NEWS & KNOW-HOW

What makes a company wiki unique

Let’s start from the beginning: What exactly is a wiki?

In a nutshell, a wiki is an online collection of articles on specific topics. The articles can be optimally searched, edited by several users and further developed in a team.

The primary goal of a wiki is to gather important information and relevant knowledge on a topic in one place. Wikis are based on the “wisdom of the masses” and are quasi virtual public domain. A wiki is structured like a net. Entries are linked by cross-references, tags and links, but can also be structured in classical hierarchies.

This has several advantages: For one thing, content can be easily updated, eliminating the need for tedious adjustments in several places. On the other hand, the user is quickly directed to information relevant to him/her by means of various search functions – a very effective form of knowledge transfer and absorption.

In order to better explain facts, the wiki articles can be enriched with graphics, charts, audio and video sequences and other media formats. One then speaks of “Rich Articles”.

If you have ever wondered why a wiki is actually called a wiki: The word comes from the Hawaiian language and means “fast” – in this context probably best interpreted as “fast editing” or “fast and uncomplicated use”.

You can find further information under:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki

What characterizes an enterprise wiki?

Enterprise wikis are based on the well-known standard functions and advantages of a “regular” wiki. In addition, however, there are numerous functionalities that offer real added value, especially to companies and the employees and teams working there.

Thus, in a company wiki – just like in a public wiki – content can not only be read by the users, but also edited and further developed in a team. As an enterprise wiki BlueSpice pro offers – among other things

  • an optimized user interface / interface design,
  • a visual text editor,
  • a performant search (Elasticsearch),
  • a rights management (reading, editing, deleting … of contents)
  • better system security,
  • Integration and connection options via an API,
  • Quality assurance tools, including workflow, approvals and file access restriction,
  • PDF manuals with export function,
  • Semantic functions for working with forms and meta information,
  • a blog and comment function for team collaboration
  • professional support and
  • a comprehensive range of services.

You can find the complete functional scope of the BlueSpice Enterprise Wiki here …

What do you use an enterprise wiki for?

With a company wiki like BlueSpice, you create the basis for a systematic, collaborative and above all uncomplicated knowledge management in your company.

BlueSpice is the software of choice to secure information and company knowledge, to access the wealth of experience of colleagues, to use stored know-how and to avoid documented errors. Because with a company wiki the collective company knowledge is mapped in a structured way, easily accessible and constantly expanded by the employees of your company. The added value of a company wiki is particularly great when several departments are working on a topic and the transfer of know-how between departments and employees is important.

The application possibilities are almost unlimited. A classic example is the flow of information between sales, service, marketing, product management and development, e.g. in the context of market-oriented product design, the faster market launch of a product and the successful marketing through various distribution channels. Company wikis are particularly valuable in dynamic and complex environments such as

  • new product lines and/or key projects
  • technically elaborate products and/or complex services
  • strong growth of the company and the market
  • heterogeneous organizations (locations and organizational units)
  • decentralized employee structure
  • few know-how bearers or high fluctuation in the company
  • inefficient document management

The following use cases are among the “classics” of Wiki use:

Enterprise wiki or intranet?

The silent suffering of the intranet is known as “One Administrator’s Syndrome”: Hardly anyone makes changes to the content because it’s complicated, cumbersome or not allowed.

Intranets often have a structural-technical problem when it comes to collecting and communicating knowledge or information: an inflexible document management system and an administrator who usually has all rights. Even though some companies have a few editors who are involved in the creation and optimization of content, the basic rule is usually The employee may only read.

Wikis as collaborative tools break with the tradition of top-down communication

But why should the creation and management of corporate knowledge be in the hands of a few employees? Can’t ideas and suggestions come from every department? This is exactly where a wiki comes in, because it thrives on the fact that articles can be changed quickly and easily by all authorized employees. Wikis are more flexible than intranet applications, whose contents often have to be updated at great expense. Moreover, working in a wiki does not require employees to agree on either time or location. Colleagues work independently of each other on the same content. Changes are immediately online.

Graphic: On the left and in the middle the admin concepts of many intranets (read only or editing by admin). On the right, the concept of collaboration on content in the enterprise wiki.

Benefits and advantages of an enterprise wiki

From the professional documentation of your company’s knowledge to the promotion of explorative learning and the strengthening of your team and company culture – an enterprise wiki offers many advantages.

