Wither the Enterprise Wiki?

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Melanie Turek, Contributor

July 9, 2007

2 Min Read

For all the hype about Wikis and social software revolutionizing the enterprise, the evidence shows that enterprises either aren’t aware of these tools, or aren’t deploying them.

Nemertes Research has interviewed over 75 enterprises for our upcoming benchmark “Building a Successful Virtual Workplace.”  As part of the interview process we’re asking enterprise IT executives about their adoption of, and strategy for social software such as blogs, wikis, RSS, and shared workspaces.  The results thus far have been surprising.

Less than 30% of enterprises are using wikis, less than 15% have deployed RSS services or internal blogging systems. In most cases, usage of these tools is within small workgroups rather than the enterprise as a whole, with reliance on public services or shareware applications brought in by individual users or workgroups.  Often the quote we’ve heard is “well, we use a wiki here in IT, or XXX department is trying one, but we don’t have an “enterprise wiki platform.””

The one area where we do see a significantly high rate of adoption or planned adoption is in shared workspace collaboration applications, with the majority of enterprises we’ve interviewed using or planning to use Microsoft’s SharePoint or IBM Lotus’s Team Workplace.

I believe these results confirm a trend I talked about in a previous Collaboration Loop post, that enterprises, especially large global enterprises, base their collaboration strategy upon a partnership with a key supplier (in most cases either Microsoft or IBM Lotus) and implement the tools offered by that vendor.  We just don’t see much interest in enterprise adoption of web-based services platforms (e.g., Google).  Enterprises we’ve spoken with would, by and large, rather deploy tools from known organizations that can easily be integrated into other office productivity applications, rather than deploy unknown applications or open source platforms without an enterprise support vehicle.

The trends we’re seeing continue to demonstrate a possible disconnect between the visionaries of the Web 2.0 “Internet as the Platform” world and the enterprise IT manager.  For enterprise IT managers, support and cost considerations typically outweigh all else.  Even the “coolest” technology in the world won’t find acceptance unless there is a strong support model, proper enterprise management tools and capabilities, and a demonstrable return on investment (oh, and it better interoperate with Microsoft or IBM applications).

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