Wiki, Wiki, Wiki

The Web Worker Daily blog recently detailed fifteen ways to make use of a wiki.  I’m happy to report that we use our company wiki for at least eight of those.  As our company grew, it meant more people and more client information to keep track of.  Searching for information on a shared network drive became too time consuming and frustrating.  We had no effective way to compile, store, access and edit our most important information.  Client histories, guidelines on writing .php code, design preferences, employee handbooks, phone lists, ongoing projects and the like were just not as available as we needed them to be.

Enter the GWiki.

In early May of this year, our CIO Paul Kulp used Media Wiki, the same open-source software originally created for Wikipedia, to create ours.  The G in GWiki pays homage to the family name of our parent – the Gile Companies.  The main sections in our ever expanding database are:

  • Companies
  • People
  • Web Sites
  • How we do things
  • Clients
  • Must Read
  • Digital Suggestion Box

Within those categories lies a wide variety of data; it drills down pretty far.  We do our best to add content as we go along, locating information and either adding it to the wiki, or referencing where to find it.  Since new pages can be created and edited on the fly, it is an ideal tool for a fast-moving organization.

It can be a bit of a hurdle to change people’s thinking from post-it notes and network drives to saving data in the wiki, but over time it yields results.  For example, I no longer have a company phone list taped to the wall near my desk, just a toolbar bookmark that takes me to the company-wide phone list.  On this list is found phone extensions, emails, instant messenger handles, and links to each employee’s individual page.  There you will find a photo and whatever information that person wants you to know about themselves.

Even more useful are the descriptions of internal procedures, client histories, explanations of the specific preferences held by our Creative Director Danielle McMahon, a digital suggestion box, results of usability studies and on and on.