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Don’t Fear the Wiki! Business Can Benefit
Posted By Mary O. Foley On December 1, 2007 @ 12:00 am In Telecom and Wireless | 1 Comment
Wikis are making Joel Postman’s worklife easier — and greener.
Since adopting wiki technology at Eastwick Communications, a 40-person public-relations firm in Mountain View, Calif., Postman has seen the e-mail traffic in his office fall by 40 percent.
Using wiki, says Postman, “Any of our people can edit a set of common documents,” such as press releases and other media materials. “That cuts down on e-mail traffic and confusion.”
And recently, Postman, director of emerging media for Eastwick, was able to plan an entirely paperless press event for his client, Fujitsu America, which was announcing an environmental initiative. When reporters showed up for the event, they were given USB flash drives featuring fully downloadable press kits — press releases, frequently asked questions, and other materials.
“Part of managing that event for them involved not using paper,” Postman says. “That was important, and we were able to do it because we used wiki.”
No, they’re not just like Wikipedia
Wiki, from the Hawaiian word for “fast,” is a type of computer software that allows users to edit and link webpages. Perhaps the most famous open-source wiki is Wikipedia, the wildly popular online encyclopedia that has literally millions of contributing writers.
It is perhaps because of Wikipedia that wikis haven’t taken off in the workplace. Wikis’ strong identification as an open-source medium has led many companies to worry over who has access to them, and whether material on them could be sabotaged or altered without one’s knowledge. Making changes to open-source wikis also can be difficult, requiring some knowledge of wikispeak.
But that’s changing. A recent Gartner report forecast that 50 percent of all U.S. corporations will have wikis by 2009.
Like many products with open-source roots, such as voice over Internet protocol, there are now for-a-fee wiki products that offer more security and ease of use.
Some good reasons to consider wikis
Companies such as Socialtext and Australian-based Atlassian offer software and hosted wiki products that limit access and allow participants to edit them as easily as they would e-mail, notes Jeff Brainard, director of product marketing with Palo Alto-based Socialtext. In addition, wiki participants can track changes and/or receive e-mail notifying them when changes have been made. Brainard says their hosted product is the most popular, costing about $4-5 per user per month.
Other good reasons to choose wikis include:
The bottom line: it’s time to stop fearing the wiki. With today’s features, the wiki is one Web 2.0 tool that deserves a good look.
SIDEBAR: Wiki Providers to Watch
Socialtext  offers software and hosted wiki solutions for companies that feature the ability to secure wiki access and track changes.
Atlassian  offers Confluence, enterprise wiki software.
StructuredWikis  offers wikis for businesses based on open-source platforms.
Article printed from Inc. Technology: http://technology.inc.com
URL to article: http://technology.inc.com/2007/12/01/dont-fear-the-wiki-business-can-benefit/
URLs in this post:
 Socialtext: http://www.socialtext.com/
 Atlassian: http://www.atlassian.com/
 StructuredWikis: http://www.structuredwikis.com/
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