Wikis that work: Four IT departments get it right

IT orgs harness wiki power to handle everything from tech training to project management

"We needed to provide as much self-help reference materials as possible to reduce the time burden on IT," explains Kayinamura, information and communication technology manager for the company, which owns and operates renewable energy projects. "We load the wiki up with stuff, and there's a neat e-mail digest feature that alerts people about any new postings. With a traditional Web page, it's difficult to get people to check back in."

Kayinamura's IT team also uses the platform as a central hub for key network and license information instead of storing the data in separate Word documents. In this capacity, they take advantage of TeamPage's security features to ensure that information is only accessible to approved IT staff.

And Enel continues to use the wiki as a project management tool, which Kayinamura says remains a more efficient option than e-mail. "If someone joined a project at a later date, they'd have to load 50 to 75 e-mails to catch up," he explains. "With the wiki, any new person joining the project can get up to speed much more quickly."

Wikis provide fast, flexible communication

For IT organizations, especially smaller, resource-constrained groups, wikis promise to streamline a lot of the communication that mostly transpires in e-mail, while making it easier to keep colleagues abreast of critical project changes without having to deploy an expensive, enterprise collaboration platform.

"Wikis become a way to extend the depth of connectivity between people much better than using e-mail," says Stewart Mader, an independent consultant who blogs on wikis at Grow Your Wiki , and the author of Wikipatterns . "It's not just a place for incoming communication -- wikis make everything available to you at any time."

The IT departments within NYK Group would agree. They're trading up a variety of traditional communication tools, including the corporate intranet, for an enterprise wiki they say is better able to handle everything from sharing project management tasks to collaborating with offshore development partners.

NYK Group, the logistics and trucking arm of the Japan-based container and shipping company NYK Logistics, is leveraging an enterprise wiki within its IT department for a number of tasks, including project management, change management and knowledge management. For example, instead of disseminating a companywide e-mail informing employees of hardware changes or software upgrades, IT now notifies anyone affected by the changes via a wiki with subscription notification capabilities.

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