What can intranet CMSs learn from wikis? A lot.


Two years ago, when we first started marketing ThoughtFarmer, we weren’t quite sure what software category it fell into.

It wasn’t really a CMS. There was no admin/user distinction. There was no workflow. It was built to be open and democratic, not closed and centrally-managed.

But it wasn’t really a wiki, either. There was no wiki markup. No WikiWords. And it had both structure and security.

So we tried branding it as a “Wiki/CMS Hybrid“. We’re still the #1 Google hit for Wiki CMS hybrid, but the term never really took off. It turns out that the only hybrids people are interested in are made by Toyota.

With this background, I enjoyed reading James Robertson’s article today, “What Intranet CMS’s Can Learn From Wikis.” James always comes up with thoughtful, original material about intranets. In this article, James makes 5 good points:

  • Broad engagement in the intranet is necessary for success
  • Intranets should have an “edit this page” button available everywhere
  • Workflow doesn’t work
  • Focus on transparency, not security
  • Intranet teams should aim to create a culture of community and personal involvement in content

James adds that content management vendors can learn a lot from wiki products. Maybe he’s suggesting they hybridize? Hehe.

Today, we say that ThoughtFarmer is inspired by wikis, and that we’re next-generation intranet software. As much as I dislike the baggage that the term “CMS” carries with it, ThoughtFarmer is an intranet CMS. What have we learned from wikis? An awful lot.


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  1. James Dellow

    I think inspired by wikis is a great way of describing it. Remember, wiki is a verb (“edit this page”) as well as a noun. 🙂

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