Managing the flow of information both within the IT department and to our customers is one of our greatest challenges in the Office of Technology Information at Valparaiso University. To be successful, IT staff first need to acquire the right information from colleagues to provide excellent service. Then, the staff must determine the most effective way to communicate that information to internal and external customers to encourage the flow of information. To advance the IT department’s goals, how best can we utilize “information” and “communication” vehicles to exchange information, improve workflow, and ultimately communicate essential information to our internal and external customers? We’ve asked ourselves this question and have resolved that “information” and “communication” need to work cooperatively! How better than with a wiki?
Recent changes in departmental structure gave us the opportunity to examine our communication vehicles—specifically the software tools we use to facilitate the flow of information. Our previous knowledge base, First Level Support, a module of the HEAT support software produced by FrontRange Solutions, once met our needs as an internal knowledge base solution. We realized we had outgrown FLS and needed a more robust alternative. Our student employees asked for a newer, more interactive method of sharing information. With the assistance of our UNIX systems administrator, we investigated various options and decided to implement the MediaWikiTM system. As we had anticipated, use of this wiki system reduced the response time a customer must wait for an answer to their inquiry. What we didn’t realize was that utilization of the wiki would meet many more needs than we had anticipated. It has also helped us meet other departmental needs, such as increased collaboration, an online knowledge base, and a training tool for staff. Come see how a sprinkle of pixie dust improved communication through adoption of the wiki, and brought information to the forefront of our operations.
Klein, Rebecca; Smith, Matthew; and Sierkowski, David, "Reduce Response Time: Get "Hooked" on a Wiki" (2007). Information Technology Faculty and Staff Publications. Paper 5.