E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Why Wikis Are Conquering the Enterprise

In the past, you may recall how I have been talking a few times about one of my favourite social software tools out there for teams, communities, and whatever other groups, to get together to collaborate and share knowledge with one another in order to be able to codify some of that tacit knowledge that abounds all over the place. Yes, indeed, wikis. Well, to continue building up further on that wiki social software evangelism here is a really interesting article that I have bumped into thanks to elearningpost titled Why Wikis Are Conquering the Enterprise by Michael Hickins and  that I though you would also be interested in reading up further.

In that particular article you would be able to find some interesting and relevant facts as to how much wikis are actually impacting the way knowledge workers get to share knowledge and collaborate within the enterprise, in such a way that they have been able to provide much more value in most cases than making use of some other traditional collaborative tools. For instance, the prediction from Gartner analyst Kathy Harris indicating that "by 2009, 50 percent of U.S. companies will be using wikis". That is just huge, don’t you think ?

What I really liked about the article itself as well, when conveying how relevant wikis are becoming within the enterprise, is the fact that their adoption has been promoted following the trends from the consumer market regarding its own acceptance: from bottom to top. So there would be a good chance that plenty of different project teams and communities may already be using wikis to collaborate, even though companies may not have adopted them widely just yet. Thus those grassroots efforts seem to be having the most significant impact within corporations: that of knowledge workers trying to get their jobs done through the frequent use of wikis to reach out to others and share whatever they would need or want to.

Another important aspect from the article itself that highlights the impact from wikis within businesses is the fact that they are helping out big time boosting innovation by allowing knowledge workers to find a space where they can freely hang out, share what they know, collaborate with others, make it better, reuse it, implement it, in short, innovating at its best. Here is another interesting quote that reflects on that fostering of innovation within businesses:

"Wikis also help address another problem companies have struggled with for years, which is how to collect and retain knowledge that is in people’s heads or in unstructured documents like e-mail.

Previous so-called knowledge-management solutions have foundered because people are loathe to spend time thanklessly regurgitating their experiences into some knowledge repository for the good of the company.

Wikis, on the other hand, are a more natural way for people to explain their thought processes and get kudos along the way."

That is just so spot on ! And totally in agreement with the initial paragraph I wrote above from this particular weblog post. More and more knowledge workers are finding their way through to wikis in order to share more of that tacit knowledge, that know how, that is actually helping enterprises codify most of the knowledge that was not possible in the recent past using whatever other traditional Intellectual Capital repositories. For many years, plenty of people have been having issues with sharing that Intellectual Capital in different places with which they couldn’t find a single connection. So their knowledge was stored consistently rather in their heads, or their own personal computers, or some obscured databases with access to only a few, which would make it really hard to find and reuse that IC.

However, wikis are becoming ever more popular than ever before because they have got that inherent flavour of social sharing. Sharing within a group, i.e. a team or a community, with some very high visibility on everything that is happening and with some instant gratification of having knowledge workers working through different wiki pages adding content on top of each other’s content. Yes, that gratifying feeling that they are owning part of the knowledge shared along with some others and that they are helping by contributing into something bigger. I know that some folks out there would probably say that most people do not feel comfortable with that. And that is perhaps too true, and an issue to do with the fact that people may not have been able to make the switch just yet and start to trust  each other some more in order to do the right thing.

After all, they are all on the same boat building up a better knowledge repository that could be reused all over the place at a later time. So that wide adoption of wikis within the enterprise may not be just yet at the level you would expect. And that is fine. There is no rush. The grassroots efforts I mentioned above are there already. And they are quite strong, so I am sure that it would just be a matter of time before wikis become second nature and part of the business as usual processes. And you know what? I can’t wait for it to happen, because the very moment that takes place social software will certainly transform enterprises into Enterprise 2.0. And that is not a fad. It is here to stay.

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8 comments

  1. Hello Sawada-san ! Thanks ever so much for the feedback comments, for dropping by and for the very interesting link to your weblog (I wish I would know a whole lot more Japanese to be able to keep on reading with most of your weblog posts :-))

    I really appreciate all of your feedback thus far and, certainly, looking forward to finally getting some further details regarding the comments and their links in different weblog posts over here so that I can help provide some further analysis and information details on some other interesting conversations that are taking place.

    Thus thanks a bunch for all that and also for the latest link to Rashimi’s presentation. Will have a look into it and perhaps share a separate weblog post commenting further on it. Appreciated the always insightful feedback comments ! Thanks !

  2. Luis, thanks for the commment back, will keep your informed whenever I find interesting articles on the Web that are relevant to your interest. I have reading latest Systems Journal of IBM on activity-centric computing.

    My view on Enterprise 2.0 with the very simple formula is

    Enterprise 2.0 = Office 2.0 + SOA
    form IT View (borrowed this formula from Ismael Ghalimi of Intralio, BPMS 2.0 product vendor wiht Open Source on ECLIPSE framework)

    Office2.0 (somtimes referred to as Web SOA )incldudes
    (1)On line Office tools – Zoho suite, Zimbra, Echosign ..
    (2)Social Networking Tools – BLOG, Bookmarking (Dogear), Tagging(Fringe Contacts) on Wiki (QEDWiki in IBM case)
    (3)Collaobation tools – IM, Web conferencing ( like Notes V7 including Activity Explorer)

    SOA (Enterprise SOA in comparison to Web SOA) includs
    (1) Business Process Modeller (BPMN)
    (2) Process Execution Engine (BPEL)
    (3) Enterprise Service Bus
    with easy to use application interface to Web SOA, providing business services (new way of reperesnting Web Services within and across the enterprise within the value networks, that IBM is aggressively pursuing now with the project name called VIOLA at Yorktown Hights)

    VIOLA means Value-Centric, Model-Drive Business Transformation, that ties business modeling (in Real meaning , not business process modeling), CBM on Business integration platform ( Websphere BPMS )

    You can see description of VIOLA at
    http://www.research.ibm.com/jam/violapaper.pdf
    with more details on Modeling Approach at
    domino.watson.ibm.com/library/CyberDig.nsf/papers/BB26C4AA0EA84ECC85257184005240A7/$File/rj10381.pdf
    and its impact at
    http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/444/cherbakov.pdf

    Hope above info will expand your thought on how to fill the gap of IT and business. I am beinf deeply intrigued by these research and development porjects in IBM research division. Hope you find these project interesting too.

