As an internationally operating company in the segments of construction, technology and service the Max Bögl group of companies is relying on a BlueSpice MediaWiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH. The goal: professional knowledge management and – in the long term – a deeper integration of wiki-potentials into the software landscape of the enterprise.
For ten years now, TenneT TSO has been relying on a BlueSpice MediaWiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH. From a reference book for the network operator’s construction and operating guidelines, the wiki since then has developed into a company-wide encyclopedia with currently around 11,000 articles.
Landau Media GmbH & Co KG have been using a BlueSpice MediaWiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH for over ten years. It provides the specialists in media monitoring not only an important tool for documenting processes, but also a comprehensive reference work.
When asked what significant advantages the BlueSpice MediaWiki has contributed, Anke Przybilla proclaims its “incalculable time-saving”. Przybilla is a qualified librarian and wiki coordinator for Landau Media GmbH & Co KG. The company has been providing a comprehensive service in media monitoring for more than twenty years. Their team of about 280 professionals takes care of about 10,000 customers, mainly media agencies and the companies’ press departments. “We make sure that the right newspapers are on board,” explains Przybilla.
The Munich software company Ryte has been using a BlueSpice 3 wiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH for its reference work on digital marketing. The resources maintained in this way are regularly cited in academic theses and make up a large part of the sessions logged on the Ryte website.
“At the start, our developers simply built and maintained a wiki just for us. We had nothing like we have now,” explains Pauline Mitifiot. She is a marketing expert at Ryte GmbH in Munich, a SaaS (Software as a Service) company founded in 2012. Now, Ryte’s wiki has become an important treasury, a leading online resource of its type. In February 2018, the encyclopaedia was transferred to a BlueSpice MediaWiki wiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH. The reason: “the wiki had started to consume too much of our developers’ time and energy. And we needed them to concentrate fully on our product,” said Mitifiot.
Task breakdown, functionality, examples and training material: seven German states embrace a BlueSpice MediaWiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH, which makes it easy for members of staff to use a shared editing and information system on land consolidation and explains all the topics that arise.
It is a mammoth project that was undertaken about seven years ago by the German states Brandenburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt: the implementation of a joint editing and information system for all issues relating to land consolidation (Flurbereinigung), working with a uniform data set and the technical standards connected with it.
Over half a year ago, “Wiener Wohnen”, Europe’s largest public-housing management service, transferred their company manual and their complete process and document management system onto a wiki platform. Here is a progress report.
“Introducing the wiki was a bit like doing a clear out,” says engineer Dietmar Milkovits. He is the head of the quality management department at “Wiener Wohnen“, a company full of tradition which can trace its roots back to the 1920s. As an agency of the municipal authorities of Vienna, “Wiener Wohnen” manages, renovates and operates about 220,000 council flats in 1,800 residential areas, making it the largest public-housing management service in Europe. During their work, about 750 employees are faced with a multitude of regulations: the Word document in which they used to be collected together was a good 600 pages long. Manipulating this data was thus very laborious, as was searching for regulations and using the connected documents required.
“More than just hype”
“The greatest challenge for the future was to make this mass of information understandable and transparent for our staff, and we wanted to make use of a well-known and proven tool,” said Milkovits. For this reason, in 2017, the company management decided to transfer this company manual and all the document and process management systems into a BlueSpice 3 wiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH, known as MAAS (this is short for the German word MitarbeiterInnenanleitungssystem meaning “Staff Instruction Manual”). Even the in-house intranet was replaced in the process, as though in passing, and since May 2018 “if I need anything, I look in MAAS.”
“A wiki is more than just hype. It is something stable, lending itself to extensions and being customised for future challenges,” says Milkovits, whose department looks after MAAS and operates the platform. He names the fundamental plus-points as the search function, the simple structure with many cross-linking possibilities, the function to print documents as PDFs, a pleasant layout and a rights system which is easy to adapt.
A wiki is the central tool for sharing information about changing products and services centrally, efficiently and systematically. Are there best practises? We have compiled the most important questions.
When companies develop their services and products, there are many questions that need to be answered quickly and communicated to the relevant departments and teams:
- What is included in the product?
- How is the product calculated?
- How does the product differ from competing products?
- Is there a need to observe certain procedures and requirements at the time of delivery?
- Where is there additional information about quality features or about similar products in the product range?
- What are the experiences with this product and how should it be further developed?
Sales, development, project management and support depend on up-to-date information in order to carry out their tasks efficiently and efficiently. Continue Reading
The Wikipedia software MediaWiki is a well known solution for collaborative knowledge platforms. It is less popular, but not less ideal, for the development of prototypes and new platforms.