  • Professional knowledge management as a success factor:
    We live in a knowledge economy in which cognitive skills and access to information and knowledge is becoming a decisive success factor for many companies. With BlueSpice you can transform “knowledge silos” and deeply nested folder structures into manageable, networked, easily accessible and searchable knowledge units and secure the knowledge of long-standing employees from being lost. They facilitate the writing and sharing of knowledge and provide easy access to process descriptions, procedural and work instructions, checklists, audit reports, protocols, role descriptions, competencies and much more. You automatically meet all requirements for certification, e.g. according to ISO 9001:2015.
  • Facilitate orientation, increase effectiveness and efficiency:
    Questions such as “How should I do that?” or “Where can I find that?” are asked millions of times a day in companies. With BlueSpice pro the answer is very simple: “In our wiki! This saves time, nerves and finally cash money, which you can invest more sensibly.
  • Promotion of explorative learning:
    Through consistent linking, BlueSpice pro promotes explorative learning and the media competence of employees. By the way your company benefits from a “democratization of knowledge” as well as a more open and transparent corporate culture.
  • Containment of the e-mail flood:
    Employees want to stay on the ball when it comes to new developments in the company and their projects. This is often done via Office documents or e-mail. Lost information, time-consuming searches and multiple filings are real productivity and motivation killers. With the timeline function of BlueSpice pro, internal communication between employees takes place directly on the topic, easily comprehensible for all participants.
  • Access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
    Decentralized working environments, home office employees, branches and partners abroad. All this has long been reality in many companies. BlueSpice pro can easily be used across departments and locations and bundles valuable company knowledge in a central location: online, secure and always up-to-date. BlueSpice is adaptable to numerous use cases in the company – not least because of its flexible software architecture.
  • Activation of hidden resources:
    BlueSpice pro activates hidden resources through the “bottom-up approach”. The most active users are usually not the managers, but the employees. This way of working is expected by more and more people of Generation Y. A company that offers interactive value creation thus becomes a more attractive employer.
  • Stärkung des Teamworks:
    Once some team members have started using BlueSpice, their colleagues usually follow quickly. Experienced “Wiki champions” can help newcomers with their know-how to use BlueSpice. The team spirit in the company is strengthened through active cooperation.
  • Cooperation beyond team boundaries:
    BlueSpice pro is a web-based software Colleagues from other departments or external employees and partners can be easily integrated into the wiki communication without having to install software on their side.
  • Get started quickly and easily:
    Wikis are easy to use. BlueSpice pro reduces the complexity of office software to the most important core functions and supplements these with powerful automatisms, such as a PDF export of articles. This considerably reduces the entry hurdles for users.
  • Everyone is allowed to do everything – or not:
    A rienables control over the viewing, creation and publication of articles. BlueSpice pro saves every change to an article as a separate version. Thereby it becomes clear who has changed an article when and how. If an employee overshoots the mark once, the versioning system and the rollback function allow changes to be easily undone and earlier versions to be restored. Editors can be informed about changes by e-mail and view content before it is released.

Economic advantages of a company wiki

Time is money. With BlueSpice we help you to save valuable time, to increase the effectiveness and efficiency in your company and to increase the productivity of your employees.

Familiarization with the use of a wiki requires relatively little time. Cost-intensive test phases, complex configurations and intensive employee training at the expense of productivity are largely superfluous. Furthermore, the system requirements of wikis are low. They do not require high computer resources and can be accessed from any PC with Internet access. The wiki contents can be edited via common web browsers.

A wiki is a worthwhile investment in the future of your company, which will quickly pay for itself through direct and indirect economic effects:

  • Secure the knowledge and experience of your (former) employees
  • Increase the efficiency and productivity of your employees through more effective communication
  • Reduce research times and accelerate work processes
  • Reduce transaction costs (procurement of information)
  • Making your work and organisational processes transparent
  • Accelerate and simplify handovers, e.g. in case of vacation or illness
  • Reduce the internal training effort
  • Improve the “data hygiene” in your company by avoiding redundancies
  • Shorten decision cycles and avoid of unnecessary meetings
  • Optimize customer service in after sales, e.g. through helpdesks

Brian Barth
Institut Dr. Foerster GmbH & Co. KG

“We are super happy with BlueSpice and think that the migration worked out perfectly! Some users are already adding new content and the project manager is happy. What more could you want?”

Success factors during the introduction

A central requirement for the success of a company wiki is to motivate employees to actively use the software and to communicate the benefits in a comprehensible way.

Further success factors include:

  • Support and backing from management and executives
  • Anchoring of values such as openness and transparency in the mission statement of the company
  • Selection and focus on Wiki applications with high operational value
  • Creation of a core team of enthusiastic evangelists
  • Provision of high quality content for the launch of the Wiki
  • Patience and willingness to invest in building and maintaining Wiki content
  • Training of the employees (functions, rules …)
  • Provision of a technical and editorial contact person
  • Integration or connection of further tools from the company’s IT software landscape

We would be happy to advise you in an orientation call or webinar on how to successfully introduce a company wiki in your company.

Please contact us …

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+49 941 660 800

Or send us an E-mail:
wiki@bluespice.com

We look forward to meeting you personally soon!

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BlueSpice is a brand of Hallo Welt! GmbH, a worldwide leading provider and consultant for MediaWiki solutions.
Our company was founded to make the technology and concepts of Wikipedia usable for companies. Since 2007 we have been developing the knowledge management platform BlueSpice based on the open source software MediaWiki. With our growing team of more than 20 employees, we offer companies an enterprise software for the implementation of integrated management systems, documentation systems, organization manuals, intranet wikis and flexible knowledge bases. We ensure that your wiki project is professionally planned, implemented and maintained. Let’s wiki together!