Is Wiki good to use as a knowledge-base within a company?

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Wiki model of documenting knowledge has been around for a while and have well documented advantages - ease of curation of content, ability to build hierarchy/structure and tools to enforce access control etc.

However, there are also couple of limitations, though they apply to broader KM solutions as well and are not just specific to Wiki.

First, Wiki is optimized for curators of knowledge and not so much for the consumers. The whole point of documenting knowledge is that someone else “learns” from it. But how does someone, looking for information at any given point, knows that a relevant piece of knowledge exists in the Wiki, and that it is indeed accurate? For a small and tightly-knit team this may not be an issue but for a larger and geographically distributed team, wiki may end up being a comprehensive knowledge-base that no one actually uses.

Second, in the world of data-driven-decision-making, simple Wiki doesn’t give enough insights into metrics you would like to track. Things like:

  • Which knowledge topics are being produced?
  • Which knowledge topics are bring requested and/or consumed?
  • Are there any gaps in the knowledge strategy?
  • Who are the top users and what is their behavior?
  • Who are the users that should be leveraging wiki but aren’t and defaulting to email/IM?

Measurement and reporting are critical to drive behavioral change in users, and derive sustained value from your investment.

Overall, Wiki works great as an external facing knowledge-base of well structured content that Google can crawl and index. For internal use-cases however, long-term value may be questionable.

A WIKI, in general, is a good collaboration tool where a lot of people constantly contribute to the repository, they are adding articles, editing existing ones, creating categories etc.

However, this may not be a good option in a lot of scenarios where you need a knowledge base. A knowledge base should be produced by a few handful of people who understand the subject better (ex: if you are preparing a company employee handbook knowledge base, then few members in your HR team will be best to write it), you don’t want everyone to edit it and consumed by a wider audience, example a big team, entire company etc.

For a knowledge base, you’ll need something like PHPKB, which is designed purely keeping knowledge base requirements in mind.