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Social Media and Structured Wikis at Work - Enterprise Collaboration for Millennials,
Presentation at Silicon Valley-China Wireless Association Conference, Santa Clara, USA

This is the presentation material for the 20 minutes talk on "Social Media and Structured Wikis at Work - Enterprise Collaboration for Millennials" at Silicon Valley-China Wireless Association, 2015-11-21.

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Abstract: Collaboration at work is gradually changing. Gone are the days where fax and e-mail were the main way of communication to do the work, and where IT is in control of the tools used by employees. Millennials are used to social media with feeds, self-expression, and ad hoc peer communication. When they enter the workforce they expect to work in a similar way. Wikis and social media platforms like Yammer and Slack address the needs of Millennials. These platforms are often deployed virally in the cloud. The modern workplace has no choice but to embrace these platforms. Question on security and compliance need to be addressed. Learn from the founder of TWiki and co-author of the Wikis for Dummies book how to navigate the new collaborative landscape. Learn also how a structured wiki can automate your workflows and how it helps transform your organization into a lean and agile enterprise.

See also: What is TWiki, Public TWiki Sites, TWiki Screenshots, TWiki.org Blog

   Copyright © 2015 by TWiki.org. This presentation may be reproduced as long as the copyright notice is retained and a link is provided back to http://twiki.org.  

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Slide 1: Social Media and Structured Wikis at Work

Enterprise Collaboration for Millennials

  • Collaboration at work is gradually changing
  • Millennials expect social media, feeds, self expression, ad hoc peer communication
  • Wikis & social media platforms like Yammer and Slack enter the workplace via the cloud
  • Structured wikis can automate workflows
  • Learn from the founder of TWiki and co-author of the Wikis for Dummies book how to navigate the new collaborative landscape

Presentation for Silicon Valley-China Wireless Association, 2015-11-21
-- Peter Thoeny - peter09@thoeny.org - TWiki.org

Slide 2: About Peter

  • Peter Thoeny
  • CTO and Founder of TWiki.org, an Enterprise Collaboration Platform provider
  • Wikis for Dummies cover Founder of TWiki, the open source wiki for the enterprise, managing the project for 15+ years
  • Invented the concept of structured wikis - where free form wiki content can be structured with tailored wiki applications
  • Thought-leader in wikis and social software, featured in numerous articles and technology conferences including Business Week, Wall Street Journal and more
  • Graduate of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich
  • Lived in Japan for 8 years, developing CASE tools
  • Now in the Silicon Valley for 15+ years
  • Co-author of Wikis for Dummies book

Slide 3: Agenda

  • The Millennial Generation
  • Enterprise collaboration space & social media
  • IT and shadow IT
  • Collaborative cultures at work
  • What is a Structured Wiki? What are wiki apps?
  • Case study: Morgan Stanley

Slide 4: The Millennial Generation

  • Millennials (aka Generation Y) - demographic cohort following Generation X
    • Born early 1980s to early 2000s, e.g. teenagers to young adults today
  • Traits:
    • Confident and tolerant - LGBT, abortion
    • Strive for work-life balance
    • Sense of entitlement - workplace expectation
      • Look for versatility and flexibility in the workplace
    • Expect instant gratification - Instagram
    • Self expression/narcissism - selfies
    • Short attention span
  • What are the implications for collaboration at work?

Slide 5: Enterprise Collaboration Landscape Today - Social Enterprise

From Centralized, to Decentralized, to Collaborative


Slide 6: Trend "Enterprise Software" vs. "Social Business"

"No-Software" logo is copyrighted by Salesforce.com

Slide 7: IT and Shadow IT

  • Traditional IT: Information technology department decides on internal systems and solutions, and provisions and maintains them for employees
    • Microsoft Exchange Server, SharePoint, Active Directory, Confluence, TWiki, ...