    Best regards, Tomoaki

  3. I just forgot to inform you that there are good illustration of how to use Wiki in developing industry vertial situational applications. IBM posted Insurance Industry example of isurance ploicy making, usinf ACORD standard.

    QEDwiki ACORD Demo

    http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/etech?entry=qedwiki_acord_demo&ca=drs-bl

    There is now a QEDwiki ACORD demo available on You Tube. IBM has been recently working on projects related to situational applications and application wikis.
    An Application Wiki enables non-technical users to rapidly design their own means of interaction with data or business services. QEDwiki is IBM’s application wiki framework for collaboration, and situational dynamic content development. Enjoy

    Tomoaki

  4. Thanks a lot, Sawada-san, for dropping by, once more, and for sharing this extensive feedback ! Fantastic piece of work ! It certainly looks like we have got plenty of common interests in this particular subject of social adoption within the Enterprise or Enterprise 2.0. Excellent stuff ! I am really glad you are making that connection of the concept of what Enterprise 2.0 is all about and, while reading through it, I kept nodding in agreement over and over again. However, I think that there is another key fundamental aspect that we should not forget. And that is the fact that Enterprise 2.0 goes well beyond the primary role of social software tools. It is a whole lot more than that. As a starter those different social software tools you mentioned above are actually very important and key enablers from a technology perspective, but we should not forget that if there is anything key to that concept of Web 2.0 taken to the enterprise is the fact that it is all about people. Thus we would probably need to add that to the equation and then we would have the best of both worlds: technology and people. Really nice !

    Thanks a bunch as well for sharing the information details regarding VIOLA. I was already aware of the initiative and I am indeed keeping a close eye on to it, although I still feel it is perhaps not ready for the main themes discussed here in this weblog, or, better perhaps, this weblog may not be ready, just yet, for it. But I am sure it would be eventually. We shall see. One thing for sure that I am really looking forward is that whenever the right moment approaches I shall be looking forward to commenting further on further developments around this particular area. Thus thanks again for the heads up!

    Oh, and before I forget, appreciated as well the connection you have mentioned above with QEDWiki ACORD Demo on the capabilities on that upcoming piece of software from IBM. I already had it in my list of topics to weblog about in the near future and I am really glad you are actually giving a good preview to the audience of this weblog already, so that they can see what we will be talking about over the next few weeks. Fantastic !

    Appreciated all the feedback comments, Sawada-san! Thanks much !

  5. Luis, I completely agree with you that People is the driver of innovation supported by IT. In this repect, Activity Explorer announced in Notes V7 and UAM in IBM is the precursor for Activity Centric Paradigm.

    My simple formula again looks like below

    BPMS (in SOA) = improve and automate Pre-determind process
    and provide realtime capability of
    creating new process and changing
    business ruels in responding to market
    changes)
    +
    Activity (UAM supported by Activity Eplorer combined with Social Software on Wiki Based system to improve Artful Process )

    BPMS contibutes to increase the efficiency in 40 percent of time spent by Professionals ( namely “transactinal work” activity ) and “Activity” enhance productivity of “innovation process” in the remaing 60 percent of time (“Tacit knowledge work” and Transformational work (collect and transform teh data into the “meaning”. Combined capability of above quation witin the enterprise is the source of Oraganizational (Enterprise level) productivity.

    I have no doubt that People side of the equation is more important than the other.

    I am looking for the way to unite these two side of activities into one. In this regard, I am expecting “Guided procedue” concept , from BPMS side that incorporate “People intiated process = activity” to make INTEGRATED PROCESS and Swashup (Semantic Web services mashups , maybe I am correct!) project E.M.Maximilien of UAM team in IBM) to represnt semantice of “Human activities “every day process)” to be exposed and “business services” making it to be identified automatically on the net and can be into “my activity” automatically and re-used as best practice.

    I may be going to far and making some mistakes in uderstanding and correlating differenct pieces of the research and development activities, but I will keep you updated with more finding sometimes.

    That’s all for today and will write to you soon.

    Best regards.

    PS; today I am going to have a kick off meeting with you BLOG comminties to initiate “Social Networking Analysis (SNA)Interest Group” to study more about SNA and relate SNA in the overall “Innovation Process”

  6. Luis, sorry for the typo.”you BLOG comminties” should be read as MY BLOG Communities.

    >PS; today I am going to have a kick off meeting with you >BLOG comminties to initiate “Social Networking Analysis
    >(SNA)Interest Group” to study more about SNA and relate >SNA in the overall “Innovation Process”

    Best regards

  7. Luis, I think you may be interested in reading following 2 presentations that IBM is pomoting internally to accelerate “process of innovation” using social networking for social sharing.

    Innovation Trends and Levers
    www-5.ibm.com/be/pdf/en/events/nextlevel/nextlevel_innovation_management_ginzburg.pdf

    Applying Innovations
    www-5.ibm.com/be/pdf/en/events/nextlevel/nextlevel_applyinginnovation_harris.pdf

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