Today I was speaking on the phone to a HR manager (not for the company I work for) and talking about wikis. After speaking about using them for perhaps 5 minutes, I was asked the questions one of the – if no the number 1 – most popular wiki question:
1). What’s a wiki?
I tried to answer that it’s an editable webpage that anyone can change and updated. I then elaborated on this with the example of wikipedia. She then asked what I guess is the second most popular wiki question
2). What happens if people put the “wrong” information up?
This was coming for the perspective of someone working in HR. I guess when she said “wrong” she ment inaccurate information although I’m not sure. I explained how wikis rely on the concept of the wisdom of crowds and how it is up to the community to monitor the content on wikis. Also, within enterprise environments users are usually logged in using LDAP mechanisms which means there is no anonymous editing allowed.
In the end the HR person said ‘oh, we have an intranet so we probably wouldn’t use it’. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to explain all the benefits and accepted this remark. The company – one of the big 4 – does have a global wiki installed, but it goes to show it benefits and opportunities haven’t reached their HR department yet. This is a pity as the HR department in any organisation can use wikis to help with collaboration and knowledge sharing. The benefits of wikis need to be explained and shown though in real life scenarios before adoption can flourish.
Wiki adoption and case studies
There is lots of resources available on how to grow wiki adoption. Some of my favourite include:
- 21 days of wiki adoption by Steward Mader
- Case study of a wiki changing an Enterprise
- Allen & Overy case study
- Deloitte case study
- Dresdner Kleinwort case study
In order to gain adoption it’s often necessary to explain case studies of other companies using wikis. The is lots of other information at http://www.e2conf.com/archive/videos/ and on various vendor sites. Hopefully, my next conversation with this HR individual will allow me to explain more of the benefits and possibilities available with using wikis.