From the Washington Post, and columnist Stephen Barr, column today on the "Agencies Share Information By Taking a Page From Wikipedia" which describes how the OMB (Office of Management and Budget), a staid federal office if ever there was one, has used secured wikis to cut "earmarks" (pet spending projects) in half, per a challenge from President Bush to Congress:
"With the wiki, federal agencies compiled a database of 13,496 earmarks in 10 weeks. In the old days, it would have taken six months to get the information to the OMB."
In the commercial world, we'd call this faster TTM (time-to-market)...
"The wiki also created, in essence, a powerful insiders club, where members are encouraged to engage in collaboration before they arrive at business decisions."
Social networking meets collaboration, at the federal level. "Insiders club" seems to smack of negative overtones, although one would hope that a side-benefit of this project is the breaking down of barriers, such as political party lines, and tending towards "open collaboration" (although of course that's perhaps overly optimistic). Another subtle point of what most (including us, AIIM) are calling Enterprise 2.0 - it's not just about TTM (as above), but can easily be about getting more input, and consensus, as well as getting the outcome with much greater speed.
"The wiki was launched in December 2006 with the prosaic title "Budget Community." By September 2007, the wiki had proved so popular that it was renamed "The MAX Federal Community" to incorporate other government-wide issues and agencies. The MAX in the name refers to the OMB's technology system that agencies use to produce the president's budget."
As happens in many cases of technology use, but even moreso with solutions that tend to have "emergent" properties - early focus (the budget project), ease of use and massive adoption are the keys. And lead to further expansion and adoption as people see more reasons TO use the solution, rather than to NOT.
The article also briefly mentions "Intellipedia" - essentially the Wikipedia (of sorts) of the US Intelligence Community. By all accounts, a resounding success.
Timely article, and well worth a read. Stay tuned for our continuing coverage of Enterprise 2.0 and all of the related technological and cultural issues that are rolled-up under the Enterprise 2.0 umbrella. Free webinar coming up on March 27th on this very topic (brief blog entry or register directly).