How To Select the Best Knowledge Management System for You

6 min read

A knowledge management system is a tool your business uses to organize and utilize all of your company’s knowledge assets. Simply put, this is how you can control your knowledge base.

Often, companies have hundreds, or even thousands, of knowledge articles for their agents, teams, customers, and partners. This is why storing all of these articles in a static system, like Word or Google Docs, would be ineffective. Not only do you need a place to store knowledge, but you need one that can bring it to life. That is why knowledge management systems are necessary.

Now, it is crucial that you pick the best one for your business. There are many solutions out there that may seem great from the outside, but only end up checking a few of your boxes. But how do you even know what “boxes” you need checked? There is a lot to consider when evaluating  and selecting the best system for your needs. In this blog, we will cover where to search for solutions and what to include on your shopping checklist.

What should great knowledge software include?

Now, when narrowing down your options to choose the best content management system for your needs, there is a lot to consider. But it’s important to not forget any of the necessary features. So, let’s talk about the main bullet points you might consider including in your must-have list.

1. Ease of importing & syncing

You might already have loads of content stored in another system like Word, Google Docs, PDFs, customer communities, additional CRMs, and much more. You don’t want all of this to go to waste when you choose your new system. So, be sure to find one that allows you to import and sync the formats of content you currently have.

2. Ability to create or edit content within the system

It’s also important that you can create and edit content right within the system so you aren’t forced to use a third-party content creation platform plus sync every single time you want to write something new or even just make a few minor adjustments. Keep in mind, that it’s also helpful to find an editor that includes a lot of styling capabilities like adding tables, images, heading styles, fonts, and more. Plus, it can be a huge bonus if you can find something that offers real-time collaboration editor tools, like commenting within a document or tracking edits.

3. Ability to search, filter, and sort content

The whole purpose of selecting a new knowledge base platform is to find one that will function better than a static list. So what does that include?

  • Search: This should be the number one priority. Whether your knowledge base is for internal agents or customers, you need a way for your audience to search through hundreds of articles with ease. Be sure to choose a system that offers keyword search. As a bonus, try to find a platform that also allows for body text search or imported content search so it can go deeper than just content title names.
  • Filtering: Similar to search, filtering makes content easier to find. It can also help you manage how your knowledge is organized across multiple dimensions like product, process, audience, region, language, and more.
  • Sorting: Sorting isn’t as necessary but can still help people discover the information they need. Sometimes sorting to find the most recent up-to-date information can be critical for company announcements, bugs, or anything else that needs to be read urgently.
  • Guided Navigation: Guided navigation essentially combines search and filtering into simple steps that can lead someone to a tailored content list. This type of feature is visually appealing and engaging, making for an interactive and successful knowledge management system.

4. Fast loading times

This one is often overlooked, but arguably one of the most important features. Often, platforms can offer tons of features that end up slowing down your page speed. Not only will this turn off your readers, but it also damages Google’s crawl-ability, and therefore, your SEO. Be sure to choose a solution that can offer page loading speeds within Google’s high-ranking parameters.

5. Content comments and feedback

A great way to gauge how successful your knowledge content is through gathering feedback. This could come in the form of comments beneath an article or a simple feedback rating system. This may not seem necessary, but it can be a huge help when determining how to improve your content. So, be sure to find a system that has the option to add something like this beneath your articles.

6. Analytics on knowledge success

Similar to enabling comments, being able to track how your knowledge is working through some form of analytics can be a huge help when determining how to improve. Typically, you might want to measure how long a user reads an article, where they navigate to before and after, whether or not it resolves their issues, and more. This can determine if your article leads to resolutions, abandons, or even escalations.

7. Great onboarding experience

There are a few solutions out there that offer many of these features and more, but they are very complex to use. Considering you might have multiple teams, or even your entire company, using this platform, you need it to be something that everyone can easily get used to. Dumping resources toward complicated onboarding training that will take weeks is a waste. Be sure to pick something that any employee could pick up easily. This way, new members can join with ease as well. A great way to determine a platform’s ease of use and onboarding is by reading some reviews.

8. Deployable enterprise-wide for both internal and external use

Finally, you may want a system that can work for your business in many ways, both internally for your teams, and externally for your customers. Often, companies might pick a solution that only does one of these things causing them to also have to shop for another solution to do the other. And, managing multiple platforms not only adds to your teams' headache, but also costs more, takes more time, and overall, will not function as well.

Often, the knowledge you have on your internal side could easily be adapted into external experiences as well. And, this can go as far as creating interactive forms for product registration, warranty, returns, etc. that both agents and customers can complete. The experiences are endless and there is always room for improvement, so be sure to pick a solution that is flexible enough to evolve with your company’s growth.

Ideas moving forward

When beginning your hunt for the best knowledge management system for you, use our shopping list:

  • Ease of importing and sync
  • Ability to create and edit content
  • Search, filter, and sort content
  • Good loading times
  • Content feedback and comments
  • Analytics capabilities
  • Easy onboarding
  • Flexibility in experiences

This may sound like a lot, but each of these features can make a huge difference. If you’re looking for a place to start, the ServiceTarget platform offers each of these features and more.

David Hayden
Software entrepreneur who enjoys building products that empower business people to create and evolve enterprise applications without code.

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