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Servicing the Wiki

In Enterprise2.0 on September 9, 2010 by nickejones Tagged: , , ,

Improve company to client communication

In the eyes of a client accountability and transparency are always high priority. The pressure on companies to provide this to clients is due the competitive nature of business. The efforts to ensure a competitive advantage have been aided by leveraging Enterprise 2.0 tools. Wikis are a excellent resource for service orientated companies as they create a method of interaction for clients and help services companies to meet theirs expectations and requirements. Using an external a wiki allows for greater transparency because it provides a collective source of information on a given project. Introducing a repository mean that clients can access what they require and contribute or comment where necessary.  Accountability is also an attribute of using a external wiki. The information can be tracked to groups and individuals depending on the size of the project. This allows work to be measure more accurately and reduces time discrepancies, as task are defined more accurately.

Wiki ahoy

A developing company RedAnt manages some very large projects and differentiates themselves among other developers by using a wiki to communicate with their clients. Stated in there website, RedAnt wanted to avoid drowning in the tidal wave of information. They introduced a wiki for there internal knowledge sharing much like many their competitors but they also had elements of the wiki specifically designed for client access.

It is fair to say that, a company’s knowledge shouldn’t be accessed by anyone and some information is competitively sensitive. To provide transparency for clients means allowing them enough access to information without jeopardising the organisations position. RedAnt and many other companies including Brown University, Johns Hopkins University, VMware have achieved this using a Wiki software call Confluence. Confluence is a sophisticated wiki tool that has features designed to enhance knowledge sharing. One appealing aspect of Confluence is the range of access controls.  This supports the security of the sensitive information. Although there will always be the problematic human factor, whereby sensitive information to be released by an employee, this is a risk for all aspect of social media (read more on risk). Correct policy and common sense in the organisation is one means of mitigating this risk even if it can never be completely eradicated. The advantages of implementing a knowledge sharing not only internal but external out weights any proposed risk. There is necessary precautions that should be make in regards to sensitive information but quality of service is crucial for an company to maintain. Whilst a wiki will not guarantee this, it will provide the process that will aid the assurance of a project to the quality expectations of the client.

To find out more features confluence has to offer, watch the video below.

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6 Responses to “Servicing the Wiki”

  1. Wikis are definitely a disruptive innovation, and I can definitely see that it takes some insight and a careful approach to properly draw the line between releasing public information, releasing competitive information that will result in an overall advantage (like the GoldCorp case study) and releasing competitive information in a way that is disadvantageous. Confluence looks like a great tool to monitor that release of information, and I am not at all surprised that a firm has stepped in to create a product that the market must have been begging for at the time. I wonder if similar technology will be implemented for blogs and microblogs… Since their API’s are often publicly available, I would imagine that organisations could benefit from a system that secures and separates private information from public information in those spaces too.

    • Yes, I would imagine that there would be a system that allow to both external and internally produce blogs. It would be handy to do this on the same platform like confluence does on there wiki. I will investigate this further.
      Whilst we are on the topic though, I wonder why there isn’t many “all in one” packages for enterprise tools. Most of the systems I have research have a specific function. Would an all in one be too complex? Would org rather incrementally introduce these tools because its too hard to implement an entirely new system of doing business? Would there be too many people who resist? All these question…. Might have to write a new blog. 🙂

      • I think Matt has made an important note about the seperation of private and public information. As the main concern to me, is risk. As we know, for major companies, the media can easily pounce on information that ‘slip through the net’.

      • Yah, there are some privacy concerns but is really depends on how sensitive your information is. Smaller consulting firms don’t have as much risk in wiki activities. They often provide a service that is available elsewhere. The key is that they offer a more transparency and incremental product delivery using a wiki than maybe their competitors do. And it might work, but it also could be a massive fail. This makes the suitability analysis very important as there will be different recommendation for different organisations.
        Thanks for commenting!

  2. Perhaps, in light of your findings, you could propagate or contradict with Gartner’s hype cycle on social networks.

    According to Gartner, wikis is at the stage of slight of enlightenment, whilst blogs is currently facing the stage of plateau of productivity. But interestingly enough, the mobile social network seems to be at the peak stage along with social-media consulting. Professional service firms are now responding to enterprise’s demands that they develop and use social-media strategies that span marketing, security and business intelligence.

    Social media is quickly becoming a global environment in which decisive opinions are formed and amplified. Virtually, we could see today no businesses are exempt from online conversations. Even communities that focus on niche specialties may be hard to monitor and engage via conventional tools; yet it’s also possible that they may quickly mushroom into major sources of influence. For eg. Procter & Gamble experienced a challenging outbreak of consumer negativity around its Pampers Dry Max brand. Based on a social-media movement fostered in a facebook group called “Bring Back the Old Crusaders/Swaddlers,”is a class action lawsuit was generated against the manufacturer.

    • Interesting comments Wan. I am not sure exactly how this relates to wikis and access control. It is great to see the interest you have on social media. Components of a wiki do include social media. Its collaboration function and its knowledge sharing attributes. I agree that social media strategies are spanning but what is fundament in formulating these strategies is to understand what the best or most suitable means of attack is. It is not a one shoe fits all method and in the wiki example I used with Redant, having a wiki that allowed them to provide access control for different stakeholders (employee’s, clients, or the public) was crucial in its success.

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