Hey Wiki You’re So Fine, You’re So Fine You Blow My Mind, Hey Wiki!

One of the features of SharePoint 2010 I particularly like is Wikis. They were in 2007 but in a rudimentary form, so didn’t get much attention. This video is a good introduction to their basic functionality: Capture group knowledge in a SharePoint 2010 Enterprise wiki

Anyway, I’m pretty sure you all know what a wiki is, but maybe haven’t thought about them in a business context. On my current project we’ve implemented the Data Dictionary through a Wiki. Why would we do this? Can’t we just use Word or Excel?

The answer to why we chose this approach has two key drivers:

  • It stops being an IT document in a forgotten folder and becomes something the business can easily find and reference as it is embedded in the site we delivered to them
  • It becomes an online feature that the business control – and more importantly can update – so knowledge can be quickly captured as it is discovered

I think the second point is the most empowering one for the users. If someone needed to list the translations for the codes in a field, then they now have somewhere to permanently capture that knowledge that is easy and convenient, which is also instantly shared.

The first one still has some significant weight – instead of opening and navigating through some arcane, IT focused document, they just click a set of links: System > Table > Field Name and they are at a dedicated page which they can then add information and insight to.

There is the downside in that you lose portability, but the gains in user friendliness and empowerment I think outweigh these.

Anyway, it’s a feature I like and think sits nicely with Microsoft’s User Empowering vision.

And yes, now it’s in your head: Hey Mickey!

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