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Enterprise wiki planning (SharePoint Server 2010)

SharePoint 2010

Published: May 12, 2010

An Enterprise Wiki is a publishing site for sharing and updating large volumes of information across an enterprise. If an organization needs a large, centralized knowledge repository that is designed to both store and share information on an enterprise scale, consider using an Enterprise Wiki. For more information, see Enterprise Wikis overview (SharePoint Server 2010).

Enterprise Wikis use the Enterprise Wiki site template, which is built on the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 publishing infrastructure. This infrastructure provides various ways to control content. For example, you can assign permissions or use a workflow to establish an approval process.

This article contains information to help you plan an Enterprise Wiki solution for your organization.

In this article:

About planning an Enterprise Wiki

Before you implement an Enterprise Wiki, you must determine whether it is the most appropriate solution for the organization. An Enterprise Wiki is a good solution when a business need requires multiple users to contribute to a knowledge repository. However, if you need a way to set up one-to-many communication about a project or area of interest, you should use a Team Site.

Warning Warning:

Enterprise Wiki pages cannot be converted or migrated to pages on a Team Site without using custom code. Enterprise Wikis are used with the publishing feature in SharePoint Server 2010, so there are significant differences between an Enterprise Wiki site and a Team Site.

This article does not discuss how to plan a Team Site. To learn more about how to plan a Team Site, see Collaboration site planning (SharePoint Server 2010)).

Follow this sequence of steps to plan an Enterprise Wiki.

Decide whether to use an Enterprise Wiki

Representatives from several groups in an organization should be involved in the decision to implement an Enterprise Wiki. Ideally, you should have participants from IT, information architecture, the business unit requesting the Enterprise Wiki, and Human Resources. (Your organization might have different names for these roles, or one person might assume more than one role.) The group should consider the following questions during its decision-making process:

  • What purpose will the Enterprise Wiki serve?    An Enterprise Wiki should have a clear purpose. For example, it might address a specific business goal or it might be a centralized body of knowledge about a specific topic, process, or business problem. The goal is to provide a space where members of a virtual community can create, change, or remove content, which might include content that previous authors created. For example, you might want to use an Enterprise Wiki to enable employees to contribute content to Tips and Tricks pages about the business applications that an organization uses. However, if you determine that that you must have a more structured way to exchange knowledge, and that most communication will be one-to-many instead of the more free-form wiki behavior, you should consider using either a team site with Web Edit or a blog.

  • How many users should be allowed to contribute?    Several factors will influence this decision. Will you be able to support increasing growth and a need for increased network and server capacity? Should you determine key contributors from each business area who will become the primary contributors? Are there legal considerations about who can contribute?

  • How can we control who has access to the Enterprise Wiki?    In theory, all members of an organization can be granted access to contribute, edit, and update content in an Enterprise Wiki for the organization. If you have to separate information by group, consider using either a team site with Web Edit or a blog.

  • How much control should be implemented over the content?    Unlike blogs, which are designed for a more structured knowledge exchange, a wiki encourages informal contributions. However, an organization might have guidelines or requirements for handling specific kinds of content or content about a specific subject. You should also consider how to address inappropriate or inaccurate entries.

The following table compares the features of an Enterprise Wiki with those of a Team Site.

If you want to:

Use this site template:

Encourage one-to-many communication

Team Site

Encourage many-t0-many communication

Enterprise Wiki

Offer a structured way to exchange information

Team Site

Enable a collaborative exchange of information

Enterprise Wiki

Allow the use of social tags and notes

Enterprise Wiki

Control versions of documents

Team Site or Enterprise Wiki

Retain editorial control

Team Site or Enterprise Wiki

Allow pages to be rated

Enterprise wiki

Include site content in search results

Team Site or Enterprise Wiki

Mark pages for easier reference by tagging them with enterprise keywords

Enterprise Wiki

Use page layouts to provide structured page types

Enterprise Wiki

If you decide to implement an Enterprise Wiki in an organization, continue with Evaluate prerequisites.

Evaluate prerequisites

You must complete the following tasks before you can create an Enterprise Wiki.

Choose a location for hosting an Enterprise Wiki

Because Enterprise Wikis can grow quickly, the location that you select for hosting must be able to handle increased performance and capacity requirements. For example, although an Enterprise Wiki generally contains pages with low storage requirements, it is typically edited by a greater percentage of users than is common for Team Sites.

Multiple Enterprise Wikis that are built on multiple site collections cannot communicate with one another. They cannot share features such as in-line auto-completion, lists, and custom searching because these features cannot span multiple Enterprise Wiki instances. You should use multiple site collections only if you determine that multiple Team Sites are a more suitable solution for an organization, given size, location, and access considerations. However, you can create an Enterprise Wiki as a subsite of another site.

This step completes the planning process. The next task is setting up the Enterprise Wiki. For more information, see Create an Enterprise wiki (SharePoint Server 2010).

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