Is This Future Shock?

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Wikis and intranets

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In an ongong bid for speed and agility, my company are changing the way we manage resources on the intranet.

I’m a proselytiser for social networking and wikis (I love my TiddlyWiki, FWIW) so I’m hoping we’ll see significant changes.

Lars Plougmann has written in a couple of places about what you could do if you have no intranet. In If your organisation has no intranet: An opportunity

He suggests some of the disadvantages of an intranet

  • Information changes quicker than the intranet team can update it. No content is static.
  • When the perception is that the information on the intranet is not up to date it stops being the first source for vital business matters
  • The intranet structure typically reflects the shape of the business as of yesteryear
  • The process for updating information on the intranet involves finding out who is responsible for a particular page, then describing a proposed change in an email which gets added to a work queue. Most people only involve themselves once in that process if they don’t see the page updated within a short time
  • Ownership is often skewed: When only a few people can edit stuff on the intranet, an “us” and “them” culture arises. In the worst cases, the intranet becomes the object of blame and ridicule.

and he suggests that a wiki can address many of these shortcomings, with use of tagging, links and *search* – surely a key component of any Knowledge management system.

If you tie authoring in a wiki to ID, then control is easy and if someone screws up… revert the change.

In How to avoid mysterious golfing cart accidents he develops this further and   suggests he has a client who wants to replace their intranet with a wiki. Why?

  • To cut the publishing cycle from days or weeks to minutes or seconds thus ensuring that the content is more relevant
  • To move from content nobody wants to read written in corporate speak to information about what is really going on written in a human voice

He point back to the Cluetrain Manifesto for a lovely quote

“The intranet revolution is bottom-up. There’s no going back. If a company doesn’t recognize this, the top-down intranet it puts in can breed the type of cynicism that results in ugly bathroom graffiti and mysterious golfing cart accidents.”

More wikis; more involvement; more openeness; more benefit – like the Cluetrain says

  • What’s happening to markets is also happening among employees. A metaphysical construct called “The Company” is the only thing standing between the two.
  • Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman. “

Go and re-read (or read if you haven’t) the 95 theses.

Written by SteveEllwood

November 16th, 2007 at 4:28 pm

Posted in blogging,wiki

Tagged with , , ,