Organic Design offers a range of services around setting up wikis for your organisation and helping you use and develop the wiki for document management, collaboration and organisation. This includes the initial set-up of your wiki, administration, development and training as required. Our focus is the adaptation of the software to support additional organisational requirements such as website content management, procedures documentation and record administration. In doing so, we aim to integrate a range of functions into a unified system that can be used to organise projects and businesses in a collaborative way. Please feel free to discuss your requirements with us and to request quotes for services.
- 1 Wiki
- 2 Support
- 3 Server Installation & Administration
- 4 Hosting
- 5 Intranet & LAN
- 6 Why use Organic Design Services?
We can set up and configure a hosted wiki to your requirements. This will allow you to take advantage of all the features of the software that powers Wikipedia, so you can create an internal or public knowledge base around topics of importance to your organisation. For more details, please see Wiki Packages.
Wiki skins for website
Our wiki skinning service allows you to specify what you want your wiki to look like - you can specify any "normal website" design. Then you can continue to manage your documents using the familiar wiki interface and specify which ones are to be displayed on the public website part.
We have developed a technology to allow the mass creation and organisation of records. These could be web enquiry forms, contact management, task tracking, invoicing or a range of other records as required by your organisation. All with the ability to track changes, discuss individual pages and mix casual notes with structured data.
A lot of organisations need further functions in addition to our standard wiki packages, that's where our experienced developers come in. They can help you determine what is needed and develop custom extensions. At Organic Design we've developed many extensions for different clients over the years, and most of these are available freely in the public domain. We maintain some of our extensions in the official MediaWiki repository.
Getting a wiki set up and hosted is a start, but many organisations require some support with staff training, in establishing best practices to make the most of the wiki or to find out how this technology can support their existing business practices and integrate with existing systems.
We have consultants familiar with the challenges of keeping large wiki sites organised and well-structured. This includes monitoring the developing content of client wikis and making adjustments and corrections in accord with established wiki best practices (often based on Wikipedia best practices, adjusted to your requirements). This can also involve the development of custom training sessions, content templates and navigation structures based on a familiarity with how your organisation uses the wiki.
Our consultants have delivered numerous wiki workshops for clients, we can do this online via Skype or IRC, in German and English. By client request we are also able to offer on-site training sessions. Our training covers basic wiki use, advanced wiki concepts and administration as well as wiki organisation as required by your organisation.
Server Installation & Administration
Although our primary focus at Organic Design is wiki organisation, we have a solid set of procedures and practices in place for setting up and maintaining servers to run wikis. Over the years we've developed and refined our server administration to the point where we can quickly and reliably install a complete wiki farm from the ground up based on the Debian Linux operating system. Our server installation procedures allow for rapid deployment of servers which can include the following functionality:
Web server and wiki farm
The basis of the server installation is a procedure which installs all the OS components required to manage a collection of wikis and other PHP web applications. A wiki farm allows new wikis to be set up very easily and configured to share images, configuration settings and extensions. We maintain various packages of functionality which can be installed into wikis quickly and be easily kept up to date, the main package is Wiki Organisation.
Our email set up includes IMAP folder structures for users accessible from their local email client or from webmail. This also includes spam filtering.
IRC server for hosting your organisations own private and/or public chat channels. It's very useful if all members are in a chat channel together when editing or discussing collaborative content. Text-based chat can increase productivity greatly because it allows for a channel of communications to remain open without interfering with peoples ability to work. We use and recommend IRC for use with Wiki Organisation rather than other chat systems because both the server and client software we use are free open source projects, it's run completely in-house, wiki changes and watchlist activity can be sent directly into an IRC channel, and as many channels as needed can be set up and remain as persistent "places to meet".
Our standard server installation includes a backup mechanism which synchronises data across multiple designated locations dynamically as it changes. The system is based on a program called Unison which is extremely fault-tolerant and efficient; it only transfers the information about the changes in files rather than the entire file, and all information is sent through secure-shell connections.
Our servers come with "bots" which run in the background to monitor systems, perform regular automated tasks and notify users of events and other information over email, the organisations IRC channel and in the wikis recent changes. Some examples of bot usage are; checking the site for common spelling or formatting problems, notifying users of errors or statistics, forwarding wiki or file changes to an IRC channel or email.
If a dedicated server is not required, then we can host any of the functionality listed above on one of our servers for you. These prices are POA.
Intranet & LAN
These days many organisations are using wikis internally on their intranets for internal document management and collaboration on projects and work. The procedures we've established for setting up and maintaining external web-servers form a good basis for intranet servers too, but come with some additional requirements, especially when the organisation has servers both internally and externally.
In addition to the procedure used to install and maintain a normal web-server as described in the previous section, a LAN-based server often requires some of the following additional aspects:
- Local email server for internal mail, connecting to external server where necessary
- Local IRC server connecting to external IRC server when available
- Network file server
For organisations that wish to run Linux on their workstations, we have developed a package and procedures similar to those we use to install servers except that our workstations run on Ubuntu Linux instead of Debian Linux. Our workstation package allows us to quickly set up many workstations with a set of applications and configuration we've developed and refined over the years for our own workstations. The installation of workstations can be done either using a standard Ubuntu with an Internet connection, or by booting our Live CD.
Why use Organic Design Services?
We base all our services on free, open source software developed by a worldwide community of experts. This means you only pay for customisation and support of proven and reliable software. We do not charge license fees for software, or ongoing per-user fees for software. Generally there is a setup cost and an hourly rate charged for development and support. That's it!
We will make sure you always have a choice regarding how your organisation uses software to get work done. This means our work complies with standards and we will always make procedures available for you if you wish to administrate the software yourself. Further, our agreements do not include minimum terms or any other kind of lock-in to try and "encourage" our clients to stay. Instead, we focus on delivering quality services and maintaining good communications with our clients.
Simplicity and integration
We have years of experience in integrating a range of IT systems using wiki organisation. In doing so, we strive to simplify and cut through the clutter, making the system robust and easy to use. When developing something like a procedure, we aim to make it as complex as necessary, while keeping it as simple as possible. This is in alignment with the "wiki philosophy", which despite a somewhat simple and casual approach has resulted in the creation of one of the most popular, sizeable and relevant websites on the internet - Wikipedia. We embody that philosophy in everything we do.
Join the Web 2.0 revolution
Everyone is talking about the collaborative Internet, "Web 2.0" and many organisations sense great opportunity in creating a collaborative culture. Yet this can remain an elusive and subtle goal to achieve. We have used the Web 2.0 tools to create a collaborative organisation ourselves and can assist organisations in the use of these tools to do the same. This is far more than just getting the tools for collaboration in place, it also includes the supporting processes and organisational culture, things we have been developing for years.