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Archive for the tag “Tim O’Reilly”

Wikis in the Enterprise

What is a wiki?

Wikis were first introduced in WikiWikiWeb a website designed by Ward Cunningham in 1995. A wiki is the term given to an online document that many people can collaborate on. That is, they can edit, update, delete, add pages/links, change content and so on to wiki pages. The most common and well known wiki is: Wikipedia.

What is an Enterprise wiki?

Infoworld declared 2004 as the Year of the enterprise Wiki, as wikis began to emerge in businesses across the globe. Bascially, a wiki that is used for conducting work in an enterprise is an Enterprise wiki.

What is so great about wikis?

  • Collaboration. Participation. Harnessing collective intelligence (Tim O’Reilly)
  • Wikis provide users with simple and easy to use methods of content creation via a wiki markup language.
  • Linking -> An important part of the SLATES paradigm in Andrew McAfee’s blog, wikis make linking to other wiki pages easy by stripping it down to the bare essentials in the Wiki markup language. Provides an easy ability to forge deep interconnections between data sources.
  • Edits and history of the document is tracked so you can return to previous versions and look at differences between versions.
  • User access control: Wikis can have the power to allow and deny users. Users who are not registered can be disallowed the ability to edit. Registered users will have their username fixed to edits so that these changes can be tracked to particular users.
  • Modern wikis can integrate with other tools such as e-mail, RSS and blogs.

Weaknesses of wikis?

  • Giving many users access relies on their ability to contribute effectively and advantageously.
  • Spamming can be possible when masses of users can contribute anonymously.
  • Control is sacrificed for empowerment, that is managers lose control while users take/get control.

Businesses using wikis?

  • Disney:
    Disney’s Digital Media faction started using a wiki when its team decided they needed a tool that matched their department. They needed speed and collaboration, so they create an internal website without consulting their boss. They just did it. The project was not seen as defiance of their management but rather a tool to enhance their performance and better use the resources of their 150-strong team. Reader here – Online version of the magazine article.
  • Dell:
    Socialtext co-founder discusses how their product helped Dell:

    “The second use case is a participatory knowledge base. So at Dell, for instance, we did a knowledge base for their call center. Their call center handles exceptions. That’s what they do all day long. Answer a call, hear the problem, look for an answer, and then they don’t have the information. Now, [with a wiki], they tap the informal network that exists inside the call center and document the solution. 99 percent of the pages created [on the wiki] and tagged allow the call center to go from 20 clicks to find information to four, substantially decreasing search costs and decreasing the average call time by 10 to 20 percent.” (Source: Discussing the role of enterprise wikis).

  • Yahoo:
  • “…we use TWiki internally to manage documentation and project planning for our products. Our development team includes hundreds of people in various locations all over the world, so web collaboration is VERY important to us. TWiki has changed the way we run meetings, plan releases, document our product and generally communicate with each other. We’re great fans of your work!” (Source: The Yahoo Twiki success page).

  • Others:
    See the Twiki (Wiki product provider) customer list with quotes from users of the software. Customers include: Nokia, Yahoo!, Oracle, Trend Micro, Sony, United States Coast Guard, Allergan, etc.
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Enterprise 2.0 in action

After my last post I have decided to take another angle at businesses using enterprise 2.0. In this post I’m going to discuss only one company who has used enterprise 2.0 in their business internally. Why only one? Because there’s a lot to talk about and you don’ t want to be reading this all day.

A company I found that has dived head first into adopting enterprise 2.0 is that of Accenture, a global consulting firm, (Buckler, 2007). The CTO of Accenture, Donald Rippert, sees the future of technology in the enterprise merging with technology in the realm of web 2.0. In 2007, Accenture went live with “a new global employee network that looks much like Facebook,” (Buckler, 2007). After discovering how easy it was to find content on Youtube, no matter how novice or unheard of the content creator, Rippert wondered why finding information on their corporate database and archives was next to impossible. The key to solving the mystery lay in the way social media and web 2.0 applications use and promote tagging of content. So in a similar manner that delicious enables tagging, the idea of users adding value and assisting searches via tags was conceived.

