The technology world often gives odd sounding names to new innovations which make those innovations seem more obscure and enigmatic than they really are. This is definitely true of wikis. Despite the strange sounding name, most companies, large or small, could make great use of wikis.
Fundamentally wikis help foster communication within a company, between constituents, sales force, employees and customers. Used appropriately these technologies can help reduce the information overload caused by the massive amounts of email that most of us receive in a day. Capturing valuable pieces of a company’s intellectual capital instead of losing these pieces over and over again in email is one of the ways companies can benefit from utilizing these new technologies. In addition, companies can help their most valuable subject matter experts avoid spending so much of their time educating, and reeducating others.
Traditional groupware products are often too rigid to produce the desired information flow within an organization. Wikis provide the ability to quickly draft a piece of valuable content and publish this informal communication to everyone that may need it, which is similar to email, but unlike email this method captures your intellectual capital in an information repository. This repository allows for content to be built on by other experts and it is searchable by those you want to share the expertise with. Sharing knowledge and skills is vital to the growth of any business, so making information available and easy to find is a high value proposition.
Wikis have three distinct characteristic that enables them to be a powerful engines for the creation of intellectual capital:
Immediacy - New content is shared quickly and older content stays active and gets brought up to date.
Interactivity - Content evolves and improves through easy to use collaboration around authored/expert content, comments, related links, integrated email, wiki...anything to encourage a feeling of dialog, not monologue.
Informality - The content sounds like a live person wrote it in their own conversational voice, which makes the information more accessible and makes it faster and easier to produce.
This results in:
Intellectual Capital - The primary source of competitive advantage increasingly lies in the unique proprietary knowledge that companies possess and are able to capture and share.
Companies like ING, Wells Fargo and Amdocs have selected CustomerVision's content management solution to provide wiki technology for their internal communication needs.
An additional supporting article in InfoWorld written by Michelle Delio, on March 25, 2005, regarding: "Enterprise collaboration with blogs and wikis"