Wikis

Case Study: University of Chicago

“PBworks proved its worth practically overnight, and I expect the number of users to balloon.”

Patricia Cloud, University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center (NORC)

 

Key Takeaways

•  SharePoint integration was taking too long; PBworks provided an immediate solution

•  NORC met the need for information sharing without straining IT resources

•  PBworks is available to everyone, including clients and offsite editors

 

The Need: A Better Way To Share Information

Patricia Cloud of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) found her team in a bind. As they worked on producing publications for clients ranging from government agencies and foundations to private corporations, they kept running into problems when trying to share information with those clients and with offsite and part-time editors.

 

NORC needed a reliable, cross-platform knowledge management and intranet solution that would work well inside and outside the network, while still providing enterprise-grade security to protect proprietary information.

 

NORC's IT team were in the process of installing Microsoft SharePoint in 2006, but Patricia's team needed a collaborative solution immediately and SharePoint was not yet available to her team. That's when they turned to PBworks.

 

The Solution: PBworks

"The urgency was so high that we had to make a fast decision," said Cloud. "SharePoint integration was taking a long time so we went 'over the wall' to use PBworks. And it's already paid off."

 

NORC began with the free version of PBworks, but quickly upgraded for the extra functionality and security. The NORC workspace is used for both knowledge management and as an intranet. For example, the editors use it as "toolbox" for the publication process by storing things like templates, assignments, to-do lists, links to relevant information, and a shared calendar.

 

And because Patricia's team can manage access to their PBworks instance themselves, PBworks can easily be made available to every member of the team, even short-term consultants and freelancers, who would not normally be given access to Sharepoint. And PBworks provides an easy search capability to make finding information easy for all team members.

 

"It takes a long time to find information on our network," said Patricia, "With PBworks, we can search, bookmark, and move on."

 

By centralizing all these tools within PBworks, NORC's goal is to make the wiki the first place editors check when they start their work. As more and more members of the organization adopt the tool, its importance will only increase.

 

"PBworks proved its worth practically overnight," Cloud said, "And I expect the number of users to balloon."

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