Wikis has proven time and time again to be a useful collaboration and communication tool with the primary usage being as an aggregation tool for multiple entities to contribute small amounts of information pertaining to a specific topic.
One of the largest wikis is Wikipedia an online encyclopaedia created by contributors from around the world. Being such a large wiki both in users and in content it truly shows how useful a wiki can be. Whilst Wikipedia is a constant subject of vandalism these problems are often rectified rather quickly and in many cases the quality of the content is comparable to that of commercial encyclopaedias and in some cases even better with a larger variety of available information which is more up to date.
But enough with Wikipedia, this blog post is about how corporations are using Wikipedia.
So why and how are corporations using wikis? From the outside it would appear that most corporations are using wikis as a tool for maintaining documentation relating to their products however this is not the case with many corporations using them as tools for internal collaboration to assist employees in coordinating projects and for the safe storage of important information.
Pixar is an example of a company who has made use of a wiki internally. During the production of WALL-E to co-ordinate the use of animation tools within the organization. On the other hand Sun Microsystems make use of multiple wikis to manage product documentation for easy retrieval by their user base.
What are the advantages of using a wiki in the organization? The benefits are clear and numerous, wikis encourage participation by employees and allow them to collectively work on a project with ease and less duplication of work. Wikis are also useful in allowing executives to evaluate the status of a project as well as employee performance through the usage of the page diffs.
Through my personal experience of improving a wiki project I discovered just how useful they were. In my opinion 2 of the most useful features of the MediaWiki software are the page diff functions which allow users to compare different versions of an article and highlight differences between the two as well as the usage of templates which are highly useful for providing consistent HTML and CSS styling to various page elements such as tables and the info blocks like those which are displayed on the right hand side of most Wikipedia articles.
Corporate Wikis at Work