As Published In
Oracle Magazine
January/February 2008

From the Editor


Capturing the Enterprise Imagination

By Tom Haunert

Enterprise Web 2.0 collaboration has arrived, and I say 'thank you.'

Web 2.0 has captured the world's imagination. Literally. In a recent TV crime drama, for example, the victims, criminals, and detective work involved online avatars and virtual worlds. I haven't seen or used any avatars in virtual worlds in the workplace (yet), but I've definitely been exposed to some Web 2.0 collaboration on the job. And I have to admit that I haven't always immediately recognized the benefits of Web 2.0, even when they were gift-wrapped and delivered right to me.

I Just Missed It

Recently a coworker e-mailed me about one of my "living documents." In my experience (up to now), to call something a living document has usually been a disclaimer— a description for a document that is at risk of being out-of-date, incomplete, or containing some number of errors due to rapid and recent changes in what's documented, lack of time by the document owner to make updates, or both. This particular living document needed updating for both reasons.

My coworker was letting me know that she had posted my living document— which covered editorial requirements and process— to a new internal wiki here at Oracle. My coworker's generosity came about because she had contributed to earlier versions of this document, so while she was posting other documents to this wiki, she did me the favor of posting my document and making some edits. And I was happy to have her post the document, but my first thought was that I was happy to have her edits— on a document that I'd been meaning to schedule for a formal review and update.

I sent her an e-mail back, thanking her for posting the document to the wiki and then asking if she had any additional suggestions, edits, or updates she wanted to make to my document. Within seconds of clicking "Send," I realized what I had done.

In my pre-Web 2.0 world of static Web pages with one owner/manager and desktop document information silos, asking a past contributor to one of my docs or pages if she had any edit suggestions would have made perfect sense. But she'd just loaded my doc into a wiki to which she and thousands of other people now have direct editing access. I was now in a position to get comments, edits, and additions from a large group of people directly in the new source-of-truth document without formally inviting, planning, and managing edit cycles. In the course of working on Oracle Magazine, I deal with a lot of very formal edit cycles, so while I know I'll still be editing and updating the new wiki content, it's nice to know there's one less formal edit process for which I'll need to search for stakeholders, schedule reviews, e-mail a document (that supports revision tracking), gather the changes from different drafts, reconcile changes, and so on.

So after my coworker-inspired Web 2.0 epiphany, I took a look at the document content in the wiki, and for some reason, it looked better than I remembered. I made some updates, made plans to make some more, pointed some people to it, and asked them for their input (which I won't have to dig out of multiple, revision-controlled documents).

So what I used to call a living document as a disclaimer is now a true living document in the wiki, and it's definitely living much better than it was.

Speaking of Wikis

Next Steps


COLLABORATE
Oracle discussion forums
Oracle Wiki

 READ more about Oracle WebCenter

 LISTEN to Oracle Magazine Feature Casts

In this issue's OTN Bulletin, OTN editor in chief Justin Kestelyn introduces the new, official Oracle Wiki at wiki.oracle.com and invites members of the Oracle community to contribute and update real living documents for and about Oracle and the Oracle community. I echo Justin's invitation, and look forward to collaborating with the Oracle community on wiki content about Oracle Magazine.

More Web 2.0

In "Web 2.0 Meets the Enterprise", Oracle Magazine Senior Managing Editor Caroline Kvitka talks with Vince Casarez, Oracle vice president of product management with a focus on Oracle WebCenter, about Web 2.0 in the enterprise (including wikis, blogs, and instant messaging) and how Oracle WebCenter is helping deliver Web 2.0 to the enterprise today. Check out the interview and listen to the Oracle Magazine Feature Cast.

Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief
tom.haunert@oracle.com



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