Friday, June 23, 2006

Socialtext versus Jotspot

Well I worked with both Socialtext and Jotspot. Both systems are Enterprise Wiki's. They have suprised me and buying either one I think is a good idea. There is no reason why I would want to use a primitive wiki like Mediawiki in the organisation. Mediawiki has only one edge over the Jotspot and Socialtext and that is that you have a good centralized user page, where a user can get an overview of what he has done, what has changed and inform others of who he is. Both Socialtext and Jotspot don't have someting like that.

Enterprise wiki's are great because:
  • They center work on a topic around a group of webpages
  • They are easy to use. Socialtext is just a double click on a page
  • They open up information to the entire organization through simple searches
  • Information entered into them for the benefit of the project group is immediately also of benefit to others. So when doing my job, I unintended also help others
  • They enable sending e-mail to and from pages, enabling e-mail repositories and lists of useful links on the relevant page.
  • By sending an e-mail to the relevant project page, you add both metadata to the page and to the e-mail.
  • They are free form, but can be structured
  • If one co-worker doesn't update his page, because of time constraints or just being dead, others can.
  • They can be about such highly critical information as: Best restaurants in Berlin, travel suggestions to Kiev, the latest law and its implications, biographies of important people, a list of insultants, the next project meeting or the office Christmas party, without requiring a central command and control structure.
  • They don't assume where knowledge is in the organization.
The way I tested was. Getting an account, fiddling with them for a week or two and then letting them be for 3 weeks and then fiddling some more and come up with a conclusion. Socialtext was the wiki I showed to colleagues who didn't know what a wiki was and why they would want one. Jotspot was the one I used for colleagues who knew wat a wiki was, but wondered if it was versatile enough. Jotspot was the one that kept me most thinking about what I could do more with it, what kind of apps I would like to develop etc. Socialtext was really the wiki where I thought I would need no formal training for colleagues.

All in all, I would choose Jotspot. But if I would have to buy it for 2000 people, I would seriously request some changes in the software. However if you choose Socialtext you'll be happy to know that for the most part you won't need to think of implementation or user education.

1 comment:

Diane said...

Hi Raindeer - I've used your blog as a good reference point for our own recent collaborative workspace trials. We ended up going with TWiki, but that's another story.

I just wondered what your thoughs are now that Microsoft has acquired SocialText and Google has acquired JotSpot?

Do you have any comment on the relative race for the "Live Desktop" between Microsoft, Google and (I suppose) places like Zoho and ThinkFree, as compared to basic collaboration offered by a wiki?