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Thinking About a Corporate Wiki? Pros and Cons to Consider

Written by Bloomfire Admin

So, you think you want a wiki. You may be right. But we at Bloomfire think it’s only fair that you’re provided with all the information necessary to make the right decision for managing knowledge in your organization. And what better way to illustrate the differences between the two than with cheese?

Think back to the last time you were hit with a craving for some cheese. Did you reach for the low-fat Cheez Whiz or the aged English white cheddar? Your decision most likely depended on your budget, the intensity of your craving, your expectations of a quality cheese, and a host of other factors. But we wonder, would the Cheez Whiz really satisfy your craving?

How exactly do these cheeses relate to your need to manage knowledge in your organization? Let’s take a look at some wiki pros and cons, as well as a side-by-side comparison of corporate wikis and Bloomfire.

Ease of Use

Wikis are easy to use… if you’re tech-savvy and experienced in writing special markup. Everyone is capable of learning these skills, but to teach them to all members of your team requires money and lots of time. Some organizations are comprised solely of tech geniuses. For those organizations, a wiki may be appropriate.

With Bloomfire, there’s no learning curve. Our simple post editor means what you see is what you get. No special markup. You simply create a post, upload any necessary attachments, and share the post with your community.

Content Ownership

There is no content ownership in wikis. Plain and simple. Absolutely anyone (again, if they can write in special markup) can edit the content of a wiki. Subscribers can follow posts and try to keep up by correcting incorrect information and removing uninformed edits, but who’s to say that subscriber is actually an authority on the subject in question? And if they are, what if that person, retires, leaves the organization, or for whatever reason becomes incapable of keeping up with that wiki page? Then it’s possible that no one is monitoring the content.

If this type of democratic authorship is what you’re looking for, simply make every user in your Bloomfire community an admin. If you would prefer a system with content ownership, Bloomfire’s hierarchy of users (owners, admins, authors, and learners) gives different users different abilities within the community. Some can post content, some can interact with content, some can ask questions, some can answer questions, some can edit, and some can do all or any combination of those actions. You also have the option of requiring each post to be approved by an owner or admin to avoid sharing false or outdated information.

Cross Referencing

Cross referencing is the bread and butter of wikis, and for this ability, we tip our hats. If you are experienced in writing in special markup, simply type the page name, surrounded by the necessary markup characters, and a link will appear on the wiki page.

Although wikis are revered for their cross referencing abilities, if you are capable of copying and pasting a link, you are capable of cross referencing in Bloomfire. Create a post and paste the link to the page you are referencing in the post. Again, no special markup required.

Collaboration

Wikis do not have a Q&A engine. You can, however, create an entirely new wiki page to ask a question, and others can respond in an uncontrolled manner by editing that page in response to the original question. There is no commenting on wiki pages. Similarly, if you wish to contribute to a piece of content in a wiki, and you know how to write in special markup, you can make edits to that page.

Collaboration is Bloomfire’s middle name. We empower connections in the workplace, between colleagues, between partners, between vendors, the list goes on. Our Q&A engine means that a question never needs to be answered more than once. If you have a question, ask it. An expert will answer it (and depending on your community settings, that answer will be approved), and that information will then be accessible to anyone who may have the same question in the future. You have the capability to comment underneath any post, tag others in a comment to notify them of the post, and high-five the post (similar to a like on Facebook).

Interface

We’ve all seen a wiki. Long story short: you get what you pay for.

Our product and design team works tirelessly to create a modern and elegant interface for our Bloomfire customers. Posts can be viewed as tiles (Pinterest-style) or in a listview. Our white labeling option means your Bloomfire community is fully customizable. Community colors can be customized to match your brand colors, your logo can be added anywhere, and our team will work with you to create a custom promo bar so that your community immediately has a sense of familiarity for your team.

Search

Search is where wiki’s strength (cross-referencing) becomes its weakness. While wikis do, for the most part, have search functionality, hundreds of thousands of cross references often make wiki search results convoluted and time-consuming to sift through.

With Bloomfire’s powerful search, everything is indexed, meaning everything is searchable. Whether a phrase is in the title of a post, in the content of a PDF, or spoken in a video, it is searchable. Categories and tags allow you to filter your search even further (similar to shopping on Amazon) to ensure you find exactly what you need as quickly and easily as possible.

Think of a wiki as a can of low-fat Cheez Whiz. It’s yellow like cheese, so it must be cheese (right?). It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It doesn’t even require a cracker. This Cheez Whiz might tide you over until you can get your hands on some real cheese, but the satisfaction will be skin deep; it will not actually solve the problem at hand.

Think of Bloomfire as a delicious block of aged white English cheddar. It requires slightly more maintenance to remain in pristine condition (refrigeration). The time it takes to prepare this cheese for consumption is minimal. You unwrap the cheese, you slice off a piece, you put it on a cracker, and voila. Your need for cheese is fully satisfied.

And there you have it. A side-by-side comparison of Bloomfire and the traditional corporate wiki, including a look at wiki pros and cons. Are you looking for powerful search capabilities? Cheap pricing? Elegant interface? Whatever your priorities may be, there is a tool out to help you effectively manage knowledge in your organization, increase productivity, and empower collaboration in your organization. The choice is ultimately yours, but we may or may not be partial to an aged English white cheddar.

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