After introducing the online global network within Accenture, the company then introduced several other web 2.0 tools that they transformed/reinvented into their own enterprise 2.0 tools. These include a wiki called Accenturepedia and a video-based knowledge sharing system called AccentureTube (borrowing its name from web 2.0 site YouTube). Accenturepedia runs much like any other wikis allowing employees access to centralised data to which they can contribute themselves. AccentureTube acts as one large internal video database which users can upload work-related content, tag it and share amongst colleagues. The idea was to keep the system familiar (by borrowing ideas from YouTube), to enhance and promote its use, (Neal, 2008).

In terms of the Wikinomics business models (Peering, Being Open, Sharing and Acting Globally), Accenture has been able to achieve all of these goals internally. The company was already global so by offering the enterprise 2.0 tools without pressure they fostered and promoted global interactions amongst their employees. This in turn lead to peering, in that the different facets of the company could collaborate, find each other and communicate ideas easily. Although I have not discussed how Accenture reaches out to its community, they are miles ahead in terms of sharing their innovations, reasearch and experiences across a broad range of fields including their adoption of enterprise 2.0 via their website. They are actively being open and sharing their information to the wider community via blogs, podcasts and downloadable documents.

Accenture’s enterprise 2.0 ventures can also be compared to the SLATES paradigm as proposed by Andrew McAfee. Firstly, searching was made easier by the ability for employees to tag media with keywords. Secondly, linking was acceleratd by giving the masses the ability to edit wikis, tag media and so forth hence creating a dense link structure in their intranet. Thirdly, employees were given the ability to author. They can edit, create and contribute to the Accenturepedia wikis. This also steams from the inherent nature of web 2.0 being about collaboration, the network effect and users adding value (some patterns identified by Tim O’Reilly as being at the heart of web 2.0). Tagging was delivered by Accenture as discussed earlier to categorise and give relevance to content so that user could find and gain information more quickly. Extensions come of course with tagging, the AccentureTube if similar to YouTube, would use tags to offer relevant and similar types of video content to the user in a side pane, extending extra content to them. Signalling would be intergrated into their enterprise 2.0 tools to enable users to quickly view what has changed and what content has been added. This could come in the form of RSS feeds or email updates to changes in a wiki they are monitoring.

Finally, how does Accenture’s E2.0 infrastucture address Dion Hinchcliffe’s extension to the SLATES paradigm? Hinchcliffe sights social, emergent, freeform and network-oriented elements as an important part of enterprise 2.0. In my opinion the Accenture infrastucture covers the social, emergent and freeform nature of E2.0 and its fully web-based nature allows information to be addressable and reusable.

For anyone interested, I’ve found a video interview with the director of Fast Innovation and director of innovation, technology and learning at Accenture that might be of interest here. In particular, she briefly mentions how she tried to convince management to get an “avatar”.

Thank you for reading my post. I’ll keep up updated if I find any more interesting news articles on Accenture.

References
Accenture. (2009). Accenture GLobal Research and Insights. Retrieved, August 19, 2009, from, https://www.accenture.com/Global/Research_and_Insights/default.htm
Buckler, G. (2007). Accenture CTO gets his Web 2.0 on. Retrieved, August 19, 2009, from, http://www.itbusiness.ca/it/client/en/home/News.asp?id=43006
Dawsom, R. (2009). Implementing Enterprise 2.0 – Sample Chapter. Retrieved, August 19, 2009, from, http://implementingenterprise2.com/IE2_Sample_Chapter_2.pdf
Koser, M. (2009). Accenture gets into Intranet 2.0. Retrieved, August 19, 2009, from,  http://www.frogpond.de/index.php/archive/accenture-gets-into-intranet-20/
Neal, D. (2008). Innovation comes as a standard. Retrieved, August 19, from, http://www.computing.co.uk/itweek/analysis/2215255/innovation-comes-standard
Ross, J. (2009). FASTforward’09 Interview: Kirsti Kierulf, Director, The Fast Innovation Center and Director, Innovation, Technology, and Learning, Accenture. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from, http://www.fastforwardblog.com/2009/02/10/fastforward09-interview-kirsti-kierulf-director-the-fast-innovation-center-and-director-innovation-technology-and-learning-accenture/

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