If you miraculously landed on this blog post, then you likely have the honor of setting up your company’s wiki space.
Launching a corporate wiki space is exciting. But setting it up can be quite complicated. From choosing the best wiki software to defining best practices for the wiki space, you have a lot to mull over. These are big decisions, since the wrong choice could make or break the success of your wiki space and how well it is received by your teams.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do it alone. Our step-by-step guide aims to help you build a corporate wiki space that people love to use. It incorporates proven strategies we’ve used to help some of the world’s most innovative organizations successfully deploy new digital workplace technologies.
Keep reading to learn more!
Step 1: Determine the Strategy for Your Wiki Space
The first and most important step before building a corporate wiki space is to determine its purpose.
A good way to do this is to conduct an enterprise-wide needs assessment. This will help you understand current knowledge-management practices, the pros and cons of such practices, and the type of environment that will be most successful in your organization.
The following questions can serve as a guide to assessing your company’s needs and readiness for a corporate wiki space:
- Who will benefit from your corporate wiki space?
- How is making the information accessible to staff beneficial for the company?
- What kinds of information needs to be shared on the corporate wiki space?
- Are your staff ready to participate in a corporate knowledge repository?
After this in-depth needs assessment, you will be prepared to develop a solid strategy for your corporate wiki space.
Step 2: Choose a Wiki Delivery Model
Once you have successfully determined its purpose, you can begin sourcing the delivery model that best suits your organization.
There are countless software products on the market, which can be grouped into three main types of delivery model:
An on-premise delivery model means that you can install the software by yourself and even customize it. If your company must comply with strict storage regulations, then this is the safest bet for you, as the data is stored on your own servers rather than a remote facility. However, the on-premise model is only feasible if your organization has the technical knowhow to install and update software.
Also known as Software as a Service (SaaS), this wiki delivery type is good for small- and medium-sized businesses that lack their own servers or the technical expertise to customize their own software. Even smaller departments within a large organization can benefit from SaaS. Especially if they can’t wait for the IT team to set up the wiki space! But only choose this type of model if your organization allows data storage in external servers.
This is a hybrid of on-premise and cloud-hosted models. Utilizing it is akin to killing two birds with one stone, as it not only makes setting up a corporate wiki space easy, it also enables internal data storage. Hence, you can circumvent the difficult installation process and red tape related to external data storage.
The following features are a must across all types of wiki delivery models:
- Transparent technology: With a user-friendly interface, your teams can easily add and edit wiki pages without spending a lot of time learning how to use the wiki tool.
- Versioning capabilities: When all edits to a wiki page are carefully managed via versioning, you have a solid audit trail and can easily recover a wiki page to its pristine condition should there be any errors.
- Article discussions: A centralized discussion place for knowledge contributors to discuss ways to spruce up and maintain the quality of the wiki space.
- Mobile access: What’s the purpose of a wiki space if it’s not easily accessible via mobile? With continuous access to the wiki space, collaborative work can be completed anywhere and anytime.
One of the enterprise wiki platforms that offers all four features described above is Atlassian’s Confluence.
Not only does it make setting up and editing a wiki space remarkably easy, Confluence also allows you to keep track of editing history for a reliable audit trail.
What’s even better is that Confluence is available as a mobile app for fast and hassle-free content collaboration on the go.
Deploying Confluence as your choice of enterprise wiki platform simplifies the upcoming steps in building your corporate wiki space.
Step 3: Set Up the Corporate Wiki Space
Follow the steps below to set up your new wiki space.
a) Identify content inventory: Before your team members can start adding and sharing knowledge, you must first identify the full content inventory. Catalogue all relevant information that must be shared on the wiki space. The same goes for old information that needs updating.
b) Create information hierarchy: An information hierarchy serves as an informational architecture that makes the wiki space organized. For example, your organization can create different wiki spaces for each department. Within each sub-space, the teams can then include information about their ongoing activities, future projects, announcements, and minutes of meeting. When it comes to documenting knowledge, be sure to start with general information and then narrow it down into specific sections.
