This has been, for me, the summer of the Wiki! Why is that? Well, as it turns out, on two different gigs I have been challenged to articulate the Wiki value proposition. That is not an easy task unless you want to sound like another technology "snake oil" vendor. Collaborative platforms have been around at least as long as Lotus Notes firmly established the category. So the question is, what is different this go round?
Aside from the fact that most small businesses and even a large percentage of mid-size firms probably could not afford the Lotus Notes ante, the biggest difference is the platform. The "always on 24/7 anywhere/anytime platform" is a huge differentiator from the collaborative apps of the past. The fact that most of the innovation (and investment) is in the "web as platform" space is also important. There is significantly less vendor lock in then there was in the past. Sure, committing to an Enterprise Wiki vendor is no trivial commitment, but NOT exactly the equivalent of committing to Notes or Sharepoint.
I am far more willing to ride on the open platform train then to hitch my wagon to another proprietary platform. The fact that customers, partners and employees require no special training to use a Wiki is also important. The platform simply works and delivers on the promise. We have collectively just started to scratch the surface of potential WIki applications. Those that believe Wik's are nothing more than geeks singing another verse of "Kum Ba Yah" are going to miss this train. This is not unlike those in corporate America who, early on, thought that the PC was a novelty.