Should you create an internal corporate wiki to store knowledge?

Wiki has emerged as a ubiquitous term for internet-based knowledge. So many people use this as a term to describe knowledge stores across use-cases. Often, the term wiki gets dragged into corporate settings when really it has no place for companies of any material scale.

Great for TV series… not much else.

When you’re compiling knowledge about Game of Thrones or Lost, a wiki is a great solution. Its collaborative, open, linkable, searchable and discoverable. While it has so many benefits, it has many drawbacks for the corporate setting. Consider these issues:

  • Lack of security – anyone can create, edit, update or delete knowledge
  • Data has limited portability (imports and exports), especially for external use-cases
  • Search functionality falls apart when wiki articles have attachments
  • Limitations on document design – good for long-form, but not for snippets
  • There is no separation between public information from private information
  • Inadequate analytics

More complex use-cases

For a growth-stage or enterprise companies with customer success, people-ops, or IT support teams, there is much more complexity to the holistic corporate use-case. You might have technologies that those teams already use and are ideally suited for, such as Google Drive, Atlassian’s suite, Zendesk or others. Wikis do not integrate well with any of these technologies and thus, you’ll need to explore options outside of simple wiki solutions for more complex needs.

Choose your knowledge base wisely

We are not trying to diminish the value of a wiki as a collaboration tool or knowledge store. They certainly have value, especially in small-scale cases. But in situations where there are commercial interests at risk, you should choose a solution that is more secure, integrates with various technology stacks, has robust search functionality and provides analytic tools to help build and optimize the knowledge base as your company grows.