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Why there should be a Wiki integrated into every Intranet

2008-03-17 - 12:18:51 by Martin Seibert in General
Within an Intranet, Wikis are a good means for the quick and uncomplicated collecting of information that is needed for the long-term; this creates a base of knowledge as well as a platform for communication that is always available to the participating employees.

The following Top Ten reasons are arguments for why every Intranet should have its own Wiki.

1. Slowing of the e-mail flood

It is true that e-mail inboxes function as extensive knowledge storage areas, but they often go unused; in addition, only the user has access to it. The management of documents and e-mail attachments is also particularly time-consuming as it costs valuable resources to search constantly for older e-mails within the filing systems to distribute further. In contrast, the Wiki is both a central knowledge pool to which even new employees have immediate access as well as a much more efficient communications system.

2. Up-to-date

Every employee can contribute his experiences and knowledge for the good of all. The Wiki supports internal communication – especially important for project management, which requires that every participant quickly informs himself about developments. The documents in the Wiki are, thanks to the collaboration, always up-to-date; the tiresome comparison of e-mails thus becomes unnecessary.

3. Open structure

Wikis adapt themselves organically to the company’s needs. In comparison to management environments such as data systems or databank-supported systems, they are not tied to strictly structured content requirements.

4. Powerful tools

Wikis have access to a series of powerful tools, making it possible to organize complex contents without undue time and effort. Internal links using WikiWords, external links, the hierarchical structuring of documents, the exporting of text, or the imbedding of graphics and tables can also be accomplished without comprehensive prior knowledge.

5. Flexibility

Wikis are more flexible than static websites, whose contents have to be updated using technical, time-consuming methods. When working on a Wiki, employees don’t have to work things out in a time- or space-constrained way, so they collaborate independently on the same contents. The changes made are online immediately.

6. Operability

Thanks to the WYSIWYG editor, Wikis are easy to operate. Using the relatively easy tags, every employee can easily edit or create entries without even having to know HTML code.

7. Transparency

Regarding Intranet-Wikis, the consideration of transparency is not to be underestimated. Especially within larger companies, it can be extremely positive when employees know, for instance, how colleagues in other departments actually earn their money. The communicative dealings among colleagues can be found under the motto ‘equal communication’.

8. Security

Wikis are tolerant of mistakes. If an employee completely misses the target, changes can be easily reversed and the Wiki can revert to earlier (and complete) versions. The functional handling of Wikis also includes the allocation of access authorizations for certain areas. Therefore, the view into the Wiki may also be controlled. Due to this customization potential, vandalism of the company Wiki is practically impossible.

9. Protection of resources

In comparison to other management systems, Wikis are undemanding regarding their system requirements. They require neither a certain operating system nor high processing resources. They are reachable from every – even older – Internet-capable PC and can be edited using every normal browser.

10. Cost savings

In comparison to many traditional tools and processes, learning how to interact with the Wiki requires minimal time. Test phases, employee training, and complex configurations disturbing productivity are mostly superfluous.

The Intranet-Wiki is a management system with a nearly unbeatably affordable cost-benefit relationship, particularly for the descriptions of processes, how-to documents, and similarly long-term-use information. In addition, Wikis are, regarding the exchange and forwarding of knowledge, flexible, powerful, and sustainable communications platforms.


This essay was originally created by Matthias Rauer on 2007-11-02 in German. Please see: 'Warum in jedes Intranet ein Wiki integriert sein sollte' at //SEIBERT/MEDIA Weblog.

//SEIBERT/MEDIA is one of the professional and expierenced web agencies in Germany. With about 60 employees the company has four divisions: Consulting (Strategy, Concepts, Usability), Design (Webdesign, Printdesign, Corporate Design), Technologies (Frontend, Backend incl. Perl and TWiki-Applications) and Systems (Webhosting, Web Security). //SEIBERT/MEDIA offers the full range of TWiki support from invidual TWiki-Hosting to full-service-implementations of Wikis including Strategy, Concepts, Design, Implementation, editing and training. We run TWiki in our own intranet and support TWiki with some of our customers. We know all of the valuable PlugIns and extensions and can enhance the system in Perl with our programmers. If needed we can offer interfaces to other intranet-applications.

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