At this year’s Semantic-MediaWiki-Konferenz (SMWCon) in Frankfurt, our Hallo Welt! Technical Manager Markus Glaser talked about this connection between MediaWiki and prototyping. Here are the slides of his presentation.
Markus Glaser started his presentation explaining different forms of prototyping. His introduction was followed by showing MediaWikis richness of functionalities. By combining and expanding these functionalities, you can develop new and very specific applications. MediaWiki already provides a large toolkit, which allows quick adjustments without having to program completely new functions.
The semantic MediaWiki extension packages, which can be used to capture and query metadata, are certainly worth mentioning. Those are very useful, if for example data models are being modeled or user interfaces and operating elements still have to be positioned. Of course BlueSpice for MediaWiki supplies a wide range of options. Responsive skins like Chameleon are the basis for stylish surfaces. And with Lua you have a script language, with which the construction of a page can be designed very dynamically.
That means MediaWiki is an ideal base to build agile new knowledge platforms. The flexibility of MediaWiki means a great advantage in time. You don‘t have to be a programmer to build these prototypes, because a lot of these things can already be done with the integrated tools of MediaWiki. Like this you get a working system at an early stage, with which you can gather important experiences.
Nevertheless users should be aware that, despite the variety of integrated tools, developing a new knowledge platform is always complex and cost-intensive: planning, meetings and adjustments take time. After the development of an alpha or beta version, individual functionalities have to be professionalized and programmed independently.
You might say that the development of a stable productive system takes as much time as the development of the beta version for the first test users. However, the time and the risks of development are significantly reduced with the prototyping based on MediaWiki.
Jason Bock works for a company called DSA, which primarily does IT Support for the US Department of Defense. He is responsible for milWiki, a military enterprise wiki started in 2008 to be an „online internal encyclopedia for the US Department of Defence“. Milwiki is one component of an overall suite of DoD social business tools called milSuite. The milWiki alone supports 400.000 users and contains more than 20.000 articles in more than 7.000 categories.
In 2010 Semantic MediaWiki and later Semantic Forms were introduced to milWiki, which had a major impact on the data integrity.
In his talk at the Enterprise MediaWiki Conference 2016 in New York Jason Bock informed about some social aspects they built into the system also implemented by the functions of Semantic Mediawiki.
- Instead of „normal“ wiki user page there is a template/form with certain fields,
- Minimum information of the user like name, foto, skills, location and some tags to match across users,
- Alternatively, the PageNotice extension can add a template with information on acquired points or badges in the header or footer of the user page.
- Customer wanted to have a rating tool like in TripAdvisor
- Elected to go with the SemanticRating extension which places a form on any wiki page generating a subpage for the rating and the review.
- Implemented an template which shows all ratings and reviews in a list attached to the article
- Calculation from all the ratings on the subpages to get an average score of „stars“
- Introduces elements of gamification to the wiki
- Rewards users for creating, editing and gardening efforts
- Special feature: points for users for each additional author who contributes to a page that user created
- Point calculation shown in a sidebox on user page
Automated User Badges
- Manually badges did not work,
- Automated badging system like in Foursquare and ProjectNoah (National Geographic),
- Rewards participation within specific topic areas,
- Helps to identify the experts for certain topics,
- Tap into Semantic Ratings effort to reward users who receive positive reviews on articles.
At the end of the talk Jason shows some very useful code examples concerning the mentioned social functions.
ASIS GmbH from Landshut works in the area of automation technology. This medium-sized company is focused on surface engineering for the car industry. ASIS develops and produces, amongst other things, painting and grinding finishing systems. They currently have about 120 employees.
I spoke with Jana Timinger, Technical Editor at ASIS GmbH, about how knowledge and quality management have changed as the firm has grown.
Ms Timinger, ASIS has experienced many changes in the last few years. What challenges have these changes brought with them?
We have grown from 70 employees to 120 in just a few years. As well as this, we have two locations, and many members of staff who work a great deal out and about, or at customers’ premises. This means that we always have to consider the question: How we can organise teamwork over these distances properly, for example for projects in which planners from several locations collaborate. Put most generally: How can we keep all members of staff informed of important information on a regular basis, and how can documents be centrally accessible and findable? Our previous data storage structure was not ideal for meeting these challenges.
What made you want to find a system to meet these challenges? And what were your requirements for such a system?
The first thing that set us off was quality management. For this, we had documents in a type of intranet. This was not particularly convenient, and we were not happy with it because things were often filed twice and our members of staff could not access the documents easily. In addition, our technical departments wanted to be able to keep their knowledge centrally so that it was available for everyone in that department, but also for everyone across the company. Word documents disappear too easily and too quickly somewhere on the server – they are not really able to be found again.
Now, our quality management is completely documented in the wiki and we have set up subportals for our individual departments, in which the technical departments can place and stress relevant information and news. Continue Reading