Corporate use of Wiki’s

14 09 2010

This week’s topic is to focus on how wiki’s are used with Enterprises, both internally and externally.

First of all, lets gain a fast understanding on what wiki is? To do this, i have decided to show you the video of “Wikis in Plain English”: instead of writing up a boring “real plain English” summary of what it is. 🙂

Now that you have seen the video and gained understanding of wiki’s, allow me to get into this weeks topic/question:

“How companies are using (or could use) wikis with (or within) their enterprise?”

Let me just briefly list some of the benefits about using wikis within Enterprises (Internally):

  • Group/link information together
  • Build up central knowledge bases
  • Fast and easy access (*There are also access rights)
  • Anyone who get access to it can edit (able to restore to previous version when necessary)
  • Reduced the need of emails (avoid overload)
  • Save money and time
  • Improve the internal communication amongst staff members
  • Build consensus

Now some Disadvantages:

  • Anyone can edit (mentioned before as benefits, but note that there are both good and bad sides to this)
  • Too flexible, this may cause information shared on the wiki being disorganised
  • Must have internet connection to be able to get access to it (*however, in 2010, this has become not much of an issue)

All information listed above was retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_wiki

So now that we have looked at some of the advantages and disadvantages, let me show you an example — QUT.

QUT allows students to collaborate using wiki for their group projects. A personal experience/example to this: Back in 2009 when i first started university, i did a unit called “Industry insights” (Unit code: INB103).

I remember the first thing we were told to do when we had out first tutorial was to form a group then set up a group wiki. I did not quite understand the point of doing that as i have always thought that wiki = wikipedia, where you would be able to find information from. However, after seeking help from both tutor and group members, i started to understand the need for using wiki for our group project.

  • We each did individual research for the group project, and then posted what we found on the group wiki (sharing and grouping information)
  • When our group leader wanted to organise a group meeting or make any last minute changes, she would post the information on wiki for us to see (eliminates the use of emails)
  • When we had any questions/concerns on the group project, we were able to post it on the wiki and receive help from others (internal communication amongst group members)

So that was  my personal experience of using a wiki (internally).

In addition:

In order to also gain some experience of using a wiki (externally), i have decided to edit an article in a useful way on Wikipedia (as suggested by Lecturer). Here are the steps of how i did it:

(As we have already seen an example in lecture of how Jason did it on an English version of Wikipedia, i have decided to do it on a Chinese version to see the difference)

  1. Went on to the wikipedia site
  2. Type in, for example, my favourite singer’s name
  3. Read through it and found out there are some information left out from the list they had
  4. Scroll back up to the top of the page and clicked “Edit” (of course, it was in Chinese)
  5. I went into this page where i am now allow to change some of information
  6. Typed in what was left out and clicked on “Preview” (Once again, it was written in Chinese) *Noticed that i was not allow to just save what i change without previewing it first
  7. Previewed the page and made sure i type the right thing in the right spot and in the right format
  8. I had to click on the button where it said “agree to the Terms of use and save changes”
  9. DONE!

(I refreshed the page twice to make sure the changes i made was on there and displaying correctly.)

This was my experience of using wiki, externally. 🙂

s2

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6 responses

15 09 2010
mattjohnstone

I had the same problems at first having a preconceived notion about what wikis were, and I too thought that they were only for online encyclopedias. I use one in another subject too and whilst it is a great way to collaborate, I think that teams definitely need to set out clear guidelines as to the goals and methods of use so there is consistency. Wikipedia has strict guidelines that help this, but for student wikis I’ve found it to be a problem on multiple occasions. I had never even thought to use it for posting group-related information, I am in a team that uses microblogging for that purpose instead. I wonder if developers will eventually create an integrated system that better integrates the advantages of each.

18 09 2010
crystal

hi matt, thanks for your reply,

As i have mentioned, the reason we used wiki for our group project was that it was introduced to us by the unit. At first, i thought, since it was a wiki, wouldnt the information we shared on it be available to other groups which happened to be working on the same task? Then i found out that there are “access rights”. Tutor/Group leader was allow to changes the settings of the wiki page and made sure our group project information wouldnt leak out to everyone.

I do also agree with you when you have said “I think that teams definitely need to set out clear guidelines as to the goals and methods of use so there is consistency”. As i do know quite a few people who were as confused as i was.

I have never really use micro blogging for group projects, would you like to share some of your experience? I look forward in hearing from you. 🙂

Thanks for your comment.

29 09 2010
mattjohnstone

As it turns out, using microblogging in our small group proved to be unsuccessful, as the tool wasn’t adopted well enough within the group. We are still very used to e-mail, and stuck with it because e-mails were the dominant platform for all our other tasks. We recognise the advantages of it over e-mail, which is why we gave it try, but the use of e-mail is so ingrained in our everyday lives that moving away from it wasn’t feasible. This is an outcome that I predicted to be fairly likely before we started, and something that I think all types of collaboration teams, including enterprises struggle with.

27 09 2010
Enterprise 2.0 « Cheng's Blog

[…] Corporate use of Wiki’s […]

29 09 2010
ctkcrystal

In response to your comment matt,

Have you and your group tried using “Google Groups”? because to me, it seems to have combined both functionalities from wiki and email. It provides a platform for you guys to collaborate, share information and edit online. Then if you have the right settings, it should automatically inform you by emails whenever there are changes in your group.

Just wanted to provide you with my opinions. 🙂

30 09 2010
mattjohnstone

Thanks for the suggestion, I haven’t tried Google Groups. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I think it’s definitely worth a shot – I think the wiki is really effective in Google Groups because it seems far more intuitive and easy to use in comparison to many other platforms. Integration with other systems such as e-mail is also great. I wish it had some sort of scheduling function for group meet ups – today I’ve been looking at Tungle.me to do that, and it would be great to have something like that in the system as well, and I’m surprised that no systems seem to have integrated calendar and meet-up functionality. I think that the popularity of wikipedia has created a conception that people who collaborate online don’t necessarily meet in person, which is of course not necessarily the case.

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