SMBs Should Put Wikis to Work

Ann All

Most of the success stories revolving around companies' ability to harness collaboration seem to involve huge enterprises like Procter & Gamble.


Of course big companies tend to be better at tooting their own horns. But what about SMBs? Are they using collaboration tools, and if not, should they be? Yes, and yes.


According to a recent AMI-Partners study, more than 40 percent of U.S. SMBs are using Web 2.0 tools, a catch-all category that includes software-as-a-service, Webcasts and mobile instant messaging. AMI-Partners broadly defines Web 2.0 as "the second generation of Internet-based services distinguished by the transition of static Web sites to a platform for applications development."


That definition certainly encompasses collaboration tools like wikis. An AMI-Partners analyst says such tools allow SMBs to "leverage the Web to get the solutions they need at a price they can afford."


Indeed, wikis are "relatively easy and inexpensive to set up," as this recent Newsday article (reprinted in The Columbus Dispatch) notes, with many companies opting for MediaWiki, the open source software that is the foundation for Wikipedia, the most famous wiki to date. Wikis are intuitive, so users require little if any assistance from IT -- a definite bonus for small shops.


JotSpot founder Joe Kraus says wikis are especially useful for SMBs. Among the benefits he mentions in a Small Business Radio Trends interview are helping companies eliminate multiple, duplicate versions of business documents and reducing internal e-mail. Though they provide many of the same functions, wikis are far less costly and complicated than traditional electronic content management systems.

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