Putting MediaWiki to use in an organization
Friday May 19, 2006 (05:01 PM GMT)
By: Mark Alexander Bain
Imagine how useful it would be to have an online knowledge base that can easily be updated created by key people within your organization. That's the promise of a wiki — a Web application that "allows users to easily add, remove, or otherwise edit all content, very quickly and easily," as Wikipedia, perhaps the best-known wiki, puts it. Why not bring the benefits of a wiki to your organization?
Imagine all you want! Leadership doesn't understand it. You can talk until you are blue in the face. They can't understand it. And, you can't make them. Talk's cheap. And, that Leadership, who you are trying to sell, has been sold and bought the Brooklyn Bridge so many times they don't even listen anymore.
Thus, you can't get it in the door!
I knew what the benefits were from using wikopedia and the wiki at http://wikiw.freetalklive.com. But, until you have your "own" demo, you don't KNOW what it could do for your organization.
I suggest throwing it up on a laptop for demonstration purposes.
Some caveats. Any relatively modern virgin windowsXP from Dell should be good enough. I say virgin because your companies deploys as a standard image may interfere with your deployment. I say virgin also because I had played with Perspective prior to attempting MediaWiki and it needed a wipe to get it to work. But for one kilo dollar of hardware, zero software dollars, and at most 4 hours of clock time, and you can have your demo.
In my case, I use my Verizon Wireless Broad Band card and DynDns as well to make an internet accessible demo. I have actually supported five users (admittedly slowly) in simultaneous updating pages.
A demo will open the eyes of most Luddite of Leaders. A demo they get. They see it. They touch it. And, they "know" it's not that bridge. Or that they are not commissioning a trek into the unending budgetary swamp. They can make the leap from small demo to big demo.
After all to them it just feels like a funny website. But they'll "get it" when they see it.
That's what I did. It makes it visceral, easy to see, and touchable!
Now you are not going to garner the huge knowledge gains from a corporate wiki by running a demo. The value is having the enterprise version out, available, and open for use.
But you have to get to that point. This is how to do it.
Heck, if you're in a pickle, gimme a yell and I'll rent you my laptop for a day. ;-)