It’s 2015 and I still talk with people at companies looking for wiki software. I remember when wikis were the best thing we had. In fact, at my last company, we had a wiki, Yammer, and Confluence. The most used – by far – was the wiki. It wasn’t used throughout the company, but for the teams that did use it, it was the best solution of the three because everyone with access to it felt empowered to contribute to it and to find what they needed. And it was developed not by any powers that be, but by the masses. They needed a tool to put information into that they knew they knew others would need access to. And it worked.
But in 2015, wikis are not the best solution to the problem of knowledge management and sharing. There are 5 main reasons for this:
- One of the greatest strengths of the wiki is also one of its greatest challenges. Although everyone contributing to a wiki is “equal,” there are times you want content oversight – even with roles and responsibilities.
- Wikis are great for beginning the process of managing knowledge, but lousy for assisting you with curating the contents in it. It’s very difficult to determine what parts of the wiki are and are not being read so that you can remove the content people are not finding valuable.
- Just as content is difficult to manage in a wiki, so too are users of the wiki. Depending on the wiki software you use, you may not know who has contributed certain content, who has edited it – and ultimately who is responsible for its upkeep. This can create challenges as the content ages and readers can’t discern what is and is not valuable.
- Sharing content through a wiki is difficult. Sure, you can enter content and forward people the link, but rarely is there a way to make colleagues aware of what you’ve just written. And it’s impossible to share it outside the wiki.
- Search is traditionally terrible. Tagging content is difficult to impossible, so you have to rely on simple search to find anything. And forget about sharing the information in a wiki with outside sources like blogs or social media.
Just before publishing this post, I searched “wiki” on Twitter to see what people were saying. A friend of mine that I follow wrote one sentence: “Wiki” is the Hawaiian word for “repository of out-of-date information.” I love that.
A lot of our customers find Bloomfire after searching for a wiki-like solution and realizing they can get more. Bloomfire offers the openness and collaborative feel of a wiki, and also the ability to share multiple types of content, a powerful search tool, and built-in analytics to optimize participation and quality control.