Knowledge Management Tools
Knowledge sharing is the act of exchanging information, skills, and expertise between individuals, teams, communities, or organizations. This can be supported by knowledge management (KM) systems or knowledge repositories.
Knowledge sharing is difficult to measure, yet it is critical to the success of any organization and results in better business outcomes. It can be enabled through the use of technology, positive workplace culture, and incentives. Ultimately, it strives to optimize knowledge flow so that the right people can get the right knowledge at the right time. This fosters better decision making and cultivates an environment ripe for innovation.
“The knowledge that we consider knowledge proves itself in action. What we now mean by knowledge is information in action, information focused on results.”
There are numerous techniques for KM. Here are five of the most popular ones:
1. After-Action Review:
After the conclusion of a project, an after-action review is conducted to assess the efficacy of everything that happened. It provides a forum for open discussion between team members and team leaders, enabling all to learn from the experience.
2. Knowledge Audit:
Knowledge auditing is a systematic process to identify an organization’s knowledge needs, resources, and flows.
3. Knowledge Harvesting:
This is a tool that captures expertise within the organization so that it can be preserved regardless of personnel.
4. Knowledge Mapping:
Knowledge mapping is a process that helps participants to discover the location, ownership, value, and applications of knowledge. It describes knowledge flow patterns and identifies constraints and bottlenecks in that flow.
5. Mind Maps:
Mind maps are basically just notes, but with keywords and images instead of long text passages. They are easy to make, remember, and review.
A good KM tool enables all of these techniques and makes it easy to continually learn and improve.
What are Knowledge Management Tools?
Knowledge management tools are systems that organizations use for sharing information both internally and externally. Customer relationship systems like HubSpot, learning management systems like LearnUpon, and knowledge bases like Wikipedia can all be considered KM tools.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools:
CRM tools help marketing, sales, and customer service to track prospects and manage customer relationships. All interactions are securely logged so that there is full visibility into where a customer is in the buying cycle. These interactions might include things like email opens, form fills, and sales calls.
Learning management systems (LMS):
LMS tools standardize and templatize the employee onboarding process. Typically they are used by big organizations that need a way to disseminate training programs and educational resources online.
Knowledge bases are searchable directories with informational content. They can be internal (intranets) or external (Wikipedia).
When implementing a KM tool in your organization, you should consider what kind of information to collect, what processes to develop, how to drive adoption, how to manage knowledge assets in the long term, and finally, what technology will support those objectives.
Benefits of Knowledge Management Tools
The benefits of using a knowledge management tool are numerous, but can be difficult to quantify. Here are a few of the main benefits:
Finding relevant information quickly.
When faced with issues and tasks, team members can access and search a repository of information for resources to support those activities. That way, they can make decisions and respond to problems faster.
Reusing ideas, templates, presentations, etc.
It’s important for everyone to have access to the effective processes that have already been developed. If something already exists, there is no need to reinvent the wheel — organizations should make it as easy as possible to recycle existing ideas. That way, costly rework can be avoided.
Leveraging existing expertise.
Particularly in large enterprise organizations, people don’t know what they don’t know. With a KM tool, they can more easily access the insights and experiences of others to get a solution framework.
Consistency is important, especially in highly regulated industries. KM tools disseminate information to every person in the organization, providing repeatable procedures that make it easier to support audit and compliance.
Accelerating software delivery.
Over time, knowledge sharing reduces time to value and gets products and features into the hands of customers faster.
Knowledge Management Tools
API Blueprint is an open source high-level API description language for web APIs. It can be used to quickly design and prototype APIs to be created, or document and test already deployed APIs.
Bloomfire is a secure knowledge engagement platform that allows teams to find information fast. Users can upload content in any format (including word documents, PDFs, videos, audio recordings, and slide decks) or create new content directly in the cloud-based platform. Bloomfire deep indexes every word in every file--including words spoken in videos.
Confluence by Atlassian is content collaboration software that works in conjunction with Jira and other Atlassian products. Features include document management, pre-built templates, and file versioning.
