Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Wikipedia, wikis and social media marketing – 6

Posted in social networking and business, Web 2.0 marketing by Timothy Platt on March 21, 2011

This is my sixth posting in a series on wikis as a tool for businesses (see Web 2.0 Marketing, postings 40 and 42 through 45 for installments 1-5) and this posting is in a real sense a direct continuation of Part 5 with its focus on in-house use of wikis as a component to internally supportive information architectures and intranets. I focused on wikis as a tool for coordinately managing collaborative projects in that posting and I turn here to the role that wikis can play in improving and streamlining ongoing operational practices and processes too.

A point that I have already made in this series, but that merits repeating is that few businesses or organizations find themselves holding large amount of unique in-house information and knowledge about their marketplace or their product and service spaces themselves that others outside of their walls do not also hold. But businesses do hold information about their own organization and its operations and procedures, and about who does what and how, and about their organizational history.

For smaller and geographically localized organizations where everyone in them comes together in some same single location to work and where everyone works together, less formal and structured options generally suffice for the sharing of this knowledge. But when a business is geographically dispersed an online platform for sharing history, insight, processes and process-related resources and best practices may be very important. When an organization comes together through mergers or other mechanisms from diverse sources this can be very important. When a business or organization has within it two or more separate corporate cultures and/or identities and needs to work together while still maintaining this separation, this type of shared resource can be crucially important. This type of resource an also really offer real value when onboarding new employees and bringing them up to speed.

I have already touched on one part of this in an earlier posting with Wikis as a Key to Sharing Knowledge and to Networking Within the Organization. There, my focus was on tapping into the knowledge bases of an organization’s longer-term employees who individually hold a wealth of information and experience worth drawing on and sharing. Here I generalize beyond that and discuss the development of operational best practices and processes knowledge bases for holding an organization together and for limiting duplications of effort, clarifying misunderstandings, reducing use of wrong and obsolete forms and a seeming myriad of other potentially common but avoidable problems.

• The more complex an organization and its operations and best practices, the more valuable an internal operations-supporting wiki would be.
• The more varied and complex the processes, forms and other supporting requirements for working in a business’ operational environment the more important this would be.
• The more people are onboarded into the organization, or moved to new departments, services or locations within it where things are done differently, the more important this type of resource would be.
• The key here is in determining cost-effectiveness and in developing and supporting the systems and services that would offer the greatest return on investment.
• The challenge in that is in even knowing what metrics to use, and how to determine a baseline for comparison.

If your organization faces delays and inefficiencies that seem to come from institutional inertia, as many and perhaps most larger organizations do with time, that strongly suggests a more robust internal information infrastructure would help. Then the only question is one of what information and knowledge base, and communications and networking resources to add into it and in what order and with what priorities – plus of course, the questions of information security as they are shaped by adding in online access.

That I add brings in whole new levels of complexity for any due diligence review of systems development options, and I will focus on that and on implementation in my next posting in this series.

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