MediaWiki is the open source software used (and originally written) to power Wikipedia.

Much of my work involves meeting corporate clients, initiating internal communications audits and diagnosing areas of pain that social software may (or may not) assist with. Once we’ve figured out the pain, we match a software solution to that specific need. This is quite a refreshing approach for most corporates as they’re typically used to speaking to IT consultants (read: reps) who are punting one product as the ‘be all and end all’ solution.

I digress.

We use a number of platforms at the moment. Some examples are Drupal and WordPress. When wiki-type solutions are required I immediately think of JotSpot or SocialText, or a more ‘professional’ and integrated platform like iUpload.

Somehow, somewhere along the line I totally forgot about MediaWiki. This is an incredibly powerful platform that is really starting to find it’s feet in intranet-like corporate applications. Take a look, for example, at this post from Andrew McAfee.

The company involved (an agency called Avenue A | Razorfish) uses MediaWiki to power its intranet – an intranet that supports a 1000 users. Not bad.

HabitazWe have a local (South African) example too. Habitaz, provides funky, progressive office solutions for the mobile workforce, small companies and entrepreneurs. Read more here. I met with their directors the other day and he showed me their internal ‘policies and procedures’ document – a live, organic, MediaWiki-powered intranet. They are loving it and because it is so accessible and intuitive, it makes the orientation process for new staff 100 times quicker and easier than if they had to page through an orientation document.

This is a cost-effective (very), staff-empowering alternative to more traditional / mainstream / commercial collaborative solutions. Don’t discount MediaWiki!