A few weeks, I came across this in-depth case study about the use of Confluence as an intranet at Janssen-Cilag, a pharmaceutical company. There was a lot of talk within Atlassian about this article, so much in fact that I was sure I must have blogged about it here. But a few quick searches today and I realized that I had omitted writing anything about it! Time to make up for that omission:
Our Intranet, the Wiki: Case Study of a Wiki changing an Enterprise was published as a blog post by Nathan Wallace. It ranks among the most comprehensive case studies I’ve seen; it covers the objectives, deployment, and results of using a wiki as a collaborative intranet tool.

The adoption of JCintra has been remarkable. After only 3 months, 111 people had contributed more than 5,000 changes. After 12 months, we had 18,000 contributions from 184 people within the business.

Those are some really impressive stats and great testament to the value of the product and its ease of use. To illustrate this last point, Nathan also reported that they had had only one 5-minute training session that was really more like an introduction than training. Part of the key to this was the brilliant use of the Magnet pattern:

To drive adoption, we’ve primarily focused on owning the flow of new information. Early on, we established a policy that all announcements must be on JCintra. When necessary, they may be sent via email in addition to posting as news on the Intranet.

Promoting Internal Collaboration with an Enterprise Wiki, by Monroe Horn of Bromberg & Sunstein LLP, offers terrific insight into how one firm went about setting the priorities for collaboration and then found the right tool to implement it.

As we started looking at new technologies, the flexibility and ease of use of wikis immediately caught our eye. A wiki would provide the kind of flexibility we needed for our documentation and allow us to create pages that were easily interlinked. Unfortunately, the pure wiki software we evaluated was, in many respects, too flexible…
What we really needed was something in between a document management system, with its isolated and highly organized documents, and a wiki, with its ability to create and edit information easily in an ad hoc and unstructured manner.

Beyond the details of this case study, what I appreciate most is the conclusion which hits the nail on the head: a successful collaboration solution is really about creating and supporting an environment for users to share their knowledge; the software is only the medium through which it operates (though it doesn’t hurt to use good software! 🙂 ).

The technology itself, however, does not create collaboration. It just makes it easier. It is still necessary to foster a culture of knowledge sharing and communication so people are constantly thinking not only about doing their work, but also about documenting it.

Thanks to both authors to taking the time to write such great pieces about your uses of Confluence!

Two Wiki Case Studies: Pharmaceutical and Law...