Wiki case study – collaboration

PBwiki held another webinar a few weeks ago about a case study with Deloitte Digital.  Deloitte Digital is a startup of about 20 people within the Deloitte group (165,000 people).

Peter Williams from Deloitte Digital talked about two different wikis with two very different uses.

The first was a externally hosted wiki to allow a group of individuals within Deloitte Digital to collaboratively build a business case rather than sending documents over email.

They key benefit was that it removed the need for one person to have to fight with Word’s track changes and comments feature to compile, edit and bring the final document together.  Collaboration was much faster, and the business case was produced more quickly and with less friction than if it had been done over email.

The second wiki was more of a general ‘intranet’ style wiki.  It was kicked off by a few wiki ‘zealots’ (I prefer “Champions”!) and was found to have more and more uses as it grew.  Whereas it started being used as a knowledge repository and a place to find information it has now effectively become a CRM system as well!

Let’s look at how these wikis fit into our principles of wiki adoption:

  • Targeted.  The business case wiki was very targeted.  Not only that, it was used by a small group of people, initially 3 which grew eventually to 11.  This made a great point, that you don’t need to belong to a large group or large organisation to benefit from wikis.  Deloitte saw value in just 3!  The ‘general’ wiki did not appear to be so targeted, Peter didn’t go into too much detail as to the initial purpose of that wiki, but it would be interesting to find out how it started and whether it had an initial focus, or it was always conceived as something more general
  • Sponsorship.  Peter came up with a great term for dealing with a problem with sponsorship “CIO bypass“.  Peter is fortunate enough to be in a senior position so he is able to bring some sponsorship to the table, but part of the benefit of an externally hosted wiki for the business case was that he could get it up and running quickly without needing sign-off from the CIO.  An official ‘knoweldge management collaboration strategy’ is still 18 months in the making!
  • Marketing/Communications.  As with RMC Vanguard – the fact that important information was on the wikis drove people to use it.  If the information to do your job was on the wiki, you had to use it!
  • Champions.  Peter is a clear champion, and the strength of his personality was key in overcoming issues around sponsorship.
  • Support.  Peter spent time showing people how the wiki could be used, and how it made their jobs easier.
  • Accessible.  A key reason for using a hosted wiki for the business case was that it could be accessed (securely) by those outside the Deloitte firewall whose contributions were needed
  • Enforcement.  The business case wiki demanded that people use the wiki.  To be involved, people weren’t going to tolerate the pain of wading through 15 different copies of the same document in order to try and find “the final version”.
  • Get rid of the old.  For the business case wiki, there was no ‘old’ to get rid of.  Peter didn’t go into detail as to whether old sources of information were removed once they were placed on the general wiki.  They certainly seemed to have stopped using a dedicated CRM application and had moved to the wiki for this.
  • Measure.  Peter didn’t really spend much time worrying about measuring.  “People vote with their mouse” he said, and as long as he could see a stream of page views and page updates he was happy.

The biggest key to Peter’s success here is the strength of personality of the champion.  Going with an externally hosted option and by-passing the CIO has obviously been successful, but you need confidence that it is not going to be a career-ending move depending on the political situation within your organisation!

Deloitte certainly followed the “try it at low cost and build examples from there” business case rather than an all-encompassing high level one, not only because it was easier but going down the “official” route would have taken over 18 months where he had an immediate need.

Certainly a very engaging and thought-provoking webinar/case study!

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4 Responses to Wiki case study – collaboration

  1. Pingback: CIO bypass | Jon Mell - Web 2.0 ideas and strategy

  2. Chris Yeh says:

    I added it to our webinars page:

    Thanks Jon!

  3. Pingback: 2 most popular wiki questions « Rfahey’s Weblog

  4. Pingback: 2 most popular wiki questions

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