Pharmaceutical giant Janssen-Cilag has overhauled its enterprise applications to introduce collaboration with a wiki that integrates IT asset management and even micro-blogging.
With 340 staff locally Janssen-Cilag is one of Johnson & Johnson's 250 companies world wide.
Associate director of technology Nathan Wallace said Janssen-Cilag is a highly risk averse pharmaceutical company headed out of the US so "imagine a place where no one has heard of a wiki, and imagine a place where your mother was sitting in a cubicle next to you".
Risk averse perhaps, but two years ago Janssen-Cilag replaced its existing intranet with a wiki from local software vendor Atlassian.
"It's Confluence made to look good, but I won't go there," Wallace said. "Anybody can publish news at any time throughout the organization. The only training we did was at launch and frankly that's the way it should be. It's so easy to use most people only ask once."
Speaking at this year's Future Exploration Network Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum in Sydney, Wallace said all of Janssen-Cilag's business planing is done in the wiki and when it plans this year "we can see what we planned last year, it's quite amazing". The IT team has also integrated sales figures and CRM, and IT asset management into the wiki front-end.
Wallace said the simple layout of the wiki has made it simple for people to use and with some 260 unique participants within the organization "it's been very successful".
For authentication, Janssen-Cilag has single sign in across the organization so anyone can change anything, but "we know who you are, and that works".
By working in an online collaborative environment the thousands of contributions so far is increasing every quarter and doing online business plans has saved about 250,000 e-mails alone.
The wiki is now a trusted resource, but Wallace said it is "really, really challenging" for a business to have this type of environment.
"Do we actually want to share? This is still a really hard question and that is what you will have to end up changing or driving," he said. "Anyone can lead and it's up to you to step up to the plate. We don't require training so there is no hurdle there. So there are no more excuses for providing good information to your department."
Wallace is adamant the wiki's design is very important and if done well staff won't need training.
"Do not launch anything in the enterprise without single sign on," he said, adding it is important for usability. "Show people, don't do it for them. Encourage early adopters and police the flow. Our only policy was news must be pushed here and if someone e-mails something say please publish it here."
Another Web 2.0 craze is micro-blogging and just last week Janssen-Cilag launched Jitter, which is based on twitter as half of its people are routinely in the field.
"I have no idea if it's going to work but it only cost a few thousand dollars to do," Wallace said. "Hopefully it will be good."
Over the past two years Janssen-Cilag has also "drastically ripped apart" its CRM system, which has gone from "taking the blame for everything in sales to something that is very usable".