DRESDNER KLEINWORT WASSERSTEIN USES WIKI FOR COLLABORATION
In business, many decision strategies and much of the creative process are the result of
groupwork. Groupwork allows an organization to maximize the talents and efforts of all team
members. The world has seen a steady rise in corporate globalization as team members are
located in multiple locations, in different time zones, and sometimes communicating in different
languages. A collaboration communication tool that improves communication and work
methodologies among its members is the competitive advantage solution of any global company
trying to sustain its business today.
Organizations have found that group collaboration can also lower costs, increase
productivity among its employees, and form creative thoughts to be more innovative. Nowadays,
complex decisions are often created through groupwork. On this paper, our group analyzes
collaborative computer-supported technologies and group support systems, specifically Dresdner
Keinwort Wassertein's (DrKW's) old and new collaboration tools. In addition, we also analyze
Wiki collaboration tool in detail since it is DrKW's solution of its limitations of the old
REAL-TIME COLLABORATION TOOLS
There are many real-time collaboration tools that help organizations deal with time and
space issues on projects, such as Electronic, Video and Web Teleconferencing, Interactive
Whiteboards, Screen Sharing, and Instant Video. Electronic teleconferencing facilitates live
synchronized communication between two or more people that are in different locations while
Video teleconferencing has many other applications in addition to the electronic
teleconferencing. For example, it transmits business meetings, teaching classes since it can be
saved as an electronic record of events, and it has been used to interview job applicants. A lower-
priced alternative to Video teleconferencing is a Web conferencing because it is transmitted over
the internet and can be viewed by thousands of people at one time.
An interactive whiteboard is a groupware tool that allows multiple groups to access
identical information that is posted instantaneously. Screen sharing is a software application that
permits group members to work on a common project at the same time with the ability to change
the project. In addition, it allows other members of the group can see these changes on their
computer screens right away. Instant video is like a live chat room with picture and sound via IM
software similar to Skype telephony a popular peer-to-peer communications service. As
technology evolves, new collaborative tools have become available, such as VOIP, Collaborative
Work flow, Web 2.0, Wikis, Collaboration Hubs, Collaborative Networks, Corporate
WIKI COLLABORATION TOOL
A Wiki is a piece of server software available at a Web site that allows users to freely
create and edit Web page content through a Web browser (Efraim, 2010). The first wiki was
created in 1995 by Ward Cunningham was called WikiWikiWeb and was installed on the
internet domain c2.com. He chose the term wiki after the Wiki-Wiki bus system in Honolulu,
Hawaii, as an alternative to the word "quick". The term "Wiki" means "quick" or "to hasten" in
Wikis are a powerful tool to help facilitate groupwork and collaboration. Wikis allow
multiple users to contribute to groupwork by being able to work in real time to organize and edit
the content. It also allows documents to be written collectively using a very simple markup tool.
Wikis allow users to work on single page or to link multiple pages together. One of the best
attributes of wikis is the document management features that are available. Wikis allow group
leaders to organize people into groups and monitor document history, content, and contributions
from each of the group members. Wikis are used as a depository for various files and pages, and
save documents at multiple stages so that users can go back to previous versions to see what
changes have been made and by whom.
For this project, our group created a wiki on www.wikispaces.com. This website provides
limited working wikis for free. We were able to create the main page online and we each had the
ability to login to the wiki and edit the pages of our report. The wiki management tools were
rather robust. The features included the ability to invite members to work on the wiki, the ability
to add files, a discussion board, and a messaging feature. It also has a history tab to show all the
changes made to the wiki. Additionally, it gave us the ability to view previous versions of the
documents as well as what changes were made between versions.
Some of the major drawbacks of the wiki were the text editing tool. It is not as powerful
as Microsoft Word and many of the formatting features are limited. However, the good news is
that it is adequate to get all the information into one document and when we were done, all we
had to do was copy the information into Word to finish the final formatting and editing.
Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DrKW) is an international investment bank that is a
part of Dresdner Bank. With headquarters in Europe, Frankfurt, and London, DrKW provides
capital markets and advisory services. Some of the services include providing risk management
solutions, structured finance for funding of large-scale projects, and listing companies that wish
to go on market. With 6000 employees, its offices are located in many different locations, such
as New York, Paris, Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Having such a large geographical
distribution and diverse culture of its members, DrKW required a means for the employees to
communicate with each other more efficiently.
Collaborative tools such as blogs, chat, conferencing, and wiki were used. Before 1997,
Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein was using different software packages operating side by side for
content management and group communication (Documentum, Media Surface, and MS
FrontPage). Among the different group communication software, Microsoft Sharepoint was
DrKW's most popular collaboration tool. However, this system was cumbersome since it often
restricted data instead of making it transparent for the other employees and not very well
integrated into the company. As a result, the company searched for a better collaboration tool
that could improve communication among its different locations and business groups.
