Social & Cooperation

Wiki Q&A from 2008 research. What is the purpose?

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in August 2008 ……


A reader of my 2008 research report recently asked me to clarify some some conclusions I drew about wiki usage and trends in companies.

We had the following exchange:

Q: What does it mean for wikis (and blogs) to be integrated into the intranet landscape in your opinion?

Why did you include that question in your survey? Do you have any additional thoughts on the relationship between the wiki and the intranet?

JMC: It means they are integrated into the “mainstream intranet” navigation, part of the intranet landscape of the enterprise and not a world apart – a parallel world, sometimes in competition with the intranet.

Wikis serve very specific purposes and should be part of the intranet. Some, very small organisations, have replaced their intranets with wikis, but that will not work for large organisations. They, on the other hand, need to understand where the specific functionality of wikis (co-creation) is needed. No other technology serves that purpose as well today as wikis.

Q:  “The choice of 2.0 tools is highly regulated compared to traditional tools.” Do you have any idea why this is?

JMC: I think it is only because it’s so easy to set up wikis, that companies need to try harder to standardise. Setting up a collaborative space – with traditional technologies – is more expensive and requires IT support.

One large international bank makes using the corporate tool for wikis one of the requirements for those who want wikis. It’s part of the rules of the game. This organisation has around 200/300 wikis and has 2 or 3 years experience under their belt.

Q: p. 63: Functions served by wikis. Is there a particular reason wikis are mostly used for experience and knowledge sharing and not, say, expert views?

JMC: Back to the unique functionality of wikis – co-creation and collaboration – not one-way writing. Blogs let people add comments, but the readers never really participate.

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Final note: the survey last year showed that wikis were the 2.0 (or social media tool) the most-used or “planned” in organizations.