Wikis are Gaining Foothold in the Enterprise, but Not Without Challenges

. April 27, 2008

Aarhus, Denmark – J. Boye, an independent analyst firm focusing on online media, has found that wikis are increasingly gaining foothold in the enterprise due to it promises of simplicity. Yet, wikis introduce complex challenges for organisations, on a strategic level as well as on the level of actual content creation. Many are surprised by new demands on culture, governance, and training.

These are some of the conclusions of the recently released research by J. Boye. Based on interviews with early adopters of wikis across the globe, the research document – Wiki in the Enterprise – presents a business analysis of challenges and best practices for enterprise wiki projects.

“Wikis often grow out of hand very quickly and consequently many employees simply ignore them. Enterprises also face the risk of an explosive information growth far beyond their capacity to manage that information”, said analyst and MD, Janus Boye. “If you don’t create guidelines and processes for managing the wiki, the gap between information and capacity is a risk to the enterprise as it translates into the right information not being found and the potential creation of redundant information.”

J. Boye also found:

* Wikis can offer strategic benefits when it comes to increasing contribution and ownership, and improving information sharing. These benefits are, however, dependant on work practices and governance for successful collaboration and information sharing already being in place or being developed.

* Organisational culture is critical to ensure successful adoption. “We see examples of a wiki becoming a source of conflict in certain organisations. With the potential for everyone to contribute and a lack of built-in management control, concerns of quality and confidentiality put a damper on motivation. Too often, employees may be unwilling to contribute to the wiki, for fear of exposing themselves to criticism”, analyst Dorthe R. Jespersen clarified.

* Despite being sold on simplicity, wikis are not always easy to Use. Enterprises are generally surprised that training is still necessary. In particular, the need for special wiki mark-up is a usability issue, which slows down the adoption. To make matters worse, each wiki vendor has their own mark-up.

The 22 page research document offers a business analysis of best practices for all sizes of wiki projects, while also providing a reality check with an analysis of how a wiki best can be put to helpful use. The report is available for purchase online from J. Boye
http://eng.jboye.dk/research/wiki_in_the_enterprise .

About J. Boye

J. Boye http://eng.jboye.dk is a vendor-neutral analyst firm founded in 2003, which focuses on several aspects of online media, including CMS, enterprise portals, enterprise search, web analytics and Web 2.0. Being vendor-neutral, J. Boye only works with buyers and has no cooperation with, or income from, vendors or consultants. With a mission to help mature a young market, J. Boye publishes reports, hosts an annual conference, facilitate a European Community of Practice with 200+ members, and offers consulting services.

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