Implementing a corporate wiki in 2019

User Collaboration is what’s magical about information technology of the 21st century. Some corporations have now realised this and are moving fast to implement better collaboration practices. We’ll see that corporate wiki is part of the ideal solution to this effect.

What corporate challenges would a corporate wiki site address?

  1. Improving employee competency and recruiting / training the right talent
  2. Keeping in pace with the business world and agility, by integrating cutting-edge knowledge into the entire workforce
  3. Consistency of service provided to customers by establishing well-documented processes

A corporate wiki is essentially the memory of the modern corporation. It serves a reservoir of all knowledge and could be the most valuable resource of the 2019 corporation after people.

There’s a reason why Bran is king. He is the memory of the world.

Let’s talk about how to plan and execute a corporation wiki starting now. This article will be your guide in approaching, planning, choosing, implementing and maintaining a corporate wiki in 2019.

Planning your corporate wiki:

In a corporation or even a medium-sized company, there are a lot of moving parts / decision-makers. Hence we need to have a comprehensive plan to implement a corporate wiki and the practice of using it to improve,

  1. how your company is run
  2. its employee’s productivity, happiness
  3. and ROI

Based on the influence you have in your company, your affinity for risk-taking and your management style, here are some planning approaches.

  1. Top Down Approach: You plan and try to implement Knowledge Management from your top team, your senior most executives and work downward. This could be the hardest to pull off, especially with regards to making that cultural change.

     

  2. Bottom Down Approach: Start with yourself, expand to your team, expand to a group of teams and so on. This is easy to implement even in a large corporation.

     

  3. Isolated Team Approach: Pick one team, your own or a team under you to experiment with knowledge sharing and knowledge management principles and expand. If you have one team that is energetic and enthusiastic about trying new things, maybe a newly formed team of freshers with a charismatic leader, then you could do well starting off with this.

     

  4. Isolated Project Approach: Pick one project and setup a knowledge sharing process for that project that has to be adhered by everyone involved in it. This would work well if you have a new project you are starting and you can use it to bring a cultural change.

Implementing your corporate wiki:

1) Cultivate a Wiki Culture:

From planning approaches, we know that it’s the culture that makes or breaks your vision to implement a knowledge sharing system with a corporate knowledge base wiki.

Let me walk you through things you need to consider:

Support from management:

Obviously if you need to have your management’s support to implement any large scale effort to the change the way your company works. As we saw earlier, you can talk with your management about pilot programs starting with bottom-down, team or project approach.

Once they see the benefits, they would help you move forward.

Incentives:

You need to incentivise anything you need people to pay attention to. It’s not unheard of to include bonuses and appraisals to people produce the best content for your corporate wiki site.

Make sure you incentivise the right metrics though.

Good Metrics: Number of views, readership, number of times a material is referenced / used are good metrics

Bad Metrics: Number of words written / length of video ( for video content ), Number of articles / videos published.

Recognition is also a good additional incentive.

Style of collaboration:

As the size of your wiki grows bigger, maintaining the content quality becomes paramount. Stale documents cause more harm than good. This is why you need to pay special attention to how you setup your collaboration.

Here are some collaboration ideas based on roles:

  1. Topic Curators
  2. Contributors
  3. Editors
  4. Audience

Hiring Policy:

Your hiring policy should also reflect the need for a more collaborative culture.

Gone are days where talent is the Number 1 criteria.

Humility is a key factor now. Look for people who are humble enough to learn from others and generous enough to teach / share with others.

Open Policy:

A culture of openness is essential to thrive in the Knowledge Economy. Corporations need to work hard on this and make it a part of its culture.

Lead from the top:

Nothing gets anywhere if the people at the top do not embrace this culture.

If you are the person at the top, let go of the fears and embrace the culture of openness and collaboration.

It’s okay even if you are the boss and you haven’t figured it all out. It’s okay that you don’t know everything.

It’s okay because you can learn from your people who would love to help you and you can enable them to teach each other as well.

2) Select the appropriate platform

 

The second most important thing you need to pay attention to is the best platform to implement your wiki in.

Here are the things you should consider:

Integrate into existing workflow: You have a much better chance of people and teams adopting your corporate wiki and knowledge sharing process, if it integrates well with their existing workflow.

The less work, learning and hassle the process is, the better rate of adoption.

Cost: Also depending upon the budget allocated to you, you need to find a feasible solution. Here’s one.

Accessibility: Your corporate wiki should be accessible to your teams and people wherever they are.

Unless you have very very sensitive data, you should make your corporate wiki accessible via the internet, and on any device, browser, etc.

Easy of Use: Adding, editing, curating your KM content should be easy and user-friendly. 

Technical Requirements: Do you have a large number of simultaneous users? Do you have a large number of documents to maintain? Pay attention to your needs in the technical area.

3) Support user participation:

In addition to working on your culture to incorporate the use of wiki as a means to empower every individual and team in your organisation, you need to implement other steps to ensure that people in your organisation actively participate in this endeavour.

Training users: Train users either by videos / content in your wiki, by one-on-one sessions, group sessions, etc.,

Feedback: Get users’ feedback on quality of content, effects of knowledge sharing and gauge their involvement. Feedback can even be by allowing users to rate the document, commenting on document, sharing, linking to documents.

4) Maintain:

 

You need to have a plan to maintain your wiki, as we know stale documents are more harmful than useful.

Pruning: The art of pruning is in knowing what and when to remove, what to change and what to leave be. You can approach pruning using content staleness which is how long the particular document has been unused / updated. Or by monitoring which part of your process has changed recently.

Discipline: There needs to be a certain discipline to maintain a wiki. Make sure you have it and even allocate resources / people who can enforce it if needed.

Using metrics: Measure everything you want to improve. Things like number of views, duration of session, number of references, number of usages in processes or support tickets, freshness of article, most prolific contributors, curators, etc.

Maintenance Goals: Have specific goals for your maintenance and measure how successful maintenance activities are. Goals can be to improve freshness of article, improve time spent on wiki, improve process usage, etc.

5) How to structure your wiki:

Knowing how to organise your information is on the similar line of importance as knowing to organising your people.

a) Domain Knowledge Structure: Elon Musk in a Reddit AMA said,

“It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree”.

Thus a semantic tree is an ordering of information that starts with fundamental principles and branches out into increasingly less fundamental details. This kind of semantic organisation of knowledge is one way to go.

b) Organisational Structure: Information and People go together. Think of your entire organisation as an interweaving of people and information. So it makes sense to organise your data as you organise your people. You can also use projects as a way of parallel organisation, using tags or custom taxonomy in WordPress based wiki software like HelpieKB.

c) Frequency of use: You need an easy way to get to information based on how frequency it is used. HelpieKB has a feature to achieve just that.

d) Hierarchies: You can use multi-level hierarchies to organise dense topics so as to reduce information complexity.

If you want to implement such a corporate wiki as such, we recommend you try our own wiki plugin for WordPress, HelpieKB. HelpieKB is a wiki plugin for WordPress and it integrates with other plugins and themes and lets you create a powerful, customisable corporate wiki at a cost that it’s almost staggering to not try it.

If you are new to the WordPress world, you will find our guide to creating a wiki website with WordPress and Helpie useful.

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