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BlueSpice MediaWiki vs. Confluence – the wiki alternatives (1)

Soccer image Germany Argentina
Sharing knowledge: One goal – different strategies. Image: Germany and Argentina face off in the final of the World Cup 2014 von Danilo Borges/ Licença Creative

In this two-part article, we give a detailed comparison of the wiki top dog MediaWiki and Confluence.

We already wrote a few words about MediaWiki and Confluence some years ago. At that time, we wrote about the main objections to MediaWiki.

That article is still worth reading and remains largely valid. Ultimately the key argument then was that the choice of tool did not depend only on features, but also on the concept behind the software. This is a timeless truth.

However, MediaWiki does not need to fear a direct feature comparison. Importantly, the enterprise distribution BlueSpice has already decided the feature question in my view. This can be seen on our newest internal feature-comparison table, published here and offered for free download:

This publication is a good chance to detail the differences and similarities of the two projects comprehensively and systematically. Continue Reading

Increase the efficiency of queries and results with the search extension BlueSpice Service Center

document_searchOne of the main tasks for a service center (also service desk or call center) and the support staff is to find the right answer to customer issues. It implies a detailed documentation, which is searchable by the service employees. If you realize a documentation platform with a search portal in a wiki, the standard search may turn out to be not sufficient and fast enough. Wildcards, categories and facets for defining search terms help to limit an extensive search result but it takes a lot of time.

If you are a service employee you know that answers are required very quickly. Especially IT departments often use ticket systems, where also service employees look for answers. But a ticket system is meant to document and control actual problems and tasks. If you are looking for an answer to an issue that has been solved before – you are lost in the system. Those are documented in “closed tickets” and browsing them costs time and nerves, due to the fact that the search engine in ticket systems is mostly insufficient. Furthermore a standing alone ticket system is not very suitable for a proper documentation.

This is the reason why BlueSpice for MediaWiki offers the opportunity to define search portals in the wiki. This helps giving quick and relevant answers.

Let’s have a look at a typical scenario of BlueSpice Sevice Center:

An incoming call has to be recorded and classified by an agent. In the wiki, typical issues are recorded and predefined. In addition to the possibility of using the standard search, the agent can jump directly into the search portal and use one of the predefined searches. Every subtopic has its own search field there. Below the search mask, the agent will find the top 5 of the most viewed pages within the subtopic.


Predefined search fields
Predefined search fields (please click for a detailed view)

If the appropriate page for the required answer is not listed in the top 5, he can use the search mask. It provides a full-text search and all pages of the defined category will be browsed for relevant results. If the search is not successful, he can still use the extended search or jump into another search portal with another subtopic.

This procedure is quick and efficient, but implies a structured documentation with categories and page templates. Due to this, the agent is able to find the exact number, sentence or instruction within an article.

To get more accurate search results, a system of products and categories needs to be defined in advance, to efficiently predefine the search portals. You can do this within your team or with help of an experiences external consultant like the Hallo Welt! – Medienwerkstatt.

Of course, Service Center also makes sense for other areas of application, too. E.g. it is very useful having those search portals in wikis with a lot of content – users can search more efficiently by reducing the time they need for finding information and raising the accuracy of matches.