OpenTeams does a good job taking the icky out of wiki

[[07MustangFuelLineRepair|How to repair a Mustang's Fuel Line]]That's an example of what's called wiki markup. It takes the text "How to repair a Mustang's Fuel Line" and links it to another page in a wiki called "07MustangFuelLineRepair".

[[07MustangFuelLineRepair|How to repair a Mustang's Fuel Line]]

That's an example of what's called wiki markup. It takes the text "How to repair a Mustang's Fuel Line" and links it to another page in a wiki called "07MustangFuelLineRepair". It's not pretty (and reminiscent of the codes we used to see in early-80's vintage word processors (like Wordstar).

If you have not yet discovered the power of wikis, then you should. Once you've worked with a wiki to store, collaborate, and make organizational knowledge searchable, you may never go back to the old way ( creating word processing documents and checking them into some Draconian document management infrastructure. But as good as they can be at disrupting the status quo, they can also be difficult to implement in a way that makes it effortless to begin secure collaboration. Wiki markup is but one challenge that wiki users face. Wiki adminstrators face others in this relatively immature marketspace. I call this collection of challenges the "icky in wikis." I should know. I run several wikis including the MediaWiki-based wiki for this July's Mashup Camp) as well as the wiki for Startup Camp.

But now, about three years after wikis started to get finally get some attention as business solutions (thanks in large part to the MediaWiki-based WikiPedia), several solution providers are looking to take the friction out of wiki implementation. At the Enterprise 2.0 conference, I was given a demonstration of OpenTeams' namesake wiki and, for the first time since first seeing wikis, I really felt like I was seeing the benefits of using wikis without the ickyness. OpenTeams is doing a great job taking the icky out of wiki.

Not only don't users have to touch wiki markup to encode documents, the entire solution is organized around projects (or what Director of Business Development Tim Hamilton called "initiatives"). You create an initiative in the system (easy to do). Then, you decide who in your company has access to that initiative. Then you start collaborating on documents. What makes OpenTeams so usable is a three-pane interface that anybody who has ever used a three-pane email system (like Outlook) will instantly grok. The left most pane shows the initiatives to which you have access. The next (middle) pane lists all the documents and objects related to whatever initiative is selected in the left pane. The rightmost pain is a preview window of whatever document is selected in the middle pane. The best way to picture it in action is to watch the video.


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