How to Share and Safeguard Company Knowledge with a Corporate Wiki
The pace of the modern business world can be frantic. Adaptability and agility are key to surviving in today’s fast-paced marketplace. To stay on top of their competitors, companies must constantly update their knowledge and processes.
Effective and efficient corporate knowledge management tools are crucial. Compiling an accurate and corporate wiki is essential.
A corporate wiki can vastly enhance knowledge management and encourage better internal communication. They can be useful in breaking down departmental silos and can optimize onboarding and training processes. However, there are challenges to overcome when implementing and managing a corporate wiki.
In this article, we take a look at the many ways in which a corporate wiki can benefit a company. We’ll explain how to implement a corporate wiki effectively and how to overcome the challenges of managing a corporate wiki.
What is a Corporate Wiki?
A corporate wiki serves as a central database of information and knowledge specific to a certain company. A corporate wiki gives a company an easily accessible internal knowledge base that stores all relevant corporate documentation. With a corporate wiki, staff don’t have to waste their time searching for the information they need.
Corporate wikis enable a streamlined, seamless transfer of knowledge. Subject experts can contribute or edit content specific to individual roles or tasks. Since any employee can update or add information, the corporate wiki can be always kept up to date.
The articles in a corporate wiki are cross-referenced and linked by tags and hyperlinks. Wikis can be organized in a hierarchical design where small knowledge groups are contained within larger units in a vertical structure. Or they can be content-based, where links connect knowledge units horizontally. Some corporate wikis make use of both structures.
A Short History of the Corporate Wiki
Onboarding and training processes were quite different before the rise of the digital age. To learn their roles or to upskill, employees had to trawl through reams of training manuals and documentation. Finding pertinent information was difficult and slow.
Often, numerous employees would have competing best practices. New hires could be easily confused by conflicting instructions. Employees would find themselves faced with either a barrage of information or having to struggle to locate relevant data.
Then in the early 2000s, everything changed with the introduction of corporate wikis. The initial development of corporate wiki software began between 2004 and 2006.
Corporate wikis took their inspiration from the online tool Wikipedia. Launched in 2001, Wikipedia is a free-content online encyclopedia. Users can add and update information at any time. The result is a fast-moving, dynamic knowledge repository. In fact, the name ‘wiki’ itself is a Hawaiian word that translates as ‘quick’.
What is the Difference Between a Corporate Wiki and a Knowledge Base?
As well as a corporate wiki, another popular way of storing corporate information is to compile a knowledge base. While there are similarities between a corporate wiki and a knowledge base, there are also some significant differences.
The main point of difference is that a corporate wiki is a collaborative platform. Corporate wikis work by allowing users to collectively create, edit, and organize content. They are a dynamic and evolving repository of corporate knowledge. You can think of a corporate wiki as being an internally crowd-sourced collection of corporate knowledge.
A knowledge base is much more structured, more static, less fluid, and less dynamic than a corporate wiki. Typically, a knowledge base will be compiled by a select set of subject matter experts. Knowledge bases are tightly controlled and serve as a reference hub for specific, well-organized information.
What are the Benefits of a Corporate Wiki?
There are huge benefits to be gained by implementing a corporate wiki. A corporate wiki provides employees with a single source of truth they can rely on for accurate information and assistance.
Wikis vastly improve internal communication and remove information silos. Employees can find the information they need instantly and avoid confusion. Best practices can be adhered to, productivity can be increased, and better employee engagement can be achieved. Wikis support and encourage innovation, collaboration, and knowledge sharing.
Corporate Wikis Support Knowledge Management
To operate effectively, an organization of any size relies upon the skills and knowledge of its employees. Collecting, storing, and sharing this information is often a difficult task. Knowledge management tools such as wikis enable organizations to effectively leverage the collective expertise of their employees.
Corporate wikis facilitate and support knowledge management in modern corporate entities. They provide employees with a collaborative space to create, update, and share information in real time.
Corporate Wikis Streamline Internal Communication
To access relevant company information, employees used to have to consult manuals or training guides or find subject matter experts to speak to in person. The process of securing relevant instructions or knowledge was incredibly time-consuming. To make things worse, when the right information was located, it was often out of date or incorrect.
