Here is an excerpt:
...Ross Mayfield, the founder of Socialtext, a firm based in Palo Alto, California, wants to move blogging beyond its usual constituency of teenagers and wide-eyed political activists. His company is taking a novel approach, arguing that blogging might actually be useful in business.
Socialtext makes a corporate version of a wiki—a web page that can be edited by any reader (the word means “quickly” in Hawaiian). Wikis offer a middle ground between e-mail and a conventional web page, which makes them useful for collaborative projects, particularly those involving far-flung teams. Rather than maintaining multiple copies of a document and sharing ideas by e-mail, a wiki allows members of a team to pool their thoughts more easily. Wikis are not particularly new, but are now beginning to demonstrate the potential to replace other forms of groupware.
At first glance, the approach seems like something that couldn't possibly work, but it turns out that the simplest thing often does.
“When I first heard of wikis, I brushed it off as a weird, messy thing that was out of control and never would be useful,” says Peter Morville, head of Semantic Studios, a consultancy in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He now thinks more highly of them, having successfully used them on several projects with clients.
Socialtext takes the wiki concept and adds to it some corporate bullet-proofing. It can be used to create a conventional blog, yes, but more importantly it tracks different versions of documents, so that people working on a project can see each other's changes and go back to earlier versions. It also has administrative tools that allow wiki entries to be viewed and sorted in different ways.
Its important to point our our unique combination of wiki and weblog is what turns what originated as a consumer publishing tool into a solution for communication and collaboration. We have had it in the hands of customers for over a year, evolved it with their requirements and now have a wide base of enthusiastic customers.
Socialtext launched its product at the end of last year, and already has dozens of customers. One example is Soar Technology, a Michigan-based software firm. Jacob Crossman, an engineer at Soar, has been using the Socialtext software for a six-person project. Though there is still room for improvement, he says the software will probably become the collaborative tool of choice at his company. A use for blogging? Perhaps the teenagers are on to something after all.
Since the article was written, Soar expanded its use to the enterprise as a whole. Also be sure to check out Peter Morville's post about how wikis foster trust, a unique characteristic for any kind of software.