c) Categorize the information: Make the information easily searchable by categorizing it. You can do that by diffusing large topics into smaller and specific subtopics. In addition, include keywords for accurate tagging. For example, if your company specializes in developing third-party apps for a software, then you can categorize your wiki space based on each app. Besides that, using predefined metadata also clears your wiki space from inconsistencies and errors. Leverage apps like Metadata for Confluence for a clean and organized wiki.
d) Include organized navigation: What’s a pilot without a reliable navigation system? The same thing goes to enterprise wiki space. Your team will be lost in a sea of information without an organized navigation. A good practice for effective wiki space navigation is by including indexes, table of content, and crosslinking. As a result, data retrieval is not only quicker, users can also jump from one topic to another effortlessly. Make use of apps like SubSpace Navigation for Confluence for effortless navigation through an avalanche of information.
e) Customize the interface: Many wiki space software enables interface customization following your brand identity and guidelines. This helps engage users and reinforce your unique branding. Take Confluence as an example. You can customize its color scheme and space layouts to suit your preference. The best part? There are tons of third-party apps, like CUTE for Confluence, on the Atlassian Marketplace to further customize Confluence in terms of themes and styles; charts and diagrams; and document management.
f) Conduct a test-drive session: With any software deployment, it’s vital that you invite beta users to test its functionalities. Also pitch the knowledge-management platform to users who have experience using a wiki space. They can assess the readiness of the wiki space; kick start the knowledge-sharing practice among new users; and encourage enterprise-wide user adoption.
g) Add permission control: A wiki space will be an empty space without its users. So, it’s important to build a powerful people directory for a more productive collaboration. Use apps like User Profiles for Confluence for customizable user profiles. Before your wiki space goes live, authenticate all users to keep track of activities. Remember that activities on the corporate wiki space must be transparent, not anonymous. Though the core principle of a wiki space is that anyone can edit it, you should still place user restrictions wherever necessary. Doing so will greatly curb the risk of accidental or malicious errors.
Step 4: Train Users to Use the Corporate Wiki Space Productively
New users may be less enthusiastic to participate in wiki collaboration. Let’s admit it, overwriting another person’s work can be daunting!
Hence, demonstrations and trainings are important to enroll users in the purpose and capabilities of your new wiki space.
For example, if your company utilizes Confluence, be sure to inform your team that the software keeps track of each page revision. So, they shouldn’t worry about accidentally deleting another person’s work.
Besides training, provide your team with best-practice guidelines so that they know the do’s and don’ts of using the wiki space.
An example of a wiki best practice is using keywords for tagging. A clear tagging practice makes information searching efficient. However, there can be a lot of inconsistencies with user-entered keywords. An app like Metadata for Confluence solves these problems by allowing you to create predefined metadata to keep your wiki space clean and organized.
Make use of tools and apps like SharePoint Connector for Confluence to make the enterprise wiki space well-organized, especially if you are already using Microsoft SharePoint.
Step 5: Update the Corporate Wiki Space
Following successful user adoption, your colleagues may be focused on depositing as much information as possible on the wiki space.
While this is the desired outcome, regular “wiki gardening” is equally crucial to ensure that the information presented is accurate and relevant.
Appoint space administrators to maintain best practices and ensure that the wiki space remains the centralized point for institutional memory. For example, space admins can redirect workers who are emailing documents back and forth to collaborate on the wiki space instead.
Admins are also responsible to maintain the authenticity of data on a wiki space by deleting irrelevant information and updating the page when there are any changes. They can also help to mitigate conflicts (if any) between teams who collaborate on a page together.
With a constantly updated corporate wiki space, your team members will always receive accurate information and can then contribute positively to the company’s progress.
Build Your Own Corporate Wiki Space
A successful corporate wiki space ensures that each employee’s domain expertise and vocational knowledge is collated in a centralized, institutional memory in real-time.
It’s also instrumental for transparent collaboration that breaks down information silos while cultivating a culture of learning and innovation.
Remember to get the first step right and clearly define the wiki’s purpose to ensure that your own enterprise wiki space development happens effortlessly.
Are you ready to take collaboration to the next level in your organization? Check out our free guide “Building the Digital Workplace: From Intranets to Ultra Teams” to learn about best practices for building modern intranets and wiki spaces.