Socialtext recently launched an educational kit on enterprise Web 2.0 – an area of technology that analysts like Gartner view as a strategic area of investment for businesses in 2008. In the complimentary Enterprise 2.0 Essentials Kit, gain access to industry analysts’ perspectives on the market, hear from customers about how they’re using enterprise Web 2.0 technologies today, plus learn more about the underlying technologies including wikis, blogs and RSS. To download your copy of the kit, click here.
Earlier this week, Socialtext hosted Wiki Wednesday at its offices in Palo Alto. The focus of the meeting was on customer-facing communities powered by wikis.
Christian Wagner, Professor of Information Systems at City University in Hong Kong, was the guest speaker. The discussion covered some very public successes (and failures) of wikis, including examples from IBM, LA Times and Novell. From the meeting, there were some valuable lessons to be learned with regard to creating successful, active customer-facing wiki communities. For example, wikis with unclear ownership and a lack of incentives to drive collaboration and active participation tend to fail or lead to unmet expectations. Considerations have to be made when first setting up the wiki as to who will be editing the wiki and what is the expected business benefit and goal of the community.
It is also imperative that in the process of deploying the wiki there is definition around governance for how the wiki can and cannot be used. In short, if you want to tap the power of many without creating chaos and mass confusion, one needs to provide best practice guidelines and usage policies, as well as define a process for actively moderating and gardening the wiki. At the end of the day, in most organizations there is one opportunity to get the wiki right. If the first attempt misses the mark and fails, then re-deploying wikis (and probably other innovative Web 2.0 tools) will be harder the second time around and the projects may get delayed or blocked by management. For this reason, before kickstarting any customer-facing wiki community, it is particularly important to have a ‘triple champion’ to address the content focus, the underlying technology platform, as well as the business ‘big picture’ around the intended wiki community.
Chief Learning Officer magazine recently published an interesting article on wikis that spotlights Socialtext customer MWW Group and other organizations, like Sun Microsystems, using wikis for team collaboration, managing projects, building internal knowledgebases and better engaging with external partners and clients. The article provides some valuable guidance on the ‘best practices’ and corporate policies an organization might employ to manage the perceived risks of open, transparent collaboration using wikis. Read more
Forrester Research recently released a report entitled ‘Web 2.0 Pure Plays Might Be The Right Answer For Your Organization‘ that discusses why pure-play vendors offering best-of-breed Web 2.0 technologies, like wikis from Socialtext, can provide more value for enterprise clients than traditional suites. Forrester outlines some key requirements that Web 2.0 technologies need to satisfy around security, reliability and integration.
“Pure plays differentiate on their ability to serve the multi-faceted needs of an enterprise, such as using Web 2.0 technology in public-facing situations, across secure connections with customers and partners, and internally. These vendors implement and tune offerings for each of these use-cases. Large traditional vendors — such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP — tend to focus on internally-facing solutions that leverage their existing offerings and technology footprint.”
Forrester also points out that customers are favoring these new, pure-play vendors with more attractive licensing and distribution models, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and appliance options with flexible per-user/per-month pricing models that allow buyers to easily add and remove users as needed. Read more
According to a new Forrester Research report entitled ‘Top Enterprise Web 2.0 Predictions For 2008‘, there will be strong demand for Web 2.0 tools, like wikis, in 2008. “Even though 42% of enterprises say adding Web 2.0 tools is not on their agenda, according to a Q3 2007 survey, Forrester expects that half of those will change their mind and embrace Web 2.0 tools by year end.” Forrester points out some key reasons why 2008 will be the year that “IT departments will take their heads out of the sand and embrace Web 2.0 technologies.” Read more
Spark, part of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, recently released an interview with Howard Rheingold, author of “Smart Mobs” and professor at Stanford University and UC Berkeley. Rheingold uses wikis, including solutions from Socialtext, for fostering better collaboration with and between his students. Wikis make it easy to create and publish web pages that become a linked set of shared resources to complement the classroom environment. For the professor, in Rheingold’s case, the wiki makes it easy to modify the class syllabus and let the curriculum content and structure evolve over time as new ideas or topics of interest come up. For students, the wikis are used to publish learning journals and blog posts to share knowledge, make their own contributions to the course curriculum, and even collaborate together on team projects. As Rheingold puts it, the wiki shifts the traditional role of the professor in the classroom from the “sage on the stage, moving to the guide on the side.” Accordingly, students have a greater ability to contribute and actively participate in the classroom experience like never before, so the whole learning process becomes more fluid and dynamic. Listen to the interview to learn more.
This morning at Lotusphere – IBM’s 15th annual conference for clients and business partners on the current state and future of collaboration – IBM and Socialtext announced plans to integrate the Socialtext wiki with the Lotus Connections 2.0 platform. The combined solution was demoed on stage by Jeff Schick, IBM’s Vice President of Lotus Connections, who discussed how communities using the Connections platform will now be able to create their own dedicated wiki workspaces, powered by Socialtext, for online collaboration. The formal press release from IBM has yet to cross the wire, but should be available shortly at the IBM online press room. More information can be found in Burton Group analyst Mike Gotta’s blog or IBM employee Alan Lepofsky’s blog.
Jerry Kane, Assistant Professor of Information Systems at Boston College, recently posted an interesting video discussing lessons learned from deploying Socialtext wikis in his classroom. Jeanne Meister, a thought leader that works with Chief Learning Officers in Fortune 500 enterprises globally, brought this interesting video to my attention.
From Kane’s experience, he identified some key lessons for deploying wikis that are valuable to any educational institution or enterprise deploying wikis for the first time including:
- *Define the scope* – What is the purpose of the wiki? Who will use it? What will they use it for? And how do you hope the wiki will benefit them?
- *Set the tone* – It’s critical to start the wiki with the right focus to position for success. This includes getting the right involvement, seed content and structure early on in the process.
- *Harness peer power* – Recognize that wikis can tap the ‘wisdom of crowds’ and provide great value, since amateur crowds are consistently better than the best experts.
- *Find a champion* – It’s critical to have core editors leading the wiki and managing the process of ‘gardening’ on an ongoing basis to enforce best practices and guide the wiki community.
- *Start with a pressing issue* – Find an idea, project or specific use-case that will stimulate the most immediate adoption and interest to drive active usage and contribution.
Watch video now – click here.
John Ragsdale, Vice President of Research for the Service and Support Professionals Association (SSPA), recently published an interesting blog post predicting that wikis will replace the traditional knowledgebase for Web self-service. As Ragsdale quotes from an upcoming report – “Though discussion forums dominated the Web 2.0 conversation in 2007, look for wikis to grab some of the spotlight in 2008. This easy to access, search and edit ‘living document’ is a logical replacement for the maintenance-intensive traditional knowledgebase. A key new process for 2008: identify ‘best practices’ as they emerge in discussion forums and migrate them to the wiki library.” Read more
With all the attention customers are paying to Enterprise 2.0 right now, AIIM – the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Association – is undertaking a market study to learn more. Socialtext is one of the sponsors of this research. To guide the study, AIIM has also assembled an advisory panel consisting of industry thought leaders such as Andrew McAfee, David Weinberger, Patti Anklam, Stowe Boyd and Eric Tsui.
By participating in the survey, AIIM and Socialtext hope to gather more opinions, first-hand experiences and general perspectives on all things related to Enterprise 2.0. For example, is Enterprise 2.0 more marketing hype than reality? What role does Enterprise 2.0 really play in an organization achieving its business goals? And what strategies are proven successful when it comes to Enterprise 2.0 adoption?
Anyone can participate in the survey, that will drive the AIIM research study, plus participants will have early access to the results. To participate, click here.