66 Use Cases for an Enterprise Wiki (23 – 44)

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We've already published 111 good reasons for enterprise wikis. Now we'd like to show through example use cases just what you can do with an enterprise wiki. //SEIBERT/MEDIA has distilled 66 examples for use cases: the first 22 can be found here; now, let's move on to use cases 23 to 44.

23. IT-infrastructure documentation

With an enterprise wiki a dedicated area can be set up to document the firm's computer configurations, servers, and IT topography (IP-addresses, system configuration, hardware, service contracts, support tickets, challenges...); this can be presented clearly as diagrams or as text. The use of SQL to connect to outside systems (ITIL applications) is possible; then information from the third system can be obtained and made centrally available.

24. Employee directory (name, position, contact information)

A central employee directory with employees' photos, general information, foreign language knowledge, and specific (and relevant) skills (keyword: skill management) can help everyone to find the firms' experts quickly and easily. Employees can also use this area to describe themselves, their working area, and their accomplishments.

25. An overview of your employees' expertise

Each employee's talents and knowledge can be presented using so-called metadata: using filters, employees can quickly and easily find out, for example, which co-workers know about product XY and can speak English as well as Spanish. The employees can maintain and update the information about themselves.

26. Evaluation platform (Business intelligence)

After your enterprise has begun to collect reports within the wiki, it's not difficult to expand the use of the wiki into a platform for evaluation. In this platform important success criteria and variables can be summarized and presented on a management dashboard. With a drill-down option you can begin with the first level of summarized data and then get your hands dirty with the relevant details as needed.

27. Video portal

More and more firms are circulating internal screen casts and instructions as video broadcasts. With a wiki video portal all employees have direct access to this content. An enterprise wiki can also be used to maintain and make available recordings from internal training sessions, desktop sharing sessions, or the firm's commercial spots.

28. Technical library maintenance

Many firms have their own libraries of technical books, periodicals, and continuing educational materials. A wiki can be used to maintain this library; with the wiki the employees can determine what material is available and who currently has the material checked out.

29. Manage the lending of technical equipment

Not only can a wiki manage the lending of educational material, it can also centrally and efficiently manage the lending of technical equipment such as beamers, notebooks, Web'n'walk sticks etc.

30. Event planning

When internal or external events are being planned, a wiki is helpful for the planning as well as the actual event. Such details as dates, participant invitations and cancellations, and to-do check lists can all be maintained in a wiki. The subscription and versioning functions ensure that the organizers always have the latest information available and never lose control of the planning documentation.

31. Protocol and meeting organization

When preparing for a meeting a participant can produce a wiki page with the agenda and then email the page to the concerned co-workers. This creates a central (and, when appropriate, secure) repository where any information important for the meeting can be collected and stored; before the meeting the participants can see and contribute to this information, which saves everyone's valuable time. Because the agenda has been understood and agreed to beforehand, the meeting can concentrate on the appropriate topic and avoid unnecessary digressions. During the meeting, one participant uses the wiki to make to-do lists and note decisions; this list is available immediately at the end of the meeting, and everyone can go right back to work. The minutes and all documentation from the meeting are then available to other employees who have the appropriate privileges. Those employees who could not attend the meeting can also receive immediate access to the minutes and can thereby systematically follow the discussion.

32. Notice board for employee and management announcements

A wiki can replace a notice board and digitally map the information (which often has disclosure requirements). This saves the employees (time-wasting) walks to physical information boards and hanging notices and allows them to make comments or react to the notices immediately.

33. Systemically collect knowledge from employees leaving the firm

When colleagues are leaving the firm (e.g., interns, students who have completed their assignments, employees entering retirement or changing jobs), their knowledge and experience need not be lost. Instead, it can be collected in a wiki and remain easily available.

34. Email templates for customer communication

Communication with potential and current customers can be at least partially standardized by using a wiki, if important email templates are made available through the wiki.

35. Company dictionary with glossary and explanations

An enterprise wiki can be for an employee what Wikipedia is for the world: a place where all the technical terms and abbreviations that are used in the company can be collected and explained. Explanations of how these are specifically used in the company are also helpful.

36. Collect and maintain internal links and bookmarks

The collecting of internal links and bookmarks helps workers understand the complicated relationships among projects and departments; this is especially helpful for new employees still trying to develop an understanding of these relationships. Portals and distribution pages in a wiki allow new topics to be introduced simply and quickly.

37. Documentation of projects and internal services

Using a wiki to store and make available important information on projects and internal services increases transparency and makes the data easier to find for future projects. Examples of information that can be kept in a wiki include management tools (such as checklists for project managers), project information, customer data, targets, budgets, appointments, links in external systems that hold such information, project progress reports, release reports, instructions for follow-up, lessons learned from project summaries, and many more.

38. Portal for accident prevention and security

General guidelines for workplace safety, for safety- and emergency management, and for fire protection should definitely be centrally available for constant access through the enterprise wiki. If important information such as evacuation plans, first-aid tips, or legal requirements are always available through the wiki, this can help prevent accidents and - in the case of emergencies - prevent or mitigate disasters.

39. Task assignment management

Macros for the creation of simple task lists and plugins allow for simple task management within the wiki. This is especially useful for wiki-specific tasks, which can thereby be accomplished in a no-fuss, goal-oriented manner.

40. Contract management

The personnel department keeps employee contracts in an enterprise wiki. The contracts are available for the authorized persons and can be exported from the wiki as completely formatted Office documents (i.e., by using the plugin Scroll-Office). Contracts can also be sent without having to edit the Word document. A wiki can even maintain documents such as service level agreements.

41. Using Scroll-Office for document production

The useful plugin Scroll-Office offers the ability to export wiki pages as MS Office documents that are already formatted using templates to conform to individual needs. Such documents have a professional-looking title page, a table of contents, neat organization, and can be sent immediately to the customer or partner.

42. Collaborative content production from different locations

Instead of sending documents by e-mail for collaborative work in teams or sending documents to a number of locations and then being sent back many different versions of the document, your team can work on the content within the wiki. This way, every participant has consistent access to the most current version of the document.

43. Consensus and polling

The comment function that is built into every wiki page (or plugins such as the survey-expansion for Confluence) allow fast and uncomplicated voting and discussion.

44. Release scheduling for blog articles, tweets etc.

Editors in the wiki can manage and plan status information for articles and information intended to appear in the Corporate Weblog, in the public microblog, as Tweets, or as Facebook status changes. On the one hand, it can be useful for deciding when there's a need for action and the creation of new content; on the other hand, if an editor falls sick or is unavailable for some reason, a substitute or replacement can follow the plan without any difficulties.

In the following third article in our series you can read our use suggestions 45 to 66.

Are you considering introducing a wiki? Are you evaluating promising software? Do you need support with an up-and-running wiki project? We are experts in business communication and would be happy to consult with you, so please contact us. Further information on this topic can be found on our special page on enterprise wikis.

Further information

Architecture of a Wiki-Project: Elements, Process, Approach, Rules
Architecture of a Wiki-Project: Customers’ Frequently Asked Questions
Factors for the Success of Wikis 1: Technology is important, but not King
Factors for the Success of Wikis 2: Organization is the Key
Factors for the Success of Wikis 3: Overcoming Resistance from the Company Culture

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