Knowledge management systems: how to choose the right one

3 min read

Knowledge management (KM) is the process of capturing, organizing, and making available the knowledge of an organization. The main purpose of KM is to improve decision-making by helping individuals access the right information at the right time. A KM system is a tool that can help you accomplish this goal.

When choosing a KM system, you need to consider your business needs and how the system will fit into your overall information management strategy. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the KM system:

The type of information you want to manage

Different KM systems are better suited for managing different types of information. Some systems are better for managing documents, while others are better for managing knowledge or data. You need to decide which type of information is most important to your business and find a KM system that specializes in that type of information.

The size and complexity of your business

The size and complexity of your business will also influence the type of KM system you choose. A large, multinational company will need a different system than a small, local business. The complexity of

your business will also influence the type of KM system you choose. A business with many products and services will need a different system than a business with only a few products and services.

How much you are willing to spend on a KM system

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the amount you spend on a KM system will vary depending on the size and complexity of your organization and the amount of information you have. However, it's important to remember that a KM system is an investment, not an expense.

The benefits of a well-implemented KM system can be immense, so it's important to budget accordingly. A good rule of thumb is to allocate around 2-5% of your organization's annual budget to KM initiatives. This will ensure that you have the resources you need to make your KM system successful.

Essential features of a knowledge management system

Knowledge base

A good Knowledge Management System needs a strong knowledge base. A knowledge base is a software system that supports the capture, storage, retrieval, use, and sharing of knowledge within an organization.

KB software includes content management capabilities for collaborative creation and publishing from a single source. One key feature of the Knowledge Base is the ability to capture knowledge in various formats, including text, images, and audio. The system should also allow users to store and retrieve knowledge easily.

Aside from enabling the centralized knowledge base, KMS also needs to support an easy migration of content from other KBs and the federation of content from other CRM and legacy sources.

Search & faceting

The knowledge management system should provide the most relevant information when users need it. When KMS has powerful search and faceting features, it will be capable of providing accurate, relevant results quickly. This can be hugely beneficial for businesses, allowing customers, partners, and employees to quickly find the information they need – whether this is a knowledge base, portal, online community, forum, or information hub.

Content classification

Flexible content classification allows businesses to create taxonomies that are unique to their business and organize content in the way that makes the most sense for their customers, partners, and teams.

For example, if your business sells hundreds or thousands of products, in many different regions and countries and has different user types, like end consumers, partners, re-sellers, installers, field service teams, etc. a flexible content classification system will allow you to organize content across multiple facets like product, process, region, language, audience, content type and more. It is also important that the categorization supports hierarchies. For instance, thousands of products need to be organized by product category, product type, and model.

The flexible content classification system is essential for search and faceting and allows users to find the most relevant information they need quickly.

Information aggregation from internal & external sources

In today's world, businesses capture and collect data in various business systems and tools deployed across the organization. This can include tickets and queries, phone calls, emails, social media, blogs, product information, manuals, documentation, standard procedures, and more.

A well-featured knowledge management system is capable of easily aggregating and organizing knowledge and information from multiple sources. This makes a knowledge management system essential for customer support, field service, training, enablement, and sales teams as it enables easy sharing and consumption of the information without changing the team's preferred workflow.

Information sharing & collaboration

One of the key features of the KMS is the ability easy collaborate on knowledge creation with real-time document editing and commenting. This enables deeper collaboration among users.

Roles & access permissions

The knowledge management systems should be deployed enterprise-wide to increase information sharing and reduce administrative management costs. To make sure that the right users can access the right information, it should have the ability to set appropriate roles and access levels for administrators, managers, employees, and customers. You can make your knowledge public or private, visible to only certain people, or groups of people.

Analytics & reporting

Analytics and reporting are crucial to understanding knowledge utilization, how users engage with the content, and what information is missing from your repository. This feature lets you know how many visitors accessed and viewed particular articles in your knowledge base, so you can determine which ones are most relevant or effective. You can get a summary of visitors and views or a report of searched keywords. You can also capture feedback so you can continue improving content and the knowledge base itself.

Scalability & flexibility

A knowledge management system should be able to handle a growing number of users of the knowledge base as well as a growing repository of articles and content. It should be able to accommodate different content types, like articles, pdf documentation, videos, audio, and images. The system must also have multi-lingual support for people from different parts of the world.

Integration

To get the most out of their KMS, businesses need to make sure it is compatible with other systems and applications they use. Many knowledge management systems can integrate with help desk software, email clients, customer support software, online storage systems, content management systems like WordPress, live chat, analytics tools, and even CRM and e-commerce platforms.

Customization

Content from your Knowledge Management System will likely be consumed by different types of audiences in a variety of situations - your prospects might need to access pertinent information when they are selecting the product and making the purchase, and your customers may need information relevant to their products and services when they need to set up, install, use or troubleshoot the product, customer service teams will need to access knowledge while on the call with the customer.

So when it comes to knowledge experience, one-size-fits-all is not going to work. But when your knowledge management system comes with the ability to build a custom knowledge base application with a no-code application designer, it is a totally different game. A no-code application designer can help you build one without any programming skills and knowledge required.

You can build a custom knowledge base application using a no-code application designer. This will allow you to create an application that is specific to your needs. You can create different layouts for different audiences, surface only relevant content based on their process, and make it available where they are likely to need the information, like inside your app, and you can design the user interface to match your branding.

A custom knowledge base application can help your team manage and share knowledge more effectively. It can help customers more easily recognize products and services they own and resolve their question or issue more quickly with self-service.

Ready to adopt a knowledge management system for your organization?

Every organization handles information and knowledge. As your business grows, you’ll need a system to coordinate, categorize, and manage organizational knowledge more efficiently and scalably. That is why choosing the right knowledge management system is so important.

ServiceTarget enables organizations of all sizes to capture, organize and make knowledge and information available to their customers, partners, and teams when and where they need it most. If you are ready to adopt a knowledge management system, let us know.

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

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