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June 18, 2008 by Matthias Rauer 

Companies must increasingly rely on technologies guaranteeing the close cooperation of employees while they are working on projects. According to a study of the Society for Information Management’s Advanced Practices Council (APC), the year 2008 will see this task being increasingly transferred onto wikis.

A wiki lives off of co-operation – and a wiki cannot run itself. The APC surveyed 160 companies successfully using corporate wikis and formulated seven strategies to catalyze these applications and get them running.

01 / Create acceptance
A wiki should be integrated as one of several important tools for the promoting of co-operation in the company architecture.

02/ Follow rules
Working in a wiki is subject to specific rules of behavior that everyone understands and that must be seen as binding. Control is essential.

03/ Guarantee usability
A wiki must be as simple and optimal to use as possible in order to effectively collate the collective knowledge of employees working at different locations, to bypass functional and departmental borders, and to make it easier for newly involved employees to be integrated and given the overview.

04/ Improve administration
An experienced employee should function as an administrator who checks contributions and changes. This administrator also supports other colleagues who have an important role in the shaping of the wiki.

05/ Encourage participation
For the functioning, and therefore the success of a wiki, it is important that the employees are convinced and encouraged to change and continue the contributions and work of their colleagues. Managers and other experienced colleagues could be good examples of this.

06/ Integrate further tools
Wikis are expandable. One significant use of the results from the connecting of small software programs that structure and simplify often-repeated steps in the work process. This could include programs for planning and the detailed organization of meetings, for the actualization of project progress reports, for example. Employees should be made aware of repeating work processes, thus contributing to the development and expansion of the wiki technology.

07/ Optimize frameworks
Wikis are most accepted when the working environment promotes collaboration, encouraging cooperation. A wiki should serve to exchange knowledge, ideas and experience. Without a fitting working environment, this technology will only be of limited value.

Many companies can profit from wikis as knowledge-management-systems, whether within the framework of small project teams or in an intranet.

In the year 2009, at least 50% of all organizations are predicted to be using a wiki as an important instrument for cooperation. Will yours be one of them?

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