Remember the weblog post I created back in June this year around the subject of Wikis in Enterprises Survey – Collaborative Working in Enterprise Environments Using Wikis where I was mentioning the work that Tim Bartel has been doing for his upcoming thesis on Wikis in Enterprises? Well, it looks like the first set of results is now available for public viewing. Tim has just shared a weblog post where he is pointing other folks into that initial sample analysis of the results which he will be providing in full by year end as part of his thesis study. You can find them over here and after going through them there are just a couple of items that I found interesting from those folks who submitted their input:
a. It looks like smaller enterprises are actually making much heavier use of wikis than larger enterprises: Interesting if you come to read further on the results about simplicity and ease of use, including the install. You would expect that large enterprises would be having higher numbers, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
b. Higher educated knowledge workers seem to be the heaviest wiki users: I was surprised to see this one as well since if there is anything that wikis are very good at is in democratising the way information flows, so I was expecting that a whole bunch of other knowledge workers would be participating further from wikis.
c. Wikis seem to have been there for a while: With a good chunk of them indicating they have been working with wikis for well over a year! Good stuff. Finally, it is slowly, but steadily, grabbing people’s attention within the enterprise.
d. Simplicity of use and simple / fast implementation: These two seem to be the main reasons why wikis get chosen to help knowledge workers collaborate within the enterprise. Nothing really surprising there, I am sure, but it is very reassuring to read that lots of other folks seem to be thinking along the same lines!
e. And, finally, lack of participation: This seems to be the one and only challenge out there for the wider adoption of wikis within the enterprise and somehow it didn’t come out as a surprise either, since that is the same issue I have been facing myself in some of the different wikis that I have been participating myself in. Not only does it take time for the tools to sink in, but at the same time due to the fact that there are all sorts of different options already available out there it would make for a difficult choice to stick around with wikis, specially if they are already comfortable with using whatever other tools.
I am sure that if wikis would be perhaps one of three choices for knowledge worker collaboration they would have a much better chance of getting adopted. However, we all know that the larger the enterprise is, the larger the tools suite would become and people would be looking for alternatives that would allow them to get the job done.
Perhaps now is the time where that tools suite needs to start getting integrated and provide a general and common platform where the best of those tools get combined into coming forward with a single experience. Pretty much along the lines of what, for instance, ITtoolbox is doing at the moment. Check out this other weblog post for some details of how wikis could get integrated with weblogs, forums and some other social networking tidbits to become a very powerful professional networking offering.
That may well be the best chance of survival for wikis within the enterprise before people move on to something else. What do you think ? Would it be a good time to look for some integration or are wikis just not ready for it?
Either way, I am really glad that Tim has shared the first initial set of results from the Wikis in Enterprises as it would surely be quite an interesting and enlightening read for when the final study comes out, something that, I am not sure about you guys, but I am certainly looking forward to it ! And, of course, you will get to hear about it over here, since I am planning to weblog about it as well !
Special thanks to Tim Bartel once again for reaching out and for sharing part of his work thus far. Really useful and worth while investigating further ! Well done !