Many teams have information spread across multiple systems owned by different people; creating a shared knowledge base of information that can be accessed and updated by everyone can be incredibly valuable. As part of a rapidly growing company with product lines that are continually evolving, I was recently tasked with choosing a platform for the storage of product and company data, to bring together the information currently housed in Google Docs (s goog), emails and elsewhere.
A shared wiki is the logical place to store this type of information. A wiki is accessible to anyone on the team; a good wiki will become the clearinghouse for any and all information that needs to be documented. While there are many wiki packages, after a diligent search we chose editme.
I had identified a few very specific needs when looking for our wiki solution:
WYSIWYG Editor. Even as a tech-savvy company, my experience has shown that most users don’t easily adapt to using specialized wiki syntax. My goal was to make the platform as easy and accessible as possible; if people don’t understand it or the process is difficult then they won’t take the time to use it. I found editme had an easy-to-use visual editor but with the option of using some more powerful syntax as well. The ability to add images, formatting and links to other items and pages is crucial for maintaining an appealing and useful environment. editme does this quite well.
Permission Levels. Even though our team is very open, there is certain information that needs to be segmented and made available to a more limited audience. I liked that editme let me keep the wiki overall private and secure within our team but then also gave me the functionality to create groups for users and then easily assign pages to specific groups. Overall, I am happy with the way that I can assign and manage these permissions. (However, on a related security issue, I’m not fond of the way that that it sends password reminders and logins via plain text in an email. I would much prefer a reset link or other reset or reminder options.)
It is also possible to make the wiki site public, or a mix of public and private; the ability to segment access and permissions in those scenarios becomes even more critical.
Affordability and Support. As a software company ourselves, we have no problem supporting other products and services that we find useful and that contribute to our own success. I know that there are also open-source alternatives that we can install and maintain but as a business critical service we decided that going with a hosted and maintained offering was our best option. With unlimited users at even the cheapest plan and pricing ranging from $5 – $79 month, it was well within our budget, and as new employees join the team we simply point them to the wiki to get them started.
In the six months we’ve had our editme site up and running we’ve found that the adoption has been good, particularly in our Customer Experience group where we focused our initial efforts.
Initially, we had some trouble with the menu creation and the page organization features; they were functional but confusing. That has since been revamped and the new Page Organizer feature is really slick. We can now drag-and-drop pages around to easily change the structure of the site.
Billed as both a wiki and a collaboration platform, editme straddles the line between wiki and web site creator, comfortably living in both worlds. While we were primarily looking for a data organization tool, the additional web site creation and styling features are easy to use and a nice bonus.
Pricing for editme starts at $5 per month, and 30 day trials are available on all plans. It’s a hosted solution and works across all major browsers.
Find out more about how software is enabling companies to improve collaboration — check out our Net:Work conference, coming to San Francisco in December.
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