Australian business decision makers full of FUD about wikis

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Since it is unusual to see this kind of research locally, I downloaded a report on the barriers to wiki adoption in Australia from Queensland-based analyst firm, Longhaus the other day.

While I’m not entirely convinced by their conclusions about the longer term value of wikis being data- and process- orientated in order to better fill the gap where portals failed (although I agree wikis have great potential as the interface for an enterprise mashup platform, but there is more to it that the front end), their survey of 51 CxO level people from medium to large Australian enterprise is worth a look if only to understand the FUD in the business community.

My own analysis of the 14 odd barriers they list (ignoring the last ‘other’ category) groups them in to four broad types of barrier that I’ve listed in order of frequency:

1. Ignorance of enterprise wiki technology options; 
2. Lack of familiarity of the wiki concept;
3. Uncertainty about the value; and
4. Internal barriers (e.g. business culture).

We’re constantly told that that issues such as understanding the ROI from social computing and business culture are the major barriers to implementation, but it would be a real shame if these were really underpinned by a lack of knowledge about the actual technology options and the capabilities of enterprise-grade wiki solutions!

The survey also asked about the benefits (knowledge management benefits rated highly, but it was good to see mention of improvements to workforce cohesion, communication and information management too) and their intent to use enterprise wikis in the future, with 12% of medium-to-large Australian firms having already implemented wikis and a further 44% in the process of planning or considering their use.

Barriers to enterprise wiki adoption: understanding the wiki-portal continuum, published in May 2009, is free to download but registration is necessary.

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