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Canasta: a comfy home for your data.
Canasta is a distribution of MediaWiki - that's the software used to power Wikipedia and tens of thousands of other wikis. But it does much more than you can do on Wikipedia. With Canasta, you can easily create custom forms to store even complex data - then query that data in tables, charts, calendars, maps and so on. And it comes pre-defined with a variety of "packages" for individual use cases (project management, BPM, CRM, etc.), so that in many cases you don't need to create data structures from scratch. (Although you can easily modify these pre-defined packages to fit your needs.)
Fully open-source
Canasta is fully open-source, making use of MediaWiki and over 100 of its extensions and skins, to provide a complete, well-tested knowledge management package.
Stretch to fit — software that works with you, not against you
Off-the-shelf software makes a lot of guesses as to your organization's data needs. For task management, for example, should a task be assigned to a single person, one or more people, or a pre-defined group? Every such guess may be wrong for your organization - which means that you either have to live with the awkwardness, modify your processes to fit the software, or try to modify the software itself - which can be an expensive proposition, if it's even possible. With Canasta, on the other hand, data structures are easy to customize and re-create entirely; there's no need to try to work around the software.
From common tasks to uncommon ones
Of course, this assumes that the software even exists. For common tasks like project management, there are hundreds of reliable solutions. For slightly less common tasks like hardware asset management, there may a few dozen solutions. But for everything else - say, a company wanting to keep track of its legal boilerplate wording - there may not be a single solution available that fits the company's needs. At that point, you could try to generate your own software (a pricey option) or just store the data within spreadsheets or other documents (an inefficient and error-prone option). But with Canasta, you can simply create the data structure for it - specifying the fields needed and so on - and then the data becomes part of the system, queriable alongside everything else.
Connected — break down your information silos
This brings us to another enormous advantage of Canasta: having multiple knowledge and data sets (perhaps even all of them) in one place. Canasta is the opposite of a data silo: you can keep adding more data sets to it, and that data becomes accessible through a single login, with the ability to do cross-querying, aggregation and so forth of all the data sets together. You can even use Canasta as an "integration hub", displaying data from other sources, such as APIs and relational databases.
Single source of truth
Having a "single source of truth" has become an essential aspect of data management. With Canasta, this idea is built in to the software: generally, each entity gets its own page, whether it's an employee, a task, an "asset", a document, and so on. In this way, you can avoid data redundancy, and make it easy to find any specific piece of data. You can then query this data from any other page: in other words, define it once, use it everywhere. Additionally, Canasta lets you query outside data, such as data from databases and APIs - so that data stored elsewhere does not have to be duplicated locally, again allowing for a single source of truth.
Version history — a permanent record for all of your content
Finally, Canasta is a wiki. That means that there's a version history of everything - every document, every piece of data, every form, and so on - making it easy to revert changes, which in turn allows you to open up editing to as many people as you want, without fear that someone will delete or mess up some piece of data.
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