Corporate wikis streamline internal communication by removing obstacles and bottlenecks to accessing information. Employees can find exactly what they are searching for in seconds. There’s no need to arrange for in-person meetings spend time on telephone calls or write extensive email threads.
Corporate Wikis Remove Information Silos and Foster Collaboration
A well-maintained corporate wiki enables efficient knowledge sharing. With a corporate wiki, teams across a range of departments have access to a centralized data bank.
A corporate wiki removes the reliance on scattered channels of information. Knowledge silos are eliminated. Employees can access and share the latest updates and insights within an organization. Corporate wikis allow for efficient knowledge transfer which results in improved collaboration among team members.
Corporate Wikis Preserve Crucial Company Knowledge
In the past, many crucial corporate skills and knowledge were simply lost when an employee moved positions or left the company.
This issue is still a major concern as employees tend to move positions within a company or move between companies at a faster rate than ever before. A corporate wiki captures and stores employee expertise and ensures that knowledge and insights are retained within the company.
Corporate Wikis Enhance Operational Efficiency
Operational efficiency is greatly improved by implementing a corporate wiki. Key processes, protocols, and best practices can be found instantly. Employees can be sure that the information they receive is current and accurate.
This enhances decision-making processes for employees at every level of an organization and promotes employee development. Additionally, teams can collectively refine and update operational procedures which leads to a more agile and efficient organizational structure.
Corporate Wikis Enable More Efficient Onboarding and Training
Onboarding and training processes are made easier and more efficient using a corporate wiki. Corporate wikis help to build confidence and enable a faster learning progression.
Lateral growth for both new and existing employees within a company is enhanced. New hires and upskilling employees can easily find relevant information they need in one location.
What are the Challenges of a Maintaining Corporate Wiki?
As beneficial as corporate wikis certainly are, there are also some associated risks and drawbacks. Counterintuitively, many of the benefits of a corporate wiki can also be disadvantages if the wiki is not managed correctly. Knowing what the potential downsides are will allow you to avoid problems and prevent issues.
Corporate Wikis Can Become Disorganized
One of a wiki’s greatest strengths is its ability to collect and store massive amounts of information from a wide range of sources. But without careful management, a wiki can easily turn into a disorganized mess.
Plagiarism is a Major Risk
The very nature of a corporate wiki means that it has to rely on user-generated content. If content is not vetted and edited properly, then attributing content to the correct sources can be difficult. Without accurate source information, plagiarism can occur.
Quality Control Can Be an Issue
As well as employees taking credit for work that is not their own, the quality of information itself can also be a major issue. Without careful management, outdated or incorrect information can be added to a wiki.
Analytics Can Be Difficult
A corporate wiki covers an immense number of topics. While the diversity of information in a wiki is a powerful advantage, it can also be a significant drawback. Analyzing a large corporate wiki effectively can be a difficult task.
Corporate wikis are sprawling and provide information on various subjects. This makes it hard for even the most conscientious of managers to identify knowledge gaps. User behavior can be difficult to track. Managers often cannot get data that shows which articles or content are the most popular. The lack of robust analytics poses a real challenge to managing a wiki effectively and planning future updates.
There is a Risk of Participation Inequality
Collaborative tools such as corporate wikis often suffer from participation inequality. Some employees simply may not contribute as much as others, so crucial corporate knowledge remains siloed.
Finding the Right Framework Can Be Problematic
All wikis require a user-friendly structure to where data can be searched and accessed quickly and easily. Implementing the wrong structure can lead to poor search functionality, which can reduce user uptake.
Corporate Wikis Can be Time-Consuming
The major disadvantage of corporate wikis is that they require a large amount of time to construct and maintain. Content needs to be accurate and easy to understand. The content then must be organized appropriately and vetted to ensure there are no duplicates or inaccuracies.
Best Practices for Managing and Optimizing Your Corporate Wiki
As we can see, there are many challenges in maintaining a corporate wiki. Thankfully, most of these issues can be solved by adhering to best practices for wiki management.
