yes, some wikis also provide backup/restore functionality.More.
Does it run on my employees PCs? I mean I'm not going to get them all new PCs or more RAM or anything.
You won't need to. All your employees need is a browser (they have a browser don't they)? The editing is really simple and works inside the browser. Once the content has been edited you just click a button and it's published out to HTML. Some wikis can also publish to an RSS feed.
Oh, so you don't know what RSS is? I'll leave that to another article.
Yeah, yeah - but why would I want something like that? I mean our company already has a way expensive CMS and communication infrastructure. I want my people to use that!
But are they? Seriously, a wiki is a very low barrier way of getting your employees or teams of employees to actually communicate with each other and work collaboratively on stuff. And all you need is a browser to read and write a wiki.
But what about our Notes/Exchange corporate infrastructure? We can't just set up a wiki .. like anywhere. We need to run that through our next corporate infrastructure team meeting, which is in 4 months.
Yes, but your company may not be around then.
Ok, so I'll run this wiki thing by our infrastructure management team and then we'll get a corporate policy on wiki writing made up and then we'll appoint a wiki administrator who can make sure the people only write things they should be writing there. I mean we don't want them swapping porn links via the wiki do we?
Well, really you should just set the wiki up, publish the link and see what happens. You see that's why wikis are so popular. Just like weblogs, wikis are giving people their voice back. More.
What about our customers? What will if I say if they find out that we're using this wiki stuff? I mean won't they think we've turned into a bunch of hackers or something?
Actually you should get your customers to use your wiki as well. Maybe set up project wikis, where your customers can join in the project by contributing their thoughts and input from an early stage.
Ok, so you've convinced me - for the time being anyway. Which wiki should I install? I'm sure the needed infrastructure is going to break the bank anyway.
There are lots of different wiki implementations and the needed resources are really very low. My guess is that you will have no problem running a wiki on the systems you already have. You can take your pick. More.
Posted by Matthew at May 27, 2004 03:56 PM