As interest in Web 2.0 picks up speed, the development and implementation of social software (such as blogs, wikis, and photo- and bookmark-sharing systems like Flickr and del.icio.us) is also gaining traction. Although these platforms are still relatively new, their presence in the world of business is growing quickly as they gain complexity and robustness. Chief among them is the wiki.
A wiki is a Web site that can be edited by anybody who is granted permission. In a business environment, that can mean a workgroup, a department, or even the whole company. The people who access the data and documents in a wiki are also the authors of the wiki, making it ideal for information sharing.
While wikis aren't the best tool for discussions or real-time collaboration, they excel as resources for archiving documents and tracking workflow. In addition to Web pages, wikis can link to spreadsheets, Word documents, PowerPoint slides, PDFs – anything that can be displayed in a browser. They can also embed standard communications media such as e-mail and IM. In other words, they let users gather all the information and correspondence pertinent to a project within one central location.
What's more, most wikis are either open source or based on open-source code. Open-source wikis are absolutely free for companies who implement them, and even licensed versions – which include implementation and support – are cheap compared to standard project- or content-management software. (See Wikis In The Business World for a more complete introduction to wikis and whether they're right for your company.)