  • Shadow IT: Employees use IT systems and solutions inside organizations without explicit organizational approval
    • Viral marketing: Yammer, Slack, Google Docs, Evernote, ...
    • What about security and compliance?

Slide 8: Shadow IT: Implications

  • DIY (do it yourself) IT is not stoppable, especially with Millennials - implications?

  • Security: Content lives in the cloud, e.g. outside of the corporate firewall
    • Entrust mission critical content to 3rd party?
    • Subpoena?

  • Compliant with Regulations?
    • Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, PCI DSS, ...

  • Inefficiencies:
    • Inconsistent ways to do work across teams
    • Siloed content

Slide 9: Collaborative Cultures at Work

  • Document centric culture:   - MS Office, Google Docs
    • Individual ownership - I own this spreadsheet
    • Hierarchy - on storing content, as well as org structure
    • Limited sharing - within group; hold back

  • Wiki centric culture:   - Wikipedia, Confluence, TWiki
    • Collaborative - we work together
    • Organic: Incomplete, constant change
    • Organize and garden content
    • Memory - "corporate brain"

  • Feed culture:   - Facebook, Yammer, Slack
    • Good to communicate content of short lifespan
    • I share and I consume - individual
    • Circles - followers and friends
    • Transient - no memory

Slide 10: Social Media at Work: Viral Shift towards Information Age


Slide 11: Competitive Landscape of Wikis & Social Enterprise


Slide 12: Structured Wiki = Enterprise Wiki & Wiki Application Platform


  • Goal: Make the workplace more agile, transparent and productive
  • How: Create wiki apps to automate business processes and workflows

Slide 13: Structured Wiki Applications - Custom Purpose & Situational

Wiki Apps: Created ad hoc & iteratively to address specific needs


  • Outage Tracker of an IT organization
  • Ontology and Relationship Map of a electric utility in Canada
  • Decision Tree for Troubleshooting of a electric utility in Canada
  • Sales Pipeline Tracker of TWiki consultancy

Slide 14: Example Wiki App: Outage Tracker


Slide 15: Example Wiki App: Ontology and Relationship Map


Slide 16: Example Wiki App: Decision Tree for Troubleshooting


Slide 17: Example Wiki App: Sales Pipeline Tracker


Slide 18: What is a Structured Wiki?

  • Goal of a structured wiki:
    • Combine the benefits of a wiki and a database application
  • Wiki:
    • Organic & never complete: Content & structure is open to editing and evolution
    • Open: Readers can refactor incomplete or poorly organized content at any time
    • Hyper-linked: Many links to related content due to WikiWord nature
    • Trust: Open for anyone to edit, "soft security" with audit trail
  • Database application:
    • Highly structured data
    • Easy reporting
    • Workflow (e.g. purchase requisition)
    • Access control

Slide 19: What is TWiki?

  • twiki-logo-200x72.png TWiki is a wiki engine and wiki application platform, established in 1998
  • TWiki is specifically built for the workplace
  • Large number of TWiki Extensions: 200+ actively maintained extensions
  • Open Source software (GPL) with active community, hosted at http://TWiki.org/
  • 2,000 downloads per month, 800,000 total downloads, estimate 10,000+ installations, 130+ countries
  • Est. $27M of human capital invested (ref. Open HUB)
  • Source Forge 2009 "Best Enterprise Project" Finalist (among 230,000 open source projects)

Slide 20: What is TWiki used for?

  • Shared notebook for teams: Projects, repository, scheduling, meetings
  • Departmental collaboration tool: Processes, project reviews, QA tracking
  • Intranet publishing tool: IT, HR, ISO standards
  • CMS with focus on free-form collaboration: Requirements capture
  • Knowledge base: Problem/solution pairs with attached patches
  • Platform to create wiki applications, such as news portals, inventory systems, issues tracking systems

Slide 21: Who is using TWiki?

