19 January 2006

Wikis In Large Corporations

Since I wrote recently about "The Death of Enteprise Software", I came across an article titled "Wikis: Enabling Effective Knowledge Sharing Across the Organization", by Graeme Foux. This article is symptomatic of a larger trend of moving away from large, cumbersome enterprise software platforms to agile combinations of web-based applications.

I liked Graeme' s article for several reasons, the first being because he offers a simple definition for what is a wiki:
A wiki is an online tool that allows users to update and publish content collaboratively. Anyone who has access can edit the content, using a very simple tool and an ordinary web browser. Wiki usage is known as ‘collaborative authoring’.
The article has a clear focus on wikis in corporate settings: how can they be useful? What is the added value? What can you do to make wikis successful? The theme of this article underscores the trend alluded to earlier, that is, web 2.0 technologies - including wikis - are poised in 2006 to be assessed for their usage in large corporations and governments, replacing in part or completely several traditional content management systems.

In addition to wikis, more generally, web based applications are also ripe for specific evaluation by large corporations and governments. When comparing the bottom line of well designed Ajax applications as opposed to monolithic enterprise applications, convincingly done by Dion Hinchcliffe in "Why Ajax Is So Disruptive", it is easy to understand why momentum in that direction is building up. Follow the latter link for the full explanation of what Dion considers the "disruptive influences" of Ajax applications on the traditional software world:
  1. The End of Software Upgrades, Fixes, and Security Patches;
  2. Software and Data Available Wherever You Go;
  3. Isolated Software Can't Compete with Connected Software;
  4. Deprecation of the Traditional Operating System; and
  5. Software That Is Invisible.
Having been confronted with the spiraling IT costs associated with traditional IT and software delivery, I can't help having a feeling of elation! I can start to see a business environment unshackled from a much too long hijacking of itself by IT undelivered promises.

IT and its Total-Cost-of-Ownership (TCO) might even represent, again, a fair proportion of the total budget. What an interesting perspective. Web 2.0 and Ajax offer large corporations and governments a genuine strategy for IT rationalization, even resulting in a better information environment for end users. When was the last time that rationalization in large organizations resulted in something better at a lower cost?