Ensure Regular Updating
Outdated information can cause huge problems in an organization. Your corporate wiki should be regularly updated. All information should be accurate, relevant, and reflect the current state of the organization.
Carefully Vet and Source Content
Avoiding the risk of plagiarism or incorporating inaccurate information into a corporate wiki requires all content to be screened, sourced, and edited. Many organizations appoint a dedicated team member to vet, edit, and organize information that is to be included in the corporate wiki. For smaller operations, however, finding the available personnel and time may be difficult.
Execute Regular Analytics and Performance Monitoring
How employees use the internal wiki can provide business leaders with valuable information. Tracking user behavior provides insights into user engagement, and content effectiveness, and identifies knowledge gaps and areas for improvement.
Promote User Engagement
Managers need to actively encourage employees to not only use the wiki but also to make contributions to it. Knowledge silos can be avoided if every employee that has relevant and valuable expertise contributes to the wiki.
How to Choose the Right Wiki Platform for Your Company
Not all wiki platforms are the same. Some may be more suited to large organizations rather than smaller enterprises. Careful consideration must be taken when choosing what wiki software to use.
There are a range of factors to consider when choosing the software for an organizational wiki:
- Searchability: A company wiki needs to be easily searchable. Users need to be able to pull up relevant and accurate information in seconds.
- Editability: The wiki software should have an intuitive editing interface so updates can be made quickly and easily.
- Ease of navigation: Users must be able to navigate easily through the wiki and not get stuck or confused.
- Organization: There should be a clear and concise organization of topics and subtopics.
- Analytics and reporting: The corporate wiki software should include analytical and reporting tools that provide data on key metrics such as page views, user engagement, and common search queries.
- Customization: To act as an effective internal knowledge base, a corporate wiki should be able to be customized to meet the unique needs of an organization. Common customization capabilities include allowing for different levels of access or corporate branding.
- Integration: The corporate wiki software should be able to be easily integrated with your existing tools and digital environment.
How to Implement a Corporate Wiki
Once you have chosen the right enterprise wiki software, you’ll need to start the implementation process. A business wiki is a major project that will require a considerable amount of time devoted to the initial planning stages and the setup and launch stages.
During the planning stage, make sure to set meetings with subject matter experts to outline the goals and objectives of the wiki. Identify the specific areas of knowledge management the wiki should address.
A content plan should be formulated that assigns content owners and establishes guidelines for content creation and updates. Templates can be created to facilitate the content population.
In some cases, project coordinators may need to be appointed to track progress and vet content. User roles and permissions to control access levels will need to be assigned to various stakeholders.
Once a good amount of relevant content has been uploaded to the wiki, training sessions for users can be organized. Be sure to include a feedback mechanism for users to provide input on the wiki's usability, content, and if any improvements are needed.
Announce the upcoming company wiki launch through various internal communication channels. Make sure to clearly communicate the purpose, benefits, and expectations for wiki usage.
After the launch, regularly evaluate the wiki's performance and monitor uptake analytics. Continue to collect user feedback and make iterative improvements to enhance the effectiveness of the wiki.
Using Your Corporate Wiki to Enhance Employee Engagement
A corporate wiki promotes employee engagement by fostering a sense of ownership and contribution. It allows employees to actively participate in knowledge sharing and collaborative content creation, creating a more inclusive work environment.
Having access to relevant information quickly helps employees feel more supported by their employers, inspires them to be more creative, and allows them to feel confident in going about their daily tasks.
The LumApps all-in-one experience platform connects employees across all levels of an organization with the information and applications they need. As a dedicated SaaS platform, LumApps allows companies to create truly customized platforms that personalize each employee’s experience. The LumApps intranet provides a range of solutions that facilitate the collection and sharing of employee-generated content.
Effective and efficient knowledge management tools are vital to the success of a modern company. The creation of a precise and comprehensive corporate wiki provides a centralized repository for company-specific information and knowledge.
A corporate wiki encourages collaboration and simplifies information sharing. It streamlines knowledge management and provides easy access to up-to-date company-specific data. As an internal knowledge base, a corporate wiki fosters a culture of continuous improvement, allowing teams to collectively refine processes and best practices.