Knowledge Management: A Guide To Knowledge Management & Tools

Published on 27/05/2020 by Anna Hammond and Caroline Rousseau

Knowledge management is a concept many companies tend to overlook, simply due to a lack of awareness of what it is. It refers to the collating of internal company information to be made available to all departments and employees in one place at the same time.

Knowledge management

Knowledge management tools can be hugely beneficial in streamlining information storage and sharing for businesses, especially those with varied departments that use different tools and resources. 

In this article, we will outline the key advantages of knowledge management and share three of the best software options that deliver on this.

What is a knowledge management tool?

Before we dive in, let’s clarify the nature and function of knowledge management tools. The tool comprises a secure platform which lists all files containing company knowledge: PDFs, videos, procedures, presentations, etc.

A good tool will offer an efficient search engine, the possibility of classifying resources in a logical and structured manner, and different levels of authorisation and access. Some even integrate a text editor to create and modify files natively to avoid multiplying the software used.

The benefits of knowledge management tools

Knowledge management tools are useful for companies and their teams in a number of ways, but here are the main, notable benefits:

Centralise information

Knowledge management fundamentally bridges divides between departments, so everyone can benefit from shared access to the same information. Did you know, according to research, the time employees spend searching for files costs companies on average over AUD$10,000 per employee per year?

Knowledge management tools reduce the time spent desperately searching for that specific PDF file on that specific server. With this tool, all information is in one place and is logically structured. It’s a particular time-saver for employees who, for example, need to respond to customers quickly or track down information from a different department. 

Maintain knowledge acquired over the years

The way you work and the platforms you use within your business naturally evolve along with new trends and technological innovations. At times, employees may be using a version of something that is already out of date until it is updated business-wide. But with knowledge management, all employees have access to the latest version of the same information. This also safeguards from losing information when an employee departs.

Train current employees and newcomers

Knowledge management standardises the development of skills for current employees and the training of new recruits by giving everyone the opportunity to share their knowledge on a single platform. This centralisation and optimisation of knowledge allow teams to train and inform themselves more easily. Permanent access to this increases the learning capacity of newcomers who no longer depend only on training, as well as that of employees who may have changed departments. 

3 knowledge management tools 

We have selected three tools that meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum overall rating of 4/5 on GetApp
  • A high number of reviews
  • Free trial version
  • Proposes knowledge management directly for the internal (the collaborators), not just for the external (the customers).

The software is listed in alphabetical order.

Freshdesk

  • Overall rating: 4.5 / 5 (2,167 reviews)
  • Price: from $30 per user / month

Freshdesk’s knowledge management tool allows for the collecting, accessing and sharing of knowledge within an organisation, regardless of its size. It compiles articles enriched with multimedia content which are shareable in various languages, as well as collects user comments and defines authorisation levels.

It lists the questions and problems most frequently asked by customers and helps to standardise responses. Resolution time is thus reduced and employees can focus on more complex or new tasks. You can also translate a customer email detailing a solution into an article and share with the wider company.

Freshdesk knowledge management tool
Freshdesk Knowledge Base Screen Capture (Source)

Key features:

  • Multimedia content
  • Translation management
  • Reporting
  • Email integration
  • Collecting comments
  • Access control

Read more

SharePoint

  • Overall rating: 4.2 / 5 (2,801 reviews)
  • Price: from $8 per user / month
Microsoft Sharepoint knowledge management
SharePoint screenshot (Source)

SharePoint is Microsoft’s answer to knowledge management. Productivity is at the centre of the tool: the user benefits from practical functionalities such as notifications, approvals and libraries. The content also adapts to the user and offers suggested articles of interest. Plus an advanced and multilingual search function allows you to find information simply and quickly.

Naturally, the tool integrates easily into the Office suite and so allows you to work on the same article from several devices.

Key features:

  • Search engine
  • Collaborative workspace
  • SSL security
  • Classification in categories and subcategories
  • Access control
  • Reporting

Read more

Zendesk

  • Overall rating: 4.4 / 5 (2,365 reviews)
  • Price: from $8 per user / month
Zendesk knowledge management
Zendesk screenshot (Source)

Zendesk offers Zendesk Guide, which you can personalise to your needs: internal knowledge management, IT knowledge base, knowledge management for customer support agents, or FAQ directly accessible by customers.

Designed as a self-service portal, the tool will not only save time and energy but also offer teams the same access to shared information. Employees can, therefore, be more efficient and spend significantly less time on recurring problems, increasing customer satisfaction.

It can also centralise all information relating to human resources, which is a comfort for employees consulting sensitive information.

Key features:

  • Email integration
  • Communication with clients
  • Multimedia content
  • Content history
  • Automatic archiving
  • Access control

Read more

Knowledge management tools provide hugely helpful resources for organisations to centralise information and unify multiple collaborators and departments.

Looking for knowledge management software? Check out our catalogue

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.


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