Developing the corporate wiki – real life experience

We redeployed our company (www.ciall.com) wiki (iCiall) a few weeks ago – based on Microsoft Sharepoint. Generally uptake has been very positive and has resulted in much better sharing of information.  One of the interesting challenges we have seen is the ongoing discussion – should I put that information directly into the wiki or should I document it using a traditional Office application e.g. notes from meetings – directly in the Wiki or documented using a minute template in MS Word (with a link from the wiki)?  And so it goes – merits of tracking business development efforts in CRM or entering on the wiki – balancing the reporting features of the CRM solution and the ease of use of the Wiki.

the social context of information

In his post of 29 April, Enterprise 2.0 is not Web 2.0 nor is it an Oxymoron, Bill Ives writes clearly on the differences as he sees them between web 2.0 and enterprise 2.0.  The key section is:’…the existence of an emerging class of business software that does not simply take consumer web tools behind the firewall. These tools are developed for businesses to solve business problems. Businesses are run and operated by people, for the most part for now, and these tools look at the social context of information. There are many communities within an enterprise: project teams, divisions, etc. Then there are the communities that enterprises want to have with their suppliers and customers.’

Feedback from MBA’s re deployment of Web 2.0

In his post of May 03, Andrew McAfee gives summary feedback from surveying students in his Harvard class.  Very positive comments on opportunities for practical deployment of Wikis across a wide range of businesses, from people at different levels of management.  My own experience has been that the Wiki is easily adopted and is a powerful tool for supporting knowledge management and promoting collaboration in our own consulting business.

Charles Handy: ‘the new or not-so-new’ economy

Interesting to reread Charles Handy’s excellent book in 2001, ‘the elephant and the flea’, at this time of enterprise 2.0, web 2.0 hype and excitement.  At the time he was commenting on the emerging impact of the internet, the new models, the new opportunities.  He included a chapter ‘the new or not-so-new’ economy’ – and it’s well worth rereading in the current climate of enterprise 2.0/ web 2.0.  The technology does present opportunities and potential changes – but it does not undermine many of the priniples of business and society.

Web 2.0 Expo SF, 2008

Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media) gave a good key note at the web 2.0 Expo in SF, last month (see presentation).  He has some tendency towards hyperbole e.g. in speaking of Web 2.0 using such phrases as: ‘a turning point akin to literacy, cities…’.  However he has a number of well made and supported points.

The internet becoming ‘the computer’, the ‘global platform’, the trend toward the PC being just another device accessing the internet – is a valid observation.  His phrase ‘harnessing collective intelligence’ has a powerful ring to it.

O’Reilly’s talk focuses on three ideas:

  1. Web 2.0 in the enterprise (enterprises opening themselves to the world in new ways)
  2. Web 2.0 evolving into cloud computing – the web becomes a reality for business
  3. The web, as an artifact of the PC, is going away

O’Reilly’s examples of the use of customer data by companies such as Google and Wesabe to provide relevant applications and services to their customers puts the gaunlet down to other businesses e.g. banks.

Empowering the people

Dion Hinchcliffe, in his recent blog Enterprise 2.0 industry matures as businesses grapple with its potential, captures the essence of much of the change – and the associated issues – involving web 2.0.  Interesting commentary – we have the IT department led web 2.0 initiatives and we have the ‘bottom up’ approach weherby user communities initiate use of web 2.0 products.  Doubtless (1) this will lead to some of the usual interaction between IT and users; (2) will also raise some interesting questions about prefered software solutions and vendors in organisations.

Culture to support wikis and knowledge management

The wiki provides the opportunity to promote knowledge management.  But are our senior executives ready to participate in this web 2.0 enabled environment? email has, to some extent, made people more available (though it may be argued that a certain amount of hiding has been facilitated) e.g. the junior staffer may directly email the CEO.  However the wiki involves a more collaborative and more public exchange of information/ opinion.  In order to promote this use of the technology senior management must set the right tone – encouraging participation at all levels of the organisation. 

Knowledge management and the web

We’ve been listening to politicians and academics promoting the knowledge economy – the opportunity for Ireland as a knowledge economy, rather the imperative for Ireland to succeed as a knowledge economy.  Latest references I heard were extracts from the Green Party Conference today.

The web is offering all of us fantastic opportunities to  embrace the concept of the ‘knowledge economy’.  The development of technologies including wikis, blogs, tagging – all facilitate greater learning and sharing of information.  Web 2.0 provides the opportunity to reengineer and accelerate knowledge management.

The recent AIIM survey indicates quite a low level awareness and understanding of web 2.0 across a broad, international population http://www.aiim.org/viewpdfa.asp?ID=34508.

It would be interesting to research the level of understanding and penetration of web2.0 in Irish business, education and community life.