Establishing an Effective Internal Wiki for Your Organization

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Tal F.
on November 02, 2021 · · filed under Documentation Portals Technical Writing Product Documentation Tutorials Internal Documentation

Establishing your internal wiki is essential for many facets of your organization. In this article, we will discuss how wikis are developed, their uses, and why they are important to your organization.

What is an internal wiki, and why do you need one for your business?

A company's internal wiki is a dedicated location where teams may store, locate, and exchange vital information with each other. Consider it as your organization's long-term memory or internal knowledge repository. Businesses utilize wikis to record vital information for their company operations, Information such as corporate policies, procedures, processes, technical notes(release notes and other story descriptions), project plans, and training and onboarding documentation.

A corporate wiki eliminates redundant queries and enables your staff to operate independently. Additionally, it safeguards your business against attrition - wikis save information that might otherwise be lost.

Additionally, wikis have a beneficial effect on organizational culture. Employees are compelled to improve their writing skills – to communicate their point simply and succinctly. By writing more clearly, you can think more clearly, which enhances teamwork and productivity.

What are key features in a wiki creation platform that you should look for when choosing one to supp[ort your companies internal wiki needs?

Your firm will tailor your wiki experience to your specific requirements. However, the following elements are critical to your wiki experience. When selecting an internal wiki for your organization, ensure that it provides these characteristics.

Your wiki should integrate seamlessly with the technologies that your team currently utilizes.

Your team already communicates and shares information using platforms such as Github Gist, Air table as well as document editors such as Google Sheets. As a consequence, your collective knowledge is dispersed throughout a small number of applications. Your staff must continually switch tools in order to have access to critical corporate information.

While an internal wiki may assist, the fact is that some of your team's vital knowledge will continue to reside inside the constraints of technologies other than your wiki. This is why having a wiki creator that can integrate with your companies technologies is essential when choosing the right wiki for your organization.

The search tool should be sturdy and effective.

A robust search tool (which is what we use at Docsie) enables users to quickly locate material without having to go through folders or topics.

At the very least, your wiki's search functionality should be as quick and straightforward as Google's.

Docsie’s search allows our users to find content and knowledge quickly and efficiently. By typing in the word they are looking for, all of the articles and their locations will appear:

Consider the search feature in Docsie. Docsie enables teams to centrally store, organize, and distribute vital information. They depend on our platform to assist them in quickly locating what they're searching for. That is why, when you click the search box in Docsie, we display your most recently read posts – since the article you're looking for is certainly one you've just visited.

Additionally, we provide faceted search, which helps you to refine your search. For instance, this is how you might locate references to the word 'Javascript' inside your documentation and various articles:

A quick and powerful search function is not only a means of reducing the time spent on the quest for information. Additionally, it provides a great user experience for your team, increasing their likelihood to utilize and adding excellent functionality to your Docsie wiki.

The ability to collaborate

Internal wikis eliminate the knowledge silos that naturally exist in every organization with numerous teams. However, teams should retain their own dedicated place on your wiki.

Teams do this via the usage of books within shelves with Docsie(other wikis-type folders). Engineering teams, for example, have their own devoted subject, as does Marketing. Additionally, each team may develop nested subtopics. For instance, each of your Brand and Growth teams may have its own dedicated subtopic inside the Marketing subject.

Whatever these specialized venues are named, they should make it simple to get the appropriate information in front of the right people, at the right time.

Docsie allows for seamless collaboration with your team. here is a video that demonstates a few collaboration features within Docsie.

Watch the videoAlso, Docsie allows you to set various roles within the platform which is important to stipulate who can do what and to what capacity can they do it.

Here is an example of how we positioned the roles of our users within Docsie:

Collaboration is extremely important, especially in these times, where most teams work remotely. To learn more about how Docse can help with collaboration click here.

A method for maintaining current and correct material

Certain wikis make determining if your material is up to date and correct challenging. Look for a wiki that prominently displays critical information such as the date and author of a post

Who last modified the content of your wiki?

If you want to know how last modified your documentation then having a platform that shows timestamps is key! Docsie allows all of our users to see what has been done within various books and this helps them understand what work is still required to be completed.

What are the key necessities for a well organized internal wiki platform

Effective organization

To store and organize material, document editors make use of the conventional folder, also they can have articles and sub-articles, headings, and various layout configurations that can help to manage the layout of your internal wiki a lot more efficiently. However, most of the time finding these files and knowing which file belongs to which department can be tedious without the proper organization of documentation. This makes it difficult for colleagues to locate and keep information.

Having search capabilities within the platform allows for different teams and departmental associates to find the appropriate documentation quickly and effectively. Also having the information divided into books and shelves creates a more organized situation for the organization's internal documentation.

Here is an example of Docsies workspace. As you can see we have already organized our documentation within books and shelves. The books are articles and the shelves are a collection of different articles within a specifically tailored knowledge portal.

Keeping the format consistent and easy to read

Documentation should be simple and uncomplicated. With additional formatting choices available to your team, the documentation experience becomes more onerous. When everyone is free to structure their posts whatever they like, the result is an uneven and perplexing wiki experience. If you have a simple to read format that is easy to follow, not only will it be easy to develop and maintain but it will be a quicker and more effective process in developing documentation within a simple structure that is the same design all across the board.

