The Wikiblogosphere

For those of you who reside in the outer blogosphere, one of the main purposes of this blog is as an assessment piece for the master’s degree I’m currently undertaking at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). As such the coming weeks will revolve around the company that we have chosen to research, dependent on their specific needs, potential enterprise 2.0 solutions.

My Team (please check out their blogs too)…

Claire De Larrinaga Aurelie Filloux Candice Ruddle Alexander Herwix

…and I are going to be researching the enterprise 2.0 needs of Airservices Australia.

And what do they do?

Well basically, they control the skies and make sure that nothing too heavy falls out of it.

And to do this, they provide services such as airspace management, aeronautical information, aviation communications, radio navigations aids and aviation rescue and fire fighting services. Pretty serious stuff, so understandably they have a very serious set of ethics and guidelines that they live by.

Among these are their core values that their website describes as:

  • Excellence – we are the best we can be
  • Inclusion – we are diverse and involved
  • Cohesion – we are working together
  • Initiative – we are making a difference

Now, the focus of this article is the third point and how they can achieve this “Cohesion” with respect to centralising their documentation and tacit knowledge throughout their organisation, beginning with the Network team (where Candice works).

Whose specific requirements from an Enterprise 2.0 solution are:

  • Reduce the number of emails sent on a daily basis
  • Improve staff productivity and efficiency
  • Knowledge management
  • Improve communication between teams
  • Improve staff relations and encourage socialisation

There are a number of different tools that are available to solve the issues above, however the one I’m going to talk about is Atalssian’s Confluence. Confluence is a collaboration tool that enables its users to create and share files all whilst connecting people and content.

It’s essentially a supercharged web based wiki, but it’s so much more than that.

So apart from just being able to create and search for documents, the real power of Confluence is the fact that users can create their own spaces(a bit like facebook or myspace) and publish blog posts, comment on other’s content as well as operate commonly known utilities such as “likes”, “tags” (referred to as Labels in Confluence) and “@mentions“. Furthermore, the “watch” facility (or page subscriptions) where you can choose the spaces/pages/posts you are interested in and get automated notifications of when authors publish something new or a page gets updated, is particularly powerful.

Add to this the enormous user base, the developer network and the hundreds of Add-ons that are available you have an exceptionally powerful tool to enable the dissemination of knowledge through a centralised platform.

Now I could go on and on about the features of Confluence and its hugely competitive pricing structure, but it’s probably best to grab it straight from the horse’s mouth.

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About andrewdcook

Project Manager/Animator/Beer Snob

10 responses to “The Wikiblogosphere”

  1. candiceruddle says :

    Hey Andrew. Very interesting post. I’d never heard of Confluence before, but you certainly sell it well as a useful tool for enterprise wide collaboration. I love the idea of it as a document sharing tool. I know our current document management system is somewhat disliked by a lot of staff due to the difficulty many have with locating previously saved documents. This is the system currently used to share documents among project teams, work groups etc. A lot of people has circumvented the current system by simply creating shared network drives to store information, which while effective enough, could be improved. Our current system also does not allow more than one person to edit a document at any one time.

    After checking out their web page, I must say that I am very impressed with some of it’s features. The privacy settings are a hugely important factor due to the sensitivity of the information that certain people and teams deal with.

    Awesome product with huge potential. It’s always good to be introduced to new and exciting programs, I am certainly going to look into this one a bit further.

    • andrewdcook says :

      Hi Candice!
      Unfortunately one of the limitations to Confluence is that only one person can edit a document at a time. There is a new Google Docs plugin for it but i’ve not used it yet so not sure if that solves it entirely.

      As a central space for people to access and collaborate however it is pretty awesome. Like many tools there are more effective ways to use it than others and it does need buy-in to be really useful. Alas this is always the struggle! 🙂

  2. shaungoossens says :

    Hi Andrew,
    Had a laugh at “Well basically, they control the skies and make sure that nothing too heavy falls out of it.”
    Nice post and a very interesting tool, never heard of them before but they seem to provide a powerful tool with some competitive advantages.

    – Shaun

  3. inn346qut says :

    Hey Andrew,

    like your enthusiasm for confluence! However, have you ever used yammer or another competing product (IBM Connections, etc.)? Would love to know if there are big differences in quality, pricing, etc… (and we will obviously need it for the assignment 😉 )

    Cheers, Alex!

    P.S. Would be grateful for a comment on my post as well 🙂

    • andrewdcook says :

      i’ve not used any other competing commercial products to Confluence, only a number of proprietry ones and mediaWiki that we’re using for class. And confluence beats them hands down. Purely because of its searchability, WYSIWYG and the shear volume of users and plugins that are available. I would love to try Yammer as it’s fairly popular…

      • inn346qut says :

        yeah, that’s gonna be a tough part of our assignment. Actually recommending a product, when we really don’t know them at all 😀 Another good one to consider is probably http://www.jivesoftware.com/
        Anyway, I think the basic premisse will be the same for all of them, so maybe we just go at it from a very general perspective.

  4. paulbrouard says :

    Hi Andrew,
    Pretty interesting post you wrote here! I didn’t actually know Atalssian Confluence. Sounds like a pretty useful tool in between Facebook and Twitter but for companies. I will definitely go check it out.
    I wonder if this tool introduces a new category of tool that will suit companies. I mean are we going to see a lot more of those and one of them shall become the best. Because for now I don’t know any that would be widely used. Do you?

    Cheers,
    Paul

    • andrewdcook says :

      Hi Paul,

      Definitely i think there will no doubt a market leader among the web2.0 tools for companies, however i think there is likely to be a fairly decent spread due to factors such as the database requirements and supporting language frameworks. As i imagine these will vary pretty significantly between organisations.

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