Friday, November 14, 2008

Wikis: A Sign O’ The Times

In difficult economic times, companies struggle so many details, such as travel costs, productivity and increasing opportunity costs, just to name a few. The typical initial reaction is to tighten the purse strings, clamp down on spending, stop most business travel and curb expenses. For many, this can bring some elements of operation to a standstill.

On the flip side of that coin is the opportunity trying times afford companies to hone in on their core skills, focus on improving customer service and developing relationships and filling in any gaps. Collaboration and knowledge management tools can assist a company in taking great strides toward improved productivity.

I’ve read quite a few articles recently that discussed how, during times like this, companies can benefit from investing in software that will streamline their business, improve communication and collaboration. Well, that’s practically the dictionary definition of what an enterprise wiki can do.

Wikis allow companies to focus on what’s inside – the knowledge and creativity of its people. Let’s say a company decides not to proceed with the external lead generation program. Instead, salespeople are told to concentrate on the leads they have. Well, then they better become a lot more creative with the sales pitch if they’re going after leads they may already have reached out to.

With a wiki, that sales team, no matter where they are located, can collaborate online, spur creative ideas, discuss and share creative pitches that worked for someone else. With discussion forums and document sharing and editing, the European sales force can pitch in their ideas while the California sales team members are sleeping.

In Alex Jefferies’ recent Sales 2.0 report, he states: “The multitude of uses has led the majority (59%) of best-in-class companies to either leverage, or plan to leverage, internal wikis.”

The most successful companies are doing it; there must be something to it.