Friday, May 29, 2009

A World of Wikis

Late last week, I was putting the finishing touches on speaking proposals for the Web 2.0 Expo NYC and was brainstorming ideas around 'the world is a wiki.' And then I read about Frost & Sullivan's new report, and I realized 'the world wants a wiki!'

Frost & Sullivan recently published Web 2.0 Technologies in the Recession-hit Europe as a Solution for Small and Medium Businesses.

Research Analyst Iwona Petruczynik said: "In Europe, there is a common misconception that a true deliverable is measured in how many kilograms of paper one produces and hands over to a client. This belief is hindering the adoption of Web 2.0 solutions, as more end products are being delivered in the form of a wiki or a blog."

However, businesses are seeking new ways to stay productive while significantly cutting costs with the help of Web 2.0 solutions, according to the press release. "From lower-cost versions of enterprise applications, to utilising cloud computing, 'crowd sourcing' business owners are taking advantage of what Web 2.0 has to offer."

As they well should.

It's a cry being heard 'round the world: we're cutting back, but be more productive. Yikes! A scary proposition. But that's the magic of innovative technological solutions. They remedy the problem.

Petruczynik explains: "Web 2.0 solutions may be part of the cure for the recessionary headache that many European businesses are now experiencing; social networking sites, wikis, and blogs are just some of the more well-known examples of Web 2.0 technologies that can play an important role here. These solutions are becoming more prevalent in the European small and medium businesses (SMBs) arena, especially at a time like this, when workers are being forced to do more with less."

I echo that thought without reservation.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Built for Collaboration; Ready to Work

Armen Grigorian, a manager at Defoe Fournier and Company, merchant bankers since 1824, have used a wiki for more than two years, and Grigorian loves it.

“We needed a way for people to collaborate on projects. All our projects have at least six people involved,” said Grigorian. In a company of a dozen people, half the employees work together on each project. The problem is, those employees are scattered around, between headquarters in New York City, Atlanta, Rochester, Pittsburgh, and even Armenia.

Grigorian continues with a description that sounds like most small businesses. “There's no real IT department or money to develop a custom application. We rely on typical tools for small businesses, like Excel and Word from Microsoft. We're all finance and accounting people who can just barely use a computer.”

Defoe Fournier needs to keep all their working documents per project in a central place where everyone can get to them from anywhere, securely. SamePage makes it easy for Grigorian and his coworkers to organize their documents per project, keep track of documents as they change, and store files for finished projects so they're out of the way yet still easily accessible.

“When we start a new project, I assign someone to start it, and I allocate the jobs and access to the project files,” said Grigorian. “We have pages for each project with discussions and notes. Sometimes we have live discussions by invitation, or people can comment later.”

Excerpted from a Network World article written by James Gaskin. Read the rest at:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Don't fear the wiki

Wiki consultant Stewart Mader posted on his blog last week about an issue that seems so simple, yet one that becomes a major hindrance to wikis not taking off within a corproate environment: FEAR.

Fear can motivate or disable you. However, Stewart suggests ways to turn around someone's fear of contributing to a wiki. In fact, he says, contributing to a wiki can solidfy your value to an organization.

Once again, Stewart takes a very real issue and provides a simple answer.

"The more a person shares on the wiki, the more their value is known to the company," Stewart says. He adds that, of course, it's natural to be afraid of sharing your knowledge. But he explains that when people start to 'give away' or share what they know, their value to the company will be greater, and they will create more time to work on even more things, thereby expanding their knowledge base even further. So simple, yet so true.

You can't assume that your bosses know how much you know. And you can't keep all your knowledge (no matter how hard earned) to yourself, so that anyone in the company who wants to learn about 'your' topic needs to go to you. It's to YOUR ADVANTAGE to share. Your bosses will see for themselves when looking in the wiki how much you know, and your colleagues can search in your wiki pages for answers to their questions. this will put you in a better light with your bosses and free up your time to expand your base and grow within the organization. It's a win for the company and a win for you.

Don't fear the wiki. Take the leap.