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Internal Wikis Mainstream by 2010

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Ferris Research, one of the first to cover enterprise wikis (Jeff Ubois wrote about them four years ago), has a new report that internal wikis will go mainstream by 2010.  Essentially, by then the knowledge base use case will be common and wikis will be the natural vehicle.

These "wikipedias-inside" will be used throughout the organization to document internal language, like commonly used code words or acronyms. They will also be used by smaller teams, such as:

  • HR or finance, documenting corporate policies/procedures
  • Sales and marketing, tracking competitive intelligence, market research, RFI/RFP responses, or information about key partners/suppliers/vendors
  • Support staff accessing a knowledge base to diagnose and solve customer problems

When we started Socialtext, we had to spend a lot of time with each customer explaining what a wiki is and why it had such a funny four letter word.  Now it is far more common for people to come to us with a clear idea of a Wikipedia they want to build, and need help actually getting it done.  Sometimes we have to correct the perception problems of Wikipedia, such as vandalism risks and content quality, inherent when the reference model is public and open.  But the cultural revolution in the consumer space is a clear driver for enterprise wiki use.  That, and bottom up adoption of open source and SaaS that gives most users their first wiki experience within an organization.  Explaining wikis is less of a challenge, but was always a smaller issue than getting people to have that experience where they get it in their context.  Then it clicks.  And we just have to direct it towards the right value proposition.

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