As wikis become a more common tool for collaboration, they need to be as seamless for users as other mission-critical applications.
Knowledge workers accustomed to having intranet access on the road through a laptop or mobile device can’t suddenly be shut out from a wiki when they are on the road.
SocialText thinks it found an answer to this problem with Miki, a mobile wiki for those constantly connected individuals.
Miki uses a mobile Web browser and a simplified user interface to connect people to their wikis from mobile devices.
In developing the concept, SocialText knew there were two problems that needed to be addressed.
First, the company didn’t want to force people to be logged in with a full browser to connect to people.
Second, the company was well aware that e-mail is a terrible collaboration platform, and it’s being stretched into a broadcast medium with as much as 38 percent of e-mail messages being what SocialText founder and CEO Ross Mayfield calls “corporate spam” — quick replies such “OK” and “Thank You” that accomplish very little.
With Miki, SocialText hopes to involve mobile professionals in real collaboration using their mobile devices, not the one- or two-word terse statements common in Blackberry usage, Mayfield said.
Early on in SocialText’s existence, one of the company’s first basic wiki products worked reasonably well on a Palm Treo device.
“We knew it was an opportunity, but we didn’t really hear it as a requirement from our customers,” Mayfield told Intranet Journal. With about 500 customers now, things have changed.
One of SocialText’s favorite customer stories is European investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, which actually replaced its traditional intranet with wikis from SocialText.
The firm’s wiki use has now extended out to extranet-type applications used by external partners.
“They needed it to be accessible for everyone from anywhere,” Mayfield said.
The Blackberry is the offical mobile device of Dresdner. But because Miki is platform-independent and based on a mobile Web browser, it was a perfect fit for Dresdner and its clients and partners.
Mayfield says Miki could help further the adoption of wikis because it will allow users to walk out of a meeting and keep collaborating, without dealing with the hassle of e-mail.
As more and more workers find themselves using mobile devices to stay in touch, it certinaly won’t hurt.
“There are certain companies that really live and die on Blackberries,” Mayfield said.