“Wikis are one of the fastest and most effective ways to aggregate information from a diverse range of sources or people.”
Peter Williams, CEO, Deloitte Digital
Peter Williams, the CEO of Deloitte Digital and Australia’s leading IT guru, was asked to create a business plan for one of Deloitte's proposed new ventures. The venture was a significant one, calling for a large investment, so Peter knew that a lot of people from different countries would need access to the information and the ability to add to it. As a Web 2.0 pioneer, Peter knew that wikis could enable the desired collaboration.
“Particularly within knowledge organizations like Deloitte, the knowledge is in people's heads,” Williams said. “You can try to force people to document everything, but that just doesn't work.”
PBworks Gets Deloitte Digital Started In Minutes
Deloitte had experimented with the open source Mediawiki software, but Peter wanted a better solution. “We had used Mediawiki,” said Williams, “But it was problematic in terms of management resources, and lacked the self-service of a PBworks. It was simply a pain in the ass in comparison to using an on-demand solution.”
As with many customers, Peter had encountered PBworks outside of work, through his involvement with the Creative Leadership Forum. His team looked at both PBworks and Wetpaint, and decided that they wanted PBworks’ on-demand enterprise functionality.
“IT departments aren't structured to be agile, responsive, and on demand,” said Williams. “My feeling was, rather than go for the whole rigamarole, I could set up a PBworks workspace in a minute or two and get everything I needed.”
And while PBworks’ speed was essential, its security and reliability were critical. “Effectively, having PBworks is just the same as having it behind a firewall,” said Williams. “It’s just that it'’s PBworks’ firewall, not ours.”
PBworks Improves Speed, Productivity, and Work Quality
Once Peter set up the wiki and his team began collaborating, it became apparent that using PBworks was dramatically improving speed, productivity, and work quality.
“I don't think we would have been able to develop the business plan with anything like the quality we got. Usually, people do their individual bits, and at the end, you get this compilation. Because the wiki gave us transparency all the way through, we were able to work faster, we were able to involve a broader range of people than we would have with a Word document, and we got better data. When the time came to compile the final report, it was already done.”
PBworks Cuts the Editing Process 90%
The contrast really became apparent when Peter compared working with PBworks to the traditional 11th-hour frenzy. “Using PBworks cut the editing process down 90%. Usually, there’s almost a week of edits, reviews, and rewrites, and that just disappeared. We spent more time developing and thinking about the plan, rather than running around like headless chickens dealing with the last-minute mayhem of Word documents with track changes everywhere. You can”t even read the bloody thing! The wiki made it really easy. And because it was easy, we were more able to involve people. 'Here, have a look and see what you can add here.’”
The Wiki Creates Its Own Momentum
Even better, Deloitte found that PBworks had become a permanent source of increased productivity. “Now that we have everything in one place, it’s effectively become a dynamic knowledgebase for our organization, even though the original project we bought it for is now over.”
In fact, rather than closing off the wiki, Deloitte is expanding it, adding users in the Netherlands, and planning to add the South African office. Peter is also looking at externalizing the wiki and using it to build the knowledgebase for online professional services.
PBworks is the gift that keeps on giving
“It creates its own momentum,” concluded Williams. “With it, we have better productivity, better information, and we can focus on what we're really about rather than focusing on what's in ‘track changes’.”
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