Wiki Could Have Saved School $250K

Here’s an interesting story from the US:

"At Cobb County school system in Georgia a spam filter is causing a political dust-up.

Officials say a bid to provide telephone services to the system was gobbled up by the filter, and the bidder was subsequently disqualified, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The term "long distance" was apparently what triggered the block.

The school system had requested an e-mail as a follow-up to the formal bid, which had previously been submitted on paper. When they didn’t see the reply, officials dismissed the bidder and awarded the contract to another–more expensive–contractor. Now the bidder and the school system are arguing over whose fault it was." (source: Blogma)

Here’s a wonderful showcase that calls for a wiki.  What’s a wiki? Well, basically it’s very simply editable web-pages that facilitate collaboration – but instead of me explaining, why don’t you watch this  excellent short video .

So what could the school district have done?  Set up separate wiki pages for each participating vendor where they directly upload all relevant documentation.  If they make changes, the wiki keeps track of versions and shows what the changes are.  School district officials who have a role in the decision-making process have access to all vendor pages, so they can compare the bids, plus they can set up their own internal workpages where the create notes, discussions, tables .. i.e. collaborate easily.

At the end of the process they have one compact site, the wiki that includes the official bids as well as all supporting documentation instead of hundreds of emails, cc’s, untrackable attachments.

Wikis are one of the many extra "goodies" that will become available to Winweb customers in the near future.

(Parts of this article have been posted on my personal blog)

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