For the last year I have been evangelising the use of wikis, blogs, social bookmarking etc both within and outside of my current work assignment. For example Iâ€™ll often suggest using a wiki when a project team is just about to go off and start a new Word document, place it in the corporate document repository, send round the link and take it in tunrs to edit, followed by a painful review cycle. Following my recommendation Iâ€™ll usually distill the benefits and applied usage of wikis in general and for the particular scenario in question. I usually manage to convince people to give it a go, or at least take a look, but this wasnâ€™t always the case.
It took me a while to really appreciate the power of wikis behind the firewall, and it wasnâ€™t until Iâ€™d built up a handful of project pages which linked to various parts of each other and external sources, that I really started to see how wikis will transform information sharing and collaboration within a company.
Wikis are now default for me and I tend not to go near MS Word if at all possible. Everything from my bio, project documentation, status reports, project outlines, team to do lists, agendas, minutes and project resource catalogues are in the wiki.
To me the benefits are now obvious and the concept of company knowledge just sitting in a corporate repository with â€˜check inâ€™ and â€˜check outsâ€™ and layered security seem alien. However, I completely see why probably the vast majority of corporate IT users donâ€™t instantly see why they should default to using a wiki, at least in the early information gathering stages of their work.
So Iâ€™ve started to build up a collection of usage scenarios and real life examples within the corporate wiki to pull out of my back pocket during a â€˜sales pitchâ€™. Something simple like a project landing page with descriptions of work streams, links to team member bioâ€™s and a list of upcoming and past meetings will do. Then actually edit one of the pages in a ten second live demo, and you should have them hooked.
If you are out there evangelising any aspect of Enterprise 2.0 at your company, build up some of these real life examples, as the benefits are definitely not instantly obvious to most users. This included me at one point, and I know it includes a large section of the IT community at the companies I have contact with.
See also Microsoft Word is Dead by CorporatePunk.