Thursday, November 22, 2007


Are Wiki's ready for the enterprise?

Dave Oliver asks Are wiki's ready for the enterprise?. In my humble opinion, the answer is no!

Have you ever considered the principles of being service oriented where the goal is to achieve loose coupling? Consider for a moment that my blog is loosely coupled in that the producer (me) publishes in a standard format where the consumers (you) can alter the format to suite your needs and it doesn't require me to either know nor care if this occurs.

Fast forward to the enterprise where the focus is less on knowledge and more about presentation. Have you ever had a boss that has suggested that you change the look of your presentation in terms of format alone while not actually reading the message? Sadly, producers of content in large enterprises are tightly coupled to those who are consumers where we are forced to change formatting to fit someone's else notion of beauty as part of the overall desire to perform perception management.

Imagine being the Enterprise Architect who champions the rollout of of Wiki's only to learn that the desire was to find a lightweight tool for productivity purposes only resulted in producers having to publish in multiple forms creating even more work and watching productivity go out the window.

Besides, wiki's also don't align with the control the message way of thinking as the paradigm is more about publishing with instant viewability by your audience. There is little opportunity for censorship. Minimally, some wiki's do have authorization models that can help mitigate this particular concern. For the record, I do like the Wiki that is built into Liferay Enterprise Portal as it allows you to apply role-based security constructs to a wiki. Of course, Liferay is 100% open source and therefore cheap to acquire. If you however must spend money, may I suggest you check out Confluence.

Before you consider Wiki usage within an enterprise setting, may I suggest that you solve the loose coupling problem between people first...

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