In 1997 J.P. Rangaswami, Dresdner's global chief information officer (CIO) backed
open-source software for the OS and the servers for DrKW (43% of the UNIX user base is on
Linux) to save money. On that year, DrKW started using MS SharePoint along with their first
wiki as a group decision support system, but at that time, their IT department was only using it.
Some of the popular uses for the wiki were to manage meetings, brainstorming and publishing,
and create presentations. As management noticed that the wiki was highly successful in IT
department, they wanted their business people to be a part of wiki so that they can create a
platform on which both the IT and the business people could communicate and collaborate.
By December 2003 after 3 years of IT budget and staff cutting, approximately by 43% for
each, technology had allowed them to do more with less. With a smaller operating budget, CIO
Rangaswami was demanding from the vendors plug-in-play products rather than the traditional
software of customize and implementation. Additionally, while the competition was outsourcing
the routine tasks, he found that it cost more money than keeping the work in house because of
the attrition rates that were running at 40 to 50 percent and the additional supervision costs.
Many companies were also looking for solutions to “the email blow-off factor” (deleted and
unread emails because of excessive span) on company computers, cell phones, and blackberries
that was happening to all of them. After DrKW announced their Socialtext wiki plan an “Internet
research firm Gartner Group predicts that wikis will become mainstream collaboration tools in at
least 50% of companies by 2009” (business week Nov.28, 2005).
1. What capabilities of a wiki are not available in e-mail?
Wikis are a collaboration tool that allows users to collaborate with other members on the site
with many more features that email does not provide. Unlike email that focuses more on
communicating and transferring files among specific addressees, wiki improves communications
in more collaborative way and is a space for the publishing of key information among its users
since it allows users to swap among different modes of communications (e.g. blog, intranet,
instant messenger) on a single platform.
A wiki provides an instant editable collaboration platform that allows users to view, edit,
publish, and store information. Therefore, it provides a medium for brainstorming ideas,
developing a document or meeting agenda, collaboratively forming presentation ideas or slides,
and storing important information. Wiki’s users are able to develop the ideas, put them into an
outline, assemble the content, edit, and publish information on a single page. Therefore, it
replaces the traditional way of sending countless numbers of emails with different versions of
data that ends up cluttering up email inboxes and confusing the users.
In addition to the collaboration feature, wiki users can store commonly used information,
such as best practice guidelines, FAQs, and cheat-sheets, on wiki space. This storage feature
benefits wiki users in many ways. First, it provides up-to-date guidelines for new and existing
employees. Since all of the wiki users can view and update the content, the data stored in wiki
can be utilized as a training tool for all of the employees. Second, the storage function reduces
operational risks when employees leave the company. Succeeding employees can find and
continue the previous employees' works if they happen to save them on wiki space.
Since wiki users are able to publish information, they are able to give instant feedback on
the content of what other users have uploaded, this motivates the group to collaborate more in
order to produce the best quality works. Furthermore, users often publish the status of their
projects asynchronously from different locations on wiki space. As a result, it reduces the length
of time in a traditional meeting because the time is not wasted at every meeting on relaying the
status of the project to its members. Therefore, management can utilize the time to discuss more
important issues during meeting such as, discussing problems, solving issues, and developing
2. Describe the applications of wikis in finance and operations.
Operations & IT
A wiki is used to improve communication and collaboration among its users which lead
to higher efficiency, productivity, and creativity, in turn this will achieve more desirable
outcomes. Since users can publish and edit wiki content, a wiki improves intra-team
communication by providing a medium to collect resources within the team. Furthermore, wikis
are a web based collaboration tool and global wiki users are able to share the internal wiki
application across different locations. For example, wiki users in Europe can access the wiki via
eu.socialtext.net with the help of a Socialtexts new European proxy server, this improved the
wiki loading speeds in Europe, while wiki users in London can access the same wiki the way the
rest of the world does though Socialtexts website at www.socialtext.net.
The wiki facilitates open communication among all of its users and provides a friendly
forum for exchanging ideas, stimulating debates, and generating great ideas. All of wiki users are
able to voice their ideas by publishing it on the wiki. Unlike in the regular meeting, shy wiki
users feel less intimidated to voice their opinion on wiki space since they do not need to stand up
and face all of the meeting attendees while sharing their idea. The wiki also creates friendlier
forum to share important information to the rest of the users. For example, linking an important
live website to other wiki users is a lot easier, friendlier, and less formal compared to attaching
suggested site onto a document and sending it to a specific users via email.
