Five myths of enterprise wiki deployment

May 31, 2010

Wikis, like those used to power the "The Free Encyclopedia" Wikipedia, allow for the easy creation and editing interlinked pages via a web browser using user-friendly text editors. Enterprise wikis, are a great way to harness your organization's collective brain power and talents. Based on our experience of deploying in enterprises, listed below are some of the myths that we have encountered and demystified for our customers:

Myth #1 - Wikis pose a a security threat to my organization.

Today's wiki software incorporates several security features that make them secure virtual work areas. Not only is it easier to protect pages to viewers external to the organization, but it's also simple to protect pages to those internally. Pages can be grouped and secured, or secured individually at the press of a button.

Myth #2 - Wikis motivate employees to contribute content.

We'd love to think that the ability for an employee to contribute content "makes" an employee want to contribute, but it doesn't. One of the notions that comes up is that some of the people are afraid to share their knowledge in a collaboration system. This is because they think that if they share their knowledge, they will be no longer valuable to the orgnization and will be an expendable resource! On the contrary, the more a person shares, the more valuable they become to their organization. Why? Because others in organization will be aware of their expertise and are more likely to come to them for information. They become the "Go-to" experts.

Myth #3 - My company is too small to be able to take advantage of wikis.

Wikis aren't about company size, they're about the content that is contained within the organization. If your company has any content that more than one employee is expected to have access to, then a wiki is the perfect enterprise collaboration software for your company. Not only do wikis solve the "access" problem, but it also solves the "consistency of material" problem that plagues so many organizations.

Myth #4 - Employees know how to contribute.

It is important to seed a wiki to everyone started. Users need guidance to start contributing and a structured wiki defines a purpose. Start with a loose structure and modify content over time to define how the wiki is organized. Encourage contributors to add their own content in wikis and determine how to tie the wikis together structurally once you understand how the content is shaping up.

Myth #5 - Wikis always provide the information employees need.

Wikis can only supply what you have designed it to provide. Proof of concept, through wikis such as Wikipedia, show that wikis can be as powerful as you make them. Adding useful content to the wiki should always be one of the main purposes of the wiki. Users should be encouraged to add information without worrying about making it perfect or polished.

Business Wikis, through a collaborative effort, enable creation of resources that are superior to anything that could be accomplished alone. If you are looking at implementing an enterprise wiki in your company, see how can help you build a secure, collaborative environment.