Slide 22: Case Study: Morgan Stanley


Slide 23: Morgan Stanley: Scale of Structured Wiki Deployment

  • The sheer scale of the deployment at Morgan Stanley is staggering in enterprise scale terms:
    • 30,000 employees use the platform
    • 4+ Million page views per month (crawlers excluded)
    • 300,000 updates/month
    • 500,000 web pages managed in the system
    • Managed across 3 Data Centers with HA (high availability)

Slide 24: Morgan Stanley: Use Cases - "Mission Critical"

  • Primary use:
    • Technical Operations Manuals - Document storage for the IT teams to manage day to day operations of their software assets
    • Software Product Documents - A place for their internal teams to store documents during the development of their internal software
    • Team Workspaces - Webs for their teams to share/collaborate project content such as project status, meeting minutes, and progress reports
    • Data aggregation - 5000+ TWiki topics retrieving data from other systems such as RSS feeds, Jira, trouble ticket system, change management system, RDBMS, SharePoint, etc.

Slide 25: Summary

  • Millennials entering the workplace influence how we do work
  • Social media use at work makes the workplace more collaborative
  • Plan for implications of shadow IT
  • Collaborative cultures at work - try to move towards a wiki centric culture
  • A structured wiki is a powerful platform to increase productivity and transparency at work

Slide 26: How Can a Structured Wiki Help Your Organization?

This presentation: http://bit.ly/twPres15

-- Peter Thoeny - peter09@thoeny.org - TWiki.org



Slide 28: TWiki Open Source Community

Slide 29: Under the Hood: TWiki I/O Architecture


Slide 30: Usage Pattern in a Structured Wiki

  1. Users typically start with unstructured wiki content
    • Example: Call-center status board
  2. User discovers patterns in content
    • Example: Call-center status board has fixed list of users and fixed list of time slots
  3. User or administrator builds an application, typically in iterations
    • Goal: Automate tasks based on discovered patterns

  • In other words: A structured wiki enables users to build lightweight applications

Slide 31: Example: Call-Center Status Board, v1

  • Requirement for status board:
    • Easily see who is on call at what time
    • Easily change the status board
  • Start with a simple bullet list for status board v1:
    • 07:00am - 11:00am: Richard
    • 11:00am - 03:00pm: Peter
    • 03:00pm - 07:00pm: Sam

Slide 32: Example: Call-Center Status Board, v2

  • Status board v1 does the job, but lets make it more presentable and useful:
    • Convert the bullets into a table
    • Use WikiWord links to team member's home pages for easy reference
    • Add Backup person
  • Improved status board v2:

Slide 33: Example: Call-Center Status Board, v3

  • Status board v2 is presentable, now lets make it more user friendly:
  • Improved status board v3, view and edit:

Slide 34: Wikipedia - The 800 Pound Gorilla

  • Wikipedia: Wiki + Encyclopedia Wikipedia
  • A free encyclopedia written collaboratively by you
  • Project started in January 2001
  • The most active public wiki: 4,000,000 articles and 18,000,000 registered users in the English language Wikipedia alone (ref. Wikipedia statistics)
  • Anyone in the world can edit any page.
  • Doesn't that lead to chaos?
    • Domain experts contribute
    • Well defined policies for contributing and handling content
      • ALERT! BUT: Reality of edit wars, and larger interest groups overpowering smaller groups
    • Graffiti gets removed quickly (many eye balls; rollback available)
  • Content can be freely distributed and reproduced under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)

Slide 35: IBM Research: history flow of Islam article on Wikipedia


Slide 36: TWiki in Action


Slide 37: Challenges of Static Intranets

  • Challenges - Static Intranet Some content is outdated
  • Incomplete content
  • When was the page last updated?
  • Difficult to find content
  • Inconsistency across departments
  • Special tools, knowledge and permission required to maintain
  • Content is static, it has a "webmaster syndrome":
    If an employee discovers a page with incorrect or insufficient information, the employee will often ignore it because it takes too much time to find out who the webmaster is and to write an e-mail requesting an update