Here is an example of a user guide developed by Docsie. It is our help portal and it will help you understand what a useful and dynamic format looks like.

  1. The main writing area: It’s a good idea to have images and diagrams, as well as the write-up to best, explain your documentation. It's in a nice location and sized well with headers and titles, positioned well.

  2. Fully functional search navigation: This is extremely important in order to speed up the process in which your readers find suitable information

  3. Links: Links are key to directing your readers to other pages that are necessary for them to review.

  4. Table of contents: This allows your readers to pinpoint specific articles within your knowledge portal and internal documentation.

  5. Language and version picker: The ability for your readers to change languages is crucial for companies that have a lot of employees that work overseas, within different countries.

Search is not just a passing idea

When you have a limited amount of documentation written and a small number of employees it may not be problematic to find the right information quickly. However, as your team grows and more individuals contribute to your internal knowledge base, you'll become aware of these document editors' limits.

Most internal documentation is not meant for a growing internal wiki with many employees. To have a dynamic search engine along with a well-organized wiki is essential for maintaining a smooth workflow on finding useful information, policies, user guides, and tutorials that the employees need while searching through the documentation.

Self-hosting or cloud-based wikis, which one is better for your organization?

Now let's talk about how to publish your documentation, is it better to have a self-hosted or cloud-based proprietary wiki?

Let's begin by looking at the pros and cons for each alternative.

Wiki that is self-hosted.

If you have the cash and resources, you may host your corporate wiki on your intranet, server, or internet hosting provider. Among the advantages of a self-hosted wiki are the following:

  • You are the only owner of your data.

  • You may design a wiki experience that is tailored to your individual requirements and specifications.

However, a self-hosted wiki consumes significant technical resources. Typically, it is best suited for teams with very specialized requirements.

Wiki hosted on the cloud.

Docsie, for example, enables you to create an internal wiki without devoting significant technical resources. Within one business day, you can be up and running.

It will be easy to manage and work with. Also, it can easily be embedded within your companies website with one line of code, this will make it seamlessly merge with your company's brand's look and feel for an overall comfortable user experience. In a long term using Docsie to help you host your documentation through our portal or embedded Docsie pages on your companies site will save time and money in the long run, and lead to a more sufficient documentation workflow.

Laying the groundwork for your information architecture

The appearance of your information structure will be determined in large part by the wiki solution you pick.

In Docsie, the material is organized in three ways: shelves (which function similarly to folders) and books (which house the content itself). Thus, if your team makes use of Docsie, your information architecture refers to the way your subjects are organized.

As you organize your team's internal wiki:

Concentrate on clarity. Everyone on your team, not just those who created it, should be able to simply explore your wiki. Utilize many pairs of eyes to ensure that your wiki structure makes sense widely and that everyone understands where to get information.

Allow teams to be flexible. Allow each team to create a subject or folder in the manner that makes the most sense for their workflow. A framework that works for one team may not work for another.

Import and supplement content

After you've established your architecture, you may begin adding material to your internal wiki. If you already have documentation (for example, on DocX, Markdown PDF and/or JSON files), you should import it into your new wiki before it goes live. We make it simple to import material from a number of tools, as well as markdown files into Docsie.

Additionally, you should include any significant new material into your wiki prior to its formal debut. Several items that teams commonly add when launching their corporate wiki are their employee handbook and a tutorial on how to navigate their new wiki or knowledge base.

Configure integrations

As indicated before, your team is likely to rely on a small number of technologies to hold critical data. Rather than replacing these tools, we've discovered that integrating them with your knowledge base benefits your team more.

Consider which material should be stored in your wiki and which should be linked to it. Certain types of material belong in a tool other than your wiki. For instance, engineering teams that utilize GitHub may use Docsie to sync markdown files and include bugs and pull requests from GitHub. Thus, users may continue to use GitHub for their workflow while adding effortlessly to their company's wiki.

Docsie allows our users to integrate various other SaaS solutions within our platform. We allow our users to integrate:

To learn more about how we can integrate other technologies with Docsie, click here.

Create a launch plan.

You may now begin planning your launch. You'll need to make a critical decision: will the first rollout be limited to a single team or will it span the whole organization?

Team-specific: If you want to open your wiki to a single team, that team will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the product and begin developing their own information architecture. Then, as your internal wiki grows, the initial staff may give invaluable insight and assistance.

Company-wide: If you choose to deploy your wiki throughout your whole organization at once, ensure that everyone is aware of the procedure for managing your authorized knowledge base. Otherwise, it is recommended that you begin with a single team and then expand to departments and expand even further. For company-wide rollouts, we advocate hiring team ambassadors. They will develop into product specialists and will be able to lead the charge within their respective teams.

Final thoughts

Your organization's internal wiki is more than a repository for vacation policy. Your wiki contributes to the development of a culture of writing and information sharing.

However, the wiki you select is significant. Choose a wiki that simplifies and streamlines documentation. Nobody should be required to jump through hoops in order to have a good grasp of the knowledge you are sharing. This is why we suggest that having a well-thought-out internal wiki is a great way to share information in a strategic and methodological manner in order to help maintain strong company morale.

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