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Wikis? Are They Worth It from Mohammad Daniyal's blog

"People are definitely a company's greatest asset. It doesn't make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps." - Mary Kay Ash

It has been said, by far to many CEO's, that their companies greatest assets walk-out the door at the end The hidden wiki every business day. Meaning, that the unified knowledge, skills, workflow, ideas, networks, relationships and strengths are embodied within a company's people. The tragic aspect of the relationship is that those human capital abilities are lost when people leave a company.

The idea of capturing the collective knowledge of a company's people has been a goal for thousand-years. For 99.9% of that time, we have not been capable of achieving this goal. Much of it was due to a failure to have the proper tools.

For many organizations, their efforts were initially in writing down on paper some ideas. Which then evolved into more complex work-flow management systems. All which were great, but had the weakness of not being 'modifiable, searchable, distributable and adaptive'. Recently, we created complex CRM systems which started to capture much of the client side of the company knowledge-base, but failed to integrate the sales-cycle knowledge that was developed.

With the advent of the internet, and many of the tools that it allowed, we have seen the rise of the Wiki. The word wiki a Hawaiian-language word for fast. A wiki is a type of software that allows users to easily create, edit and link web pages. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites, power community websites, and are increasingly being installed by businesses to provide affordable and effective Intranets or for use in Knowledge Management.

Wiki's can do what other tools, either soft-or-hardware based, cannot. As outlined previously, what is needed for an organization to capture this human knowledge is to have the system capable of 'modifiable, searchable, distributable and adaptive' knowledge collection.

Organizations that seek to organize their human capital and knowledge have been moving towards the development of internal wiki's. Companies like IBM, Citrix Systems, Discovery Communications, and Boston's College's Gerald School of Information Management are using Wiki's to: identify, create, acquire, store, organize, use and share information.

"As organizations increasingly rely on geographically dispersed workforces there is an emerging need to collaborate on projects that span distributed teams and with different time frames. This includes a need for collaboration in the form of brainstorming. Wiki may provide a powerful medium for asynchronous distributed collaboration in such situations" says Jonathan Davies, an expert on Wiki brainstorming and problem based collaboration.

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