First comes SharePoint, then comes Wiki

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First comes SharePoint,

SharePoint! A Microsoft product you either hate or love. Microsoft states,
Your organization can use Office SharePoint Server 2007 to facilitate collaboration, provide content management features, implement business processes, and supply access to information that is essential to organizational goals and processes.
I partially agree with that statement. I think SharePoint can be a great tool for document repository. As for collaboration, it works for a small team with minimal documents. When used appropriately, SharePoint is also useful for content management. There are powerful features of SharePoint; the problem is that it is not intuitive. You almost have to be a SharePoint expert to appreciate all the SharePoint capabilities. Oftentimes documents are buried under multiple folders. It is difficult to get a dashboard view of the projects and documents housed in SharePoint. Bottom line, SharePoint is not the Holy Grail.

Then comes wiki …

Now we’re talking collaboration. Wikis are designed from the start for participation. Wiki is defined as a web based social collaboration tool that allows anyone to edit and contribute content. Wiki allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Usually, editing a wiki space is just a matter of clicking the edit button on any page top or section header, much simpler than track changes in Word.doc or editing via SharePoint.
Wikis provide a platform for people to work together, build knowledge, and make connections. Like anything, wiki has its limitations also. Although we are now seeing more plug-ins for open source wikis to enhance features. Currently, there is no way of directly embed PowerPoint slides into the wiki. A way around it is embed PowerPoint slide into Slideshare, then embed Slideshare in the wiki. Same thing with videos, it needs to be embedded via YouTube. Doable, but could be better. Click here to see some great ways companies can use wikis.
Overall, wiki is a great tool for open collaboration while SharePoint is a great tool for document repository.

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3 thoughts on “First comes SharePoint, then comes Wiki

  1. Actually I think you have it partly right!

    SharePoint is a GREAT platform, it supports a very good Authentication and Authorization framework. It has over 300 programmable hooks that allow for some great applications to be developed above it. SharePoint also exposes a lot of its internal information in the form of XML Web Services and RSS feeds. So as an accessible repository it is great. Now as an ‘Application’ it does some things really well I like to say it is ‘Excel meets the web’ with the concept of list management. With its deep hooks into the Microsoft Office plumbing and the fact that everything MSFT seems to be developing sits on-top of SharePoint (ex: project Server) it is a great platform. *BUT* in typical Microsoft fashion it is a “swiss army knife” and not a best of breed application to address one specific market segment.

    Case in point: WIKI and Blogs. Microsoft delevers pseudo-WIKI and Blog solutions out of the box. They really do work. But they are not going to win any awards in the current version. Want a better product? Look at Socialtexts solution for SharePoint!

    I look foreward to the office14 release of SharePoint I think it can only continue to get better mainly because SharePoint has been adopted by so many organizations and they have filled it up with ‘stuff’ now people are looking for ways to harvest the value and surface the information in new ways.

  2. I agree with you. Today I learned that SharePoint 2007 by MOSS (not the free one the comes with Windows) offer many enhancements to make SharePoint more user-friendly. It also has a much better wiki and blog. Though SharePoint wikis does not yet have options to leave comments.
    Bottom line, Wikis may not be a solution for everyone, neither is SharePoint. However, because so many organizations have SharePoint, it make sense to leverage from existing software and enable social media via SharePoint assuming the organization has the budget to upgrade to SharePoint 2007 in addition to some customization to make it look nice.

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