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Enterprise 2.0: Wikis in SharePoint 2010 Pt. 3

Opportunities for Improvement

A few of SharePoint’s limitations – lack of suggested wikis and customizeable wiki navigation – were mentioned earlier, but above everything else, the biggest limitation of wikis in SharePoint 2010 is their adherence to the Library infrastructure.

Because wikis are stored in libraries in SharePoint, they are not visible to non-members to the site and they are not linkable by other wikis outside the site. Even if an organization promoted the use of wikis, the end result would be several dozens of wikis that may contain similar content but are unable to come to a consensus. This violates the purpose of wikis and Enterprise 2.0.

While almost all organizations will need some security measures in place to limit access to documents and certain sites within SharePoint, wikis should be handled outside of this policy, and are therefore inappropriate for use in site libraries.

A better solution might be to have a single site that contains all wiki pages that are accessible to all users, and to have web parts that display views of one or more wiki articles. Some articles could limit accessibility and searchability if the author chose to do so, but by default would be public. It is also not enough to just create a single wiki library at a top level site and expect all employees to use it. Use of the wiki must be incorporated “in the flow” of the usual business processes, so web parts viewing the individual wikis is necessary to allow users to use the wiki from the sites they typically go to (like team sites) while the changes they make are still reflected back to the enterprise level source.

It is possible that a sufficient solution could be put together using a single public wiki library and the use of page viewer web parts, but any organization looking to utilize SharePoint as an Enterprise 2.0 platform would likely want and need these features to be more prevalent and easily accessible.

Conclusion

SharePoint 2010 has made significant strides in leveraging the social networking capability of a platform already built for collaboration. This includes added emergent organizational features such as tagging and liking, and enhanced MySite features such as news feeds.

The wikis themselves have shown improved functionality and are much closer to what users may already be used to in platforms like Wikipedia. However, because wikis still remain stored as individual libraries, the information inside them are silo’ed off from one another, limiting the ability of users to truly collaborate on information on an enterprise scale.

So while wikis in SharePoint 2010 might now be a perfectly sufficient solution for a Workgroup 2.0 or Department 2.0 collaboration, more work is still needed to truly capture all the essence and benefits of an Enterprise 2.0 platform.

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