The old way wasn't working for Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DrKW), the Europe-based investment banking division of Dresdner Bank. As the company expanded into new markets and became more decentralized, it felt its project management software and e-mail couldn't meet its communication and organizational needs. That's when it decided to take a chance on a relatively new technology known as a wiki, a type of Web site that allows users to add and edit content in real time.
DrKW started its first wiki in 1997, well before anyone was using the term in a corporate setting. Since then the company has found many uses for the application. Its design team uses it to track the completion of its Web-based projects in real time. And a wing of the bank's equity financing team uses a wiki to supplement e-mail, eliminating the need to sift through inboxes.
While the blog is still center stage, wikis are gearing up to be the new starlet on the corporate technology scene. This comes as no surprise to Cunningham, who sees the corporate infrastructure changing to accommodate wikis.
"We're less about manufacturing these days as we are about intellectual property, about knowledge," Cunningham says. "The rise of wikis says more about how companies will be organized and how they will distribute work than anything about technology."
"For project management, there are some high-end managers that are building ballparks and skyscrapers that need a lot more complexity," Norton says. "But for those of us who are managing projects day-to-day, it's a great solution."
For legal departments that are used to a rigid hierarchical structure, getting used to wikis' democratic environment may be a hurdle. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of allowing others to modify information.