All companies big or small are tied together by their shared knowledge and expertise. As digital starts to play a bigger role in the everyday operations of companies, there has been a knowledge explosion. Enterprises that will end up riding the ripple waves of this knowledge explosion will be the ones who understand the importance of creating, managing and leveraging this internal and external massive base of knowledge. And doing it is easier said then done and using the right tools for the job makes the entire difference. This is where the companies need to deploy a wiki software to collect the information and knowledge being generated and also to provide an access portal for current and future employees to access this information when they need it.
What is a Wiki Software
A wiki software is a special type of content management system which allows all the authorised participants ( employees in case of companies ) to collaboratively create content ( mostly in the form of web pages ), organise the info and access it when required. Since content in wiki software undergoes multiple editing iterations from different members, it also has features related to version controlling and keeps a track record of history of changes as well.
Wikipedia which runs on mediawiki is a good example of web based hosted wiki software and it has helped to build one of the world’s largest encyclopedia using crowdsourced contribution of knowledge.
One of the first early wiki system was WikiWikiWeb which was created by computer programmer Ward Cunningham in the year 1994 and it was launched on c2.com in the year 1995. Since then the concept of wiki has matured and most of wiki based softwares focus on delivering themselves over a network.
Wiki’s are usually of two types : Public Wikis- these are wikis which are available for the public access and can be edited by anyone. Wikipedia is a good example.
Other type is Enterprise Wiki — these wiki software are used by companies internally in business context for purpose of knowledge sharing , document management ,documentation of processes and even for CRM and ERP needs.
Features of Enterprise Wiki
- Intuitive content creator — The useful of the wiki and how much content the users of the software will create is usually a function of ease of creating content in the first place. So it is very important that wikis have an intuitive content or document creator which allows members to create useful content easily.
- Organising and Linking Information — For the discovery of information, it is very important that all the pages in a wiki are organised in a dynamic structured format. Also to avoid the knowledge silo’s — the interlinking of paging is one of the very important features. This inter-linked network of hierarchically organised knowledge makes it all the more easy for people to access the right info at the right time.
- Role based Access Management — In a corporate setting, it becomes important that only authorised people have access to certain type of knowledge. Lets say a customer support executive shouldn’t have access to the company’s quarterly financial results. These role based permissions should be easily manageable in a good wiki software to grant read/write/edit permissions to different users or group of users.
- Version Control — Since the content undergoes edits from different people throughout it’s lifecycle, it becomes imperative to have a sophisticated version control system in place which can help to track changes and brings accountability in change log audit.
- Change Request Workflow — Another important yet overlooked feature is the workflow process for edit request. If someone makes changes in a wiki page, then he should be able to create a pull request which can in turn notify the admin, who can review the changes made and accept/reject them accordingly.
- Search — A powerful full text contextual search with advanced filtering and sorting mechanisms is the backbone of wiki software. Overtime when the knowledge base becomes large and hierarchy of info complex, then the onus of helping users find the relevant information comes to sear h functionality.
Why Do Companies Need A Wiki Software
- To manage and organise knowledge created by employees at different level, so that it can be leveraged at the right time
- To bring down the load of emails. A well managed knowledge base can really help to bring down emails sent by employees looking for specific info , which they can find in the documented pages.
- Manage Knowledge Transfer — There are times when executive within a company leaves along with the propriety information related to his work, thus it is a good practice for an organisation to empower employees to document their processes and knowledge.
- Crowdsourcing To Solve Problems — Ideas to solve issues can come from anywhere and to foster them from the fringes , it is important to have a system where anyone can contribute to the discussion and a good wiki software can really enable this.
- Reduce New Employee on-boarding time and cost.
- Wiki Software can help to keep record of data for compliance and audit purposes.
- A good wiki software can create a sense of transparency and empowerment within the organisation by decentralising the knowledge creation and access process.
Now that you understand what is wiki and why is important, the next steps for you is to choose a software vendor for wiki software which can seamlessly integrate with your company flow- a product which is easy to setup and can be customised to adapt to your intricate needs.