Research on wikis
Upon hearing the word wiki, one with perhaps immediately associated with Wikipedia, the popular mass collaboration encyclopedia and Internet today. However, the wiki may also be used for other purposes, and specifically this report identifies and highlights the specific use that the wiki may be able to provide for the company, given the mass availability of technology today and the uses that they may be able to provide especially in mass collaboration of information as is the current use for our firm.
What, however, is a wiki? A wiki is a fairly recent technological innovations that results from the need of mass collaboration especially in the availability of high-speed Internet access and computer technology today. It is basically a website that makes use of software that is called a wiki and is used for mass collaboration either of documents, photos, or any other kind of data information that may be admitted by various individuals that are not constrained by space — or even by international Time (Leuf & Cunningham, 2001). Also, the essential part of the wiki is that it makes use of interconnected webpages in order to facilitate the information, and its ability to integrate these webpages into a single pool of mass collaborative technology has made it popular in various business websites and organizations that require the merging of various works or in fact, as is a specific need for our organization, the constant bouncing of such documents (Völkel, Krötzsch, Vrandecic, Haller, & Studer, 2006).
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Wikipedia, in fact the most popular wiki today, is just one example of the various uses that he wiki may be able to provide in the greater consumer population. It is a collaborative encyclopedia, and the concept is basically the same that we are to use the same collaborative technology for our firm. Wikipedia is founded upon the concept of community collaboration (Boulos, Maramba, & Wheeler, 2006). However, wiki technology and wiki websites may also be used in order to power small and medium enterprises and even large corporations as long as those organizations need collaboration methods for whatever kind of information that they require.
Document collaboration has for a long time become a de facto method in order for companies to produce — of the most efficient way possible — works and information that require the constant editing, writing, then re-editing of documents. This is usually done through e-mailing finished and revise works back and forth between employees. Ever since the proliferation of e-mail and such instant sending technology, workflow has become more efficient and less costly especially for organizations which deal largely with the distribution and creation of such documents — such as our own. However, one recognized bottleneck in such a process is that first, there is large inefficiency and time wasting especially in the process of sending e-mails back and forth. Even the incremental times that are spent in the creation of such e-mail, sending them, the download phase, and the cycles that continues to that effect sums up to a large inefficiency and could become costly for our firm. A second issue that we must address is that such e-mailing methods for document distribution and collaboration as issues of the large probable errors that may occur because of the amount of individuals that require it to work on the collaborative document and process. In fact, as researchers of management and the dynamics of processors have pointed out, and e-mailing system used for mass collaboration — the study made use of the sample size of newspapers and magazines — are highly susceptible to mistakes and the overall result is that there are dangers of inefficiencies in the final product (Richardson, 2008).
It is here where the essential use of the wiki may be able to be applied in our organization. Because our firm makes use of essential document editing, revising, and distribution, the collaborative methods and processes that are involved fall under the traditional e-mail schemes — whose problems we have already identified above. The wiki, together with the wiki software that would be installed and would be made use of by those involved in the collaboration process, could be able to make our process of document collaboration more efficient not only in the short run but also more cost-efficient for the firm and for the accuracy of the final products in the long run.
In the instance that the company uses wiki software that is specially adapted to document collaboration, the essential steps and tools of writing, revising, commenting, and drafting already existing in the software of document collaboration for wiki (Lih, 2003). Therefore, the costs that are involved in operating and implementing such a system for our collaborative document needs with only integrate the cost of the software — and there are even open source solutions for wiki’s — the learning curve involved for employees — which is almost basically nonexistent as is proven by the case of Wikipedia and the ease-of-use methods that have been well researched by those implementing wiki technology in order to do mass collaboration — and there is no need for the organization and firm to adapt the software specifically to its needs because mass collaboration of documents is already a basic template that is integrated into the larger system of wiki software.
One argument that may be put forward by critics of the project is that this new technology may just be a fad of the current Internet age, and it is still more efficient to implement mass collaboration of documents using e-mail systems and traditional means. However, it is also important to point out already existing research on the subject of document collaboration using wiki’s — in fact the use of Wikipedia itself as a information and document collaboration method is well researched in the field of academic management efficiency — and all of them point towards the overall efficiencies and marginal gains that may be gained by the organization in implementing such a method (Schaffert, 2006). However, because these are academic studies, various loopholes and problems have also been identified in making use of wiki software for document collaboration such as the difficulty in learning curves of employees. However, I am confident in the writing of this memo that the organization may be able to save costs over all in making use of this mass collaboration software for its projects.
Boulos, M. N. K., Maramba, I., & Wheeler, S. (2006). Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education. BMC Medical Education, 6(1), 41.
Leuf, B., & Cunningham, W. (2001). The Wiki way: quick collaboration on the Web. Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc. Boston, MA, USA.
Lih, A. (2003). Wikipedia as participatory journalism: Reliable sources? metrics for evaluating collaborative media as a news resource. Nature, 2004.
Richardson, W. (2008). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Corwin Pr.
Schaffert, S. (2006). IkeWiki: A semantic wiki for collaborative knowledge management. In 1st International Workshop on Semantic Technologies in Collaborative Applications (STICA).
Völkel, M., Krötzsch, M., Vrandecic, D., Haller, H., & Studer, R. (2006). Semantic wikipedia. In Proceedings of the 15th international conference on World Wide Web (pp. 585-594). ACM New York, NY, USA.