The 3 “Cs” of Wikis for Business and How They Can Help Your Company Succeed

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Did you that the term “wiki” is derived from wiki-wiki, the Hawaiian word for quick?

Wikis are becoming a mainstay in the corporate world for just what their names promise – a quick and easy way to share ideas and collaborate. While most people think of Wikipedia when they hear the word wiki, the term encompasses so much more.

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Wikis are essentially Web pages that anyone with access can create or edit. This has huge implications for companies, mainly the access to a free – or at least incredibly inexpensive – platform to create, share and collaborate on content.

The number of companies using wikis doubled from 2007 to 2008, when 33% of companies were using them as a means to collaboratively create and edit internal documentation.

Wikis are a great addition to your company workflow if you want to establish a social intranet quickly and cheaply, or if you want to manage, organize and publish a range of collaborative documents in one central location (read why this is important here).

With the importance of agility and collaboration increasing within organizations, it’s vital that companies have a quick and effective way to work together and share information. Wikis offer this exact solution, and the three “Cs” make them a smart choice for companies looking to improve their workflows and collaborative spirits.

Cost

Thanks to the Internet, collaboration and the cost of publishing and sharing information has dramatically decreased over the years. Companies no longer need an expensive, sophisticated content management infrastructure that’s difficult to use and lacks collaborative elements (SharePoint, anyone?).

Wikis, on the other hand, are free or low-cost alternatives. As common elements in many social intranet platforms, wikis require little – if any – upkeep, administrative costs or expensive maintenance.

Collaboration

One of wikis’ biggest benefits is how easy they make it to collaborate with colleagues. They facilitate the exchange of information and ideas among teams and team members by simplifying the process of creating and editing information. For example, a user can easily create a new wiki and invite other users to it so everyone can update the content and add in their comments and ideas in real-time.

Wikis remove the laborious routine of opening, creating, saving and emailing a document to team members only to wait several hours or days for feedback (which, by the way, they of course would have to download and resave to their local system). Wikis remove these extra, unnecessary steps and make editing and collaborating a breeze – which in turn fosters innovation.

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Centralization

Helping centralize all of your corporate information should be reason enough for you to believe the hype around wikis. It’s common in workplaces for information to be “siloed” and divided with impassable barriers according to project or department. While the intent is never malicious, this practice can have detrimental effects on the way you work and collaborate.

Just because a project ‘lives’ in one department doesn’t mean another group can’t contribute helpful information or benefit from background information. Wikis break down these barriers and open up information and communication so anyone with related expertise or skills can share their knowledge and ideas.

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There are a lot of business tools that are over-hyped and then fade into oblivion, but wikis definitely don’t fall into that category. They stand on their own as a useful tool for collaboration and knowledge sharing. As part of a full social intranet platform, they become part of a powerful suite that can take your productivity and cross-company collaboration to the next level.

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