Corporate Wikis Are Dead

Written by Rachel Alexander

In an era where new and improved knowledge sharing technology is constantly emerging and evolving, some companies still rely on a wiki to get their employees the information they need, exactly when they need it. Sure, at one point in time (long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away), wikis were the best available option for connecting employees in the workplace, maintaining and sharing up-to-date product information, identifying experts, aligning sales and marketing, making customer support faster, and streamlining training and onboarding. But we’re here to tell you it’s the end of an era.

Since knowledge has been around, there has been the need for a tool to store that knowledge where those who need it most can easily access it. The human race has produced some impressive solutions in our time: cave drawings, hieroglyphics, your grandmother’s recipe tin, and then corporate wikis (in that order). And for a while, wikis got the job done.

But the universe continues to expand, and knowledge sharing solutions continue to improve. Corporate wiki software is simply no longer the best option when it comes to curating, organizing, storing, and sharing company knowledge. Here’s why:

1. No Content Oversight

One of the wiki’s greatest strengths is also one of its most significant weaknesses; there is no hierarchy of content contribution. Each employee contributing content to a wiki is equal, meaning anyone can say anything, without permission and approval from experts on the subject. Everyone has different knowledge they need to contribute. However, miscommunication of information is a challenge when there is no hierarchy of authorship.

New knowledge sharing solutions strike a balance between allowing everyone to contribute and ensuring those contributions are composed of quality, up-to-date information. Leaders have content oversight and curation tools, that allow them to approve information and answers to questions while not restricting anyone from providing their input. Social learning relies on trusting your team, but equality of authorship does not override access to the most current and accurate product knowledge.

2. Too Much Clutter

If your end goal looks something like an attic packed so tightly with boxes of photo albums and retired Christmas decorations that finding what you need is impossible, wikis are for you. If your end goal looks more like a well organized, curated, and easily searchable collection of relevant and current company knowledge, it might be time for a new solution.

The best knowledge sharing solutions empower content curation. Leaders can track who is viewing content, how much time they spend with the content, and who exactly is engaging with it. So, if there is a piece of content that has become stale or out-of-date, you can archive it and make room for something more useful.

3. Sharing Content Is Nearly Impossible

The best you can do with a wiki is post a piece of content and email a link to relevant parties (and we all know how much fun searching through thousands of emails for an old document is).

Top knowledge management platforms allow you to share content internally across communities and departments, as well as externally with clients. They notify others within your community when someone makes a new contribution, and have space for comments and questions directly underneath the document. This way, everyone benefits from the conversation surrounding content, and not just those included in an email thread. Meaning, if questions arise about any given document, they will only need to be answered once.

4. Search Is Traditionally Terrible

Tagging content in wikis ranges from bang-your-head-on-your-desk difficult to impossible, so organizations are forced to rely on simple search to locate the content they need. This shortcoming results in customer support moving at a glacial pace as they struggle to find information, sales lacking content to send to prospects, marketing producing content that isn’t reaching sales, and the list goes on.

With the ever-expanding wealth of information available today, global search is more crucial to empower employees to do their best work than ever before. So look for a solution that allows users to tag and categorize content, making searching and locating information at a moment’s notice a breeze.

Corporate wiki software had its moment, and we applaud it for all it was able to accomplish during its 15 minutes of fame. But don’t be the old uncle who still brags about his high school state championship, or the show that just doesn’t know when to bow out gracefully (cough, American Idol, cough). Keep up with the times (and your competitors) by investing in a knowledge sharing solution that allows your employees to quickly and efficiently curate, organize, store, and share valuable company knowledge.

R.I.P. corporate wikis, R.I.P.

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