The wiki collaboration feature also allows users to publish the status on what they are
working on to the rest of the users. As a result, it improves productivity and team coordination
since everyone from different locations can see the status of what everyone else is working on.
The storage feature on wiki allows company to keep and share best practice guidelines, internal
jargon, and a cheat sheet among the rest of the employees. Therefore, it can be used as training
tool as it provides resources for day to day employee operation.
A wiki can also help users to manage meetings. First, the wiki increases the effectiveness
of developing a meeting agenda. Users can keep an archive of old agendas and use them to create
new ones by using duplicate page function. Therefore, they do not need to create the agenda
from scratch whenever there is a meeting. Then management can use the email page function to
draw attention about the proposed agenda to all of the wiki users and get their inputs. Second, a
meeting organizer can put the agenda in wiki for everyone else to view rather than distributing
them through hard copies or emails them to all meeting attendees. Third, management can use
wiki to collect materials for meetings. Since meeting attendees can upload their parts on wiki and
edit the layout of the content collaboratively, wiki speeds up the meeting coordinators' effort on
putting together meeting materials. Now the meeting organizer does not need to wait for
everyone to submit his or her parts through an email before putting it all together manually.
Besides creating a forum to share ideas, the wiki collaboration tool also strengthens
existing business relationships among employees, especially among employees who have never
met face-to-face. By communicating through a wiki, wiki users have build a rapport with the rest
of the employees from different levels, departments, and locations. In addition, the history
function of wiki allows company to retain complete audit trail of any material posted on the site.
As many business professionals become more comfortable with utilizing a wiki, users predict the
future benefits of wikis as a medium to discuss contracts, negotiate contracts with clients, update
contact information and other related business permanent info.
3. How does DrKW’s wiki increase employee productivity?
Since a wiki provides open forum where users can share, edit, publish email
conversations, presentations, reports, and documents, it improves communications and
collaboration of all of DrKW’s employees. By using WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)
editor function, the wiki users have an editing interface that can change the data uploaded in the
wiki with similar editing features as found on MS Word and Excel spreadsheets. Therefore, it
encourages more users’ participation and collaboration since wiki users can get an instant
feedback from the rest of the wiki users, which leads to increase productivity.
DrKW wiki users can also publish status update on what they are working on.
Consequently, a project coordinator will be able to coordinate the team more efficiently and plan
follow up actions that need to be done to finish up the projects. Before wiki, project status
updates usually become the basis of the traditional weekly teleconference. Rather than spending
a lot of time getting project status updates, management can focus more on solving problems,
looking into solutions, being innovative, and planning the next steps during the meeting.
Lastly, wiki’s capability to publish key information and store best practice guidelines, frequently
asked questions, and company’s jargon are also used by DrKW as an informal training tool. This
feature allows users to post questions, quickly get answer from their questions, and look up
4. How does DrKW’s wiki help with foreign languages and training?
Since the wiki provides an instant editable collaboration platform that allows wiki users
from different locations to publish general information or company’s internal jargon, ask
question, and exchange ideas, the wiki can be used as an effective and efficient training tool for
new and existing employees. Similarly, wiki also offers a medium for wiki users to learn foreign
language. Unlike traditional textbooks, it allows users to create and collaboratively edit web
pages using text, video, sound, and pictures while learning foreign language (Italki.com, 2008).
In addition, since diverse groups of wiki users are capable of editing the content, individual wiki
users are able to find information not only in the popular language but also in a less popular one.
Italki is one example of the free, user-generated language-learning textbooks that utilizes wiki
Groupwork is an integral function of an organization and it is becoming more vital with
the increase in globalization for firms. As shown in this paper, it is important for organizations to
continue to use collaborative tools, such as wikis, to help them increasing efficiency and
effectiveness and while reducing costs. The DrKW case is a great example of how this could be
done. Our group utilized a wiki at wikispaces.com to work together on this paper and our
PowerPoint presentation. We were able to work on one document for the paper. We were able to
go to one location to see the history of who worked on the document and what changes they
made. We were also able to keep a history of older versions. We were able to see all email
correspondence in one place and utilize a discussion board. We were also able to post files.
While there are some challenges and an initial learning curve to using a wiki, overall it is a great
tool for group work.
1) Decision Support and Business Intelligence Systems 9th Edition, Turban, Efraim, Sharda,
Ramesh, Delen, Dursun 2010.
2) Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Case Study
www.socialtext.com/files/...DrKW Case Study.pdf
3) Italki.com. 2008. Foreign Language Education Wiki Makes Language Learning Free for