Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wonderful World of Wikis

Presented by Mindtouch. The Mindtouch software may be slick looking but I did not get as much out of this session as I had hoped. Here are the major things to consider when deploying Wiki platforms:

Critical Issues to address in any deployment

  • Simple, Simple, Simple!
  • OpenSource vs Commercial
  • SaaS vs.. Internal
  • Support & Updates
  • Extensibility
  • Try it...it's easy, fast and cheap.
Security is the biggest issue in the SaaS vs. Internal debate. Service option is simple to implement if security concerns can be addressed. Grass roots approach works. Wikis are low cost so it is possible to pilot and encourage adoption. There are two core capabilities which each provide multiple benefits:
Collaboration Repository
Inter/Inter Groups 24x7 Access
Lots of interaction Fresh Content
Mobile Workers Easy to find
Ad Hoc Projects Intranet/fileserver
Deadlines replacement
Versioning is a traditional problem that Wikis can help solve. It provides a single place for storage and avoids old copies circulating in email. One great benefit of the dynamic wiki platform is that Ad hoc projects can be incorporated on demand. This encourages information to be shared and saved. Unlike intranets the information does not get as stale because updating and redesign is easier to accomplish and is in the hands of everyone. This collaborative approach coupled with the repository functionality creates a growing institutional knowledgebase.

Management is naturally concerned

Collaboration is a two-way process. Command and control gives way to collaboration and discussion. Openness becomes a natural way of working. Management needs to loosen up and decide new limits and goals for the use of these solutions.

User and group driven

Wikis are good for people with a common interest. This means that wikis will have multiple interest groups. These could be:
  • Project teams
  • Departments
The best advice is to start small and be focused on one (or two) thing(s). Make it easy. Develop unofficial monitors and editors to manage the wiki structure. Identify people who have an interest in the information and encourage them to keep it current.
  • Seed, Cull and Cultivate.
Promotiion is important to encourage adoption.

Word of Mouth Marketing

Presented by Umbria I caught the very end of this session. It looked like an interesting topic and one of the key points in the wrap up comments was this nugget: "It does not matter if a rumour is true. What matters is the momentum behind the message."

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