Slide 38: Wikis and Static Intranets

  • Wiki and Static Intranet Move some/all Intranet content into a wiki
    • No difference for readers to browse and search content
    • Employees are empowered to fix content on the spot
    • Ease of maintenance
    • No need to install client side software
    • Consistent look & feel
  • Paradigm shift
    • from: webmasters maintain content
    • to: domain experts and casual users maintain content

Slide 39: Challenges of E-mail

  • Challenges - E-mail E-mail and mailing lists are great, but:
    • Post and reply vs. post and refine/refactor
    • Great for discussion, but ... hard to find "final consensus" on a thread
    • E-mail is not hyper-linked and is not structured, content can't be grouped easily into related topics
    • E-mail and attachments are not version controlled and it is difficult to determine the history of a document
    • Not all interested people / too many people in the loop

Slide 40: Wikis and E-mail

  • Wiki and E-mail Move some e-mail traffic into a wiki
    • Ease of reference (cross-linking)
    • Flexible notification (favorites only, daily digest, RSS/ATOM feed)
    • Pockets of knowledge made available to interested parties
    • Audit trail / domain experts
  • Paradigm shift
    • from: post & reply
    • to: post & refine & cross-link
  • Send e-mail with link to content instead of content itself

Slide 41: Challenges of Business Processes

  • Challenges - Business Processes Business processes are implemented in large scale by IT department (Sarbanes-Oxley compliance etc.)
  • Teams follow formal/informal workflow to accomplish tasks, which is often a paper-based process (rolling out laptops to employees etc.)
  • No resources allocated to implement applications to automate these processes; IT department has no bandwidth to implement lightweight applications for a variety of teams

Slide 42: Wikis and Business Processes

  • Wiki and Business Processes A structured wiki is a flexible tool to support evolving processes
    • in the free-form wiki way -- linked pages, collaboratively maintained
    • and with a structured wiki application -- forms, queries, reports
  • Content contributors with moderate skill sets can build web applications
  • Paradigm shift
    • from: programmers create applications
    • to: all of us can build applications

Slide 43: Requirements for a Wiki at the Workplace

  • Version control -- audit trail
  • Access control -- security
  • File attachments -- document management
  • Ease of use -- productivity
  • Ease of administration -- productivity
  • Feature set -- create web applications
  • API -- integration with existing enterprise applications
  • Scalability -- room to grow
  • Support -- get help when needed

Slide 44: Initial Deployment of a Structured Wiki

  • Plan content and rollout
    • Pain killer vs. vitamin
  • Build initial structure & wiki apps
  • Populate initial content with help from early adopters
  • Initial rollout with smaller group
  • Train and coach users Quick growth after slow start at Wind River
  • Do not underestimate inertia and time
  • Expect quick growth after slow start

Slide 45: Role of Wiki Champion

  • A wiki champion is a person who:
    • understands the process of the work for a given project or business (the domain), and
    • knows how to use a wiki (best practices in collaboration)
  • The wiki champion is coaching the employees
    • Advocate, important role especially in the initial phase of a wiki
  • Typically a part time role
  • As the wikis gets larger and grows laterally, new wiki champions emerge

Slide 46: Be Aware of Mental Barriers

To click on Edit, or not to click, that is the question
  • Wikis can be intimidating; the wiki pages appear "official" and corporate
    • Overcome your own internal resistance to edit existing content
    • Paradigm shift: Content is owned by team, not individual
  • I want my contributions to be near "perfect"
    • It is more effective to post content early and let the team provide feedback and revise it iteratively


   Copyright © 2015 by TWiki.org. This presentation may be reproduced as long as the copyright notice is retained and a link is provided back to http://twiki.org.  

See also: What is TWiki, Public TWiki Sites, TWiki Screenshots, TWiki.org Blog

-- Peter Thoeny - 2015-11-20

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