Discourse is modern forum software written with Ember.js and Ruby on Rails. It can be used as a mailing list, discussion forum, and long-form chat room. Its features include infinite scrolling, live updates, expanding links, drag and drop attachments, tags, groups, and more.
Document360 is a self-service knowledge base software that assists you in educating your customers about your product while lowering your support costs. You can easily generate rich documentation and a knowledge base for your offers (both internal and external) with Document360. It offers a world-class authoring experience and can be tailored to meet the demands of small to large-scale businesses. You may manage various project documentation, configure numerous users, and examine analytics to help you maintain your knowledge base content fresh and relevant with simple configuration features.
Flarum is a free, open source PHP forum system. It is fully responsive and touch optimized, with a streamlined two-pane interface for a better user experience. Its features include infinite scrolling, customizable color themes, moderation tools, and search.
Github Pages is a free static site hosting service. It allows developers to turn their Github repositories into websites to showcase their portfolios, projects, and documentation.
Graphviz is open source graph visualization software. It takes descriptions of graphs in a simple text language and outputs diagrams in useful formats like SVG and PDF. It has many useful features for concrete diagrams, such as options for colors, fonts, tabular node layouts, line styles, hyperlinks, and custom shapes.
Guru is one central repository for knowledge cards that allows creation, sharing, access, and updating information. It keeps data up-to-date using verification by a group or individual that owns or manages the knowledge. Guru provides search functions to find cards and add them to favorites. The tagging interface links cards from multiple collections into thematic groupings.
Hugo is an open source static site generator that prioritizes speed, ease of use, and easy configuration. It features robust content management, shortcodes, built-in templates, and allows for custom outputs like JSON or AMP.
Jekyll is a simple, blog-aware static site generator. Users must first create their content as text files, organize them into folders, then build the site shell using Liquid-enhanced HTML templates. At that point, Jekyll can automatically stitch the content and templates together, generating a complete, static website ready to be served by Apache, Nginx or another web server. Jekyll is also the engine behind GitHub Pages.
Knowmax is a knowledge management tool for enterprises that provides better customer service at digital as well as assisted channels. Its features include decision trees, visual how-to guides, chatbots, and analytical insights.
Notion is the all-in-one workspace that combines notes, docs, project management, and wikis — and makes them all customizable. This software, along with several more advanced features, can be enjoyed for free, making it an extremely accessible tool. An important aspect of this software is the ability to reference existing content within itself.
The OpenAPI Initiative (OAI) is an open governance structure under the Linux Foundation. It focuses on creating, evolving, and promoting a vendor-neutral description format for API services.
ProProfs Knowledge Base is a user-friendly tool that offers a 360-degree knowledge management solution. Small businesses and enterprises can use this tool to build a public or private knowledge base for their customers and employees, respectively. It can also be used to create help centers, FAQs, help sites, manuals, guides, and documentation.
Some of its key features include professionally-designed templates, rich online editor, Google-like search, single sign-on, built-in reporting system, user management, roles and permissions, and many others.
This software works well with sibling tools - ProProfs Help Desk and Live Chat. It also integrates seamlessly with third-party software such as Zendesk, Freshdesk, Google Analytics, and Google Translate, to name a few. These powerful integrations enhance the capability of this tool, making it even more useful for businesses.
RESTful API Modeling Language (RAML) is a YAML-based modeling language to describe RESTful APIs. It is easier to read and understand than other formats like XML or JSON. RAML can be used to implement interactive PAI consoles, generate documentation, describe an API you are planning to build, and more.
Read the Docs simplifies software documentation by automating the building, versioning, and hosting of documents. It is free and supports multiple versions.
Scribe is a knowledge-sharing platform that automatically creates step-by-step guides from a workflow you complete, converting your clicks and keystrokes into written steps and screenshots. Scribe allows you to share guides with individuals via a link, share with teams in a library, or embed in an existing wiki or help center.
Slab provides a user-friendly platform for taking notes that can be arranged into topics and subtopics with the ability to include media and links within notes to create an easy way to author and share documentation with team members and clients. It also has an intuitive UI, solid integration list, and easy collaboration.