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Enabling Employee Communication: Wikis as Next Generation Intranets


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The now-traditional intranet is effective, but fundamentally limited by its essentially distributive content model. That is to say, it functions like a bulletin board, offering information and functionality to users when the intranet manager decides. Newer intranets offer more interaction, but they are still limited by the model. Wikis, because of their built-in interactivity, offer a completely different model for how the company intranet could function. In this presentation and discussion, Dr. Paul Welty will explain wikis, show some demonstrations and discuss how the wiki might be an effective replacement for the traditional intranet.

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Enabling Employee Communication: Wikis as Next Generation Intranets

  1. 1. Enabling Employee Communication Wikis as the next generation intranets Dr. Paul Welty SM
  2. 2. Outline • Background on intranets • What is a wiki? • How could a wiki be an intranet? • Discussion SM
  3. 3. Background on intranets
  4. 4. What is an intranet? • B2E - businesses communicating information to employees • Sometimes involves tools • Usually touches on email and other channels SM
  5. 5. First-generation intranet • Passive display of commonly-needed information • Starts replacing offline materials • Often file-centric • Often accompanied by excessive, poorly- targeted emails • Usually fragmented through many sites • Platform: HTML pages managed individually • Problems: freshness, relevance, critical mass (why go online at all?) SM
  6. 6. Second-generation intranet • Actively supplying employees with data they need • Often feature more benefits information • Personalization • More expensive platforms, usually homegrown • Problems: more and more IT resources are required, performance, adoption, rogue sites as tools spread SM
  7. 7. Third-generation intranet • Features employee work tools • Centralize: final consolidation of rogue sites • Unified look-and-feel • Very expensive platforms, usually third-party • Projects characterized by massively top-down thinking SM
  8. 8. Third-generation intranet problems • Deep thinking about information hierarchy is expensive, time-consuming, and almost never right • Platforms are very difficult to implement • Adoption • Maintenance SM
  9. 9. Fourth-generation intranet • E2E - Employee interaction • Decentralized content • Roughly parallels CGM in public world • Technology has finally outpaced our thinking about the intranet • Needs a platform • The question is: what will be the platform? SM
  10. 10. Wikis - the argument • Current technological and strategic focus should be abandoned as too complex and too expensive • Let’s just admit there is no perfect navigation • Lower-tech, more open, collaborative tools are required to support what’s going on • Wikis are a good choice for platform • they are flexible enough for what we want • they don’t require expensive up-front investments SM
  11. 11. What is a wiki?
  12. 12. Definition • Group-editable Web site • Group-organizable Web site • Editing done through ordinary Web browser • Not HTML but “Wiki language” SM
  13. 13. History • Using Apple’s HyperCard software as inspiration, Ward Cunningham started developing WikiWikiWeb in 1994, and it went live in 1995. • “Wiki” is a Hawaiian-language word for “fast” • Wikipedia was formally launched on January 15, 2001, as a single English-language edition. • As of September 2007 Wikipedia had , approximately 8.29 million articles in 253 languages, comprising a combined total of over 1.41 billion words for all Wikipedias. SM
  14. 14. Demo • • SM
  15. 15. How could a wiki be an intranet?
  16. 16. Model • Ideal for situations when accurate, up-to- date information needs to be available • Many-to-many • Decentralized • Collaborative • Empowering • Relax! It’s never finished (and doesn’t need to be) SM
  17. 17. Benefits - Implementation • Doesn’t need a lot of design, technology, or information architecture • Can run on most servers • Easy and quick to install • Low-impact on current environment • Free software (and bundles) SM
  18. 18. Benefits - Communication • Content-focused • Encourages decentralized content • Helps keep content fresh • History • Low barrier to changes • no need to obsess • no bottlenecks SM
  19. 19. Challenges • Integration with more functional tools • File sharing • Training • Cultural changes • With great power comes great responsibility • Syndication and non-www media SM