Knowledge Management Systems: In-Depth Guide With Examples

Creating knowledge management systems assist you to upsurge customer happiness, reduce customer support costs, increase customer success, ROI, and overall customer experience. Wondering how? By empowering the customers to get answers to their questions from the KM system.

A report by McKinsey Global Institute specifies that an efficient knowledge management system diminishes data search time by 35% and increases organizational learning and productivity by 20-25%. Let’s understand the concept of KM systems in-depth.



What is a Knowledge Management System?

Knowledge Management (KM) is an inevitable task or practice for any learning organization, and it is “the process of creating, sharing, using, and managing the information of an organization”.

With the right knowledge management software, you also get to provide permission-based access and restrict access to search engines and crawlers, depending on how much information you want to share and with whom you want to share it.

This helps businesses organize the kind of data from the very beginning and helps them keep their information organized even after their company grows. The definition of KM implementation usually includes 3 stages: Accumulating, Storing, and Sharing Organizational Knowledge.

What types of knowledge can be found in your organization?

  • All formal documents like SOPs and OnBoarding Checklist
  • All financial statements like total earnings, primary sources of those earnings, and biggest expenditures
  • Collaborative documents like sales pitches, Customer Service conversations
  • All information stored in the database, through notes, and memos
  • Knowledge gained through years of experience of your KM workers

What are Two Different Types of Knowledge?

The information that is found within your company that fits between IT systems and organizational best practices needs an expertise management system so that you can make the best value of all that you already know. This is where knowledge management software comes into play. In most of the companies, the information found can be bifurcated into two categories:

  1. Explicit Knowledge

    This type of information is formalized and well documented. Therefore, it is easy to identify, store, and retrieve when needed.

    Examples:

    • One common example of explicit information is the common checklist aspects that the sales team uses to assess clients’ needs, the questions to be asked, and the requirements to be inquired about.
    • SOPs, Financial records, memos, notes, etc., also qualify as explicit knowledge. As a part of best practices implementation, it can be anything that is a solid form (i.e. documented) is explicit knowledge.
    • It is very easy to manage knowledge with a knowledge management system and not as needed as tacit information, which comes next.
    • To capture explicit knowledge, all you need is an expert file/document management tool. You already have the raw materials i.e. the daily record sheet.
    • You can divide roles amongst your knowledge workers and perform specific document analyses and dissemination. 

    Once you have all the information you need, the next step is uploading it to your knowledge management system. Most companies that sell knowledge management tools offer this service or product for a fee. If you want to do this task in-house, it is not very difficult.

  2. Tacit Knowledge

    This refers to intuitive, experience-based learning processes that are rarely formally documented. It is very personal and depends on context analysis, and thus is relatively harder to implement in the knowledge management system.

    However, it is regarded as more worthy than explicit information and usually leads to innovations and profits.  

    Examples:

    • It is most commonly seen as the magic of some workers, who can perform specific tasks and activities better than others. However, how a senior technician can quickly diagnose as well as fix a problem is also counted as tacit knowledge.
    • As you may have already guessed, capturing tacit knowledge is very challenging and drives the importance of breakthroughs and profits.
    • For instance, Toyota is one of the companies that has made this task of capturing tacit knowledge incredibly easy.
    • The biggest problem with Toyota was knowledge retention; as senior employees retired, the worth of knowledge went unutilized.
    • To combat the issue, Toyota incorporated TPS (Toyota Production System). A part of this KM system is dedicated to a Q&A section, in which the expert technicians answer the questions of other workers. 
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Why Do You Need a Knowledge Management System (KMS)?

Importance of Knowledge Management System

So far, the definition of the term Knowledge Management System sounds promising in this competitive world. But it is not good enough to get started. Knowledge management is vital as it increases the competence of a company’s decision-making capability.

Ensuring that every employee has easy access to the complete expertise retained within the company, a determined workforce is formed who are capable of making informed and quick decisions that provide many benefits to the business.

International Data Corp. estimates that in any organization in which staff members are trying to find information, 70% of them can’t find the information they are looking for, and Fortune 500 companies lose at least $31.5B in a year by failing to share known information.

This section of the blog is dedicated to making you look at this from a different view. There are several advantages of a knowledge management system, and some of them are:

  1. Better And Strong Decision Making Powers

    An organization that focuses on the knowledge management fad helps you build a work environment that promotes knowledge sharing.  Such an environment ensures that the employees use their sound judgment and can easily convey essential knowledge to each other and the customers.

    With the proper aid of a technology discipline in the knowledge management system, your organization can hold up even if you have to process large amounts of knowledge implementation, various types of analysis, and the varying process of making important decisions and strategies for the company.

    By having access to all knowledge base articles, reports, and docs, your KM workers can make quick and sound decisions for appropriate maintenance.

  2. Easy Access to Knowledge

    Whenever an employee or executive is confronted with a requirement or need, they usually search for data (for hours!). Knowledge management software is designed to reduce this search time drastically.

    You could be assisting clients, brainstorming new products/services, filing tax forms, or making any other decision where time is of the essence. By creating a knowledge repository of your corporate wiki, you are creating an easy way for your team members to find what essential things they need and when they need them.

    Looking up is easy with the search option in the knowledge base software.  With great knowledge programming, you will have the option to perceive how a knowledge management framework helps an association in sparring resources and, consequently, setting aside cash.

  3. Faster Training And Onboarding Processes

    A lot of time that is spent by some of your top-paid employees is training the new hires. Nobody likes investing energy in accomplishing something repeatedly – however, they do so constantly, for several reasons.

    Dodging duplication of exertion sets aside time and cash and keeps the employees’ confidence up, and streamlines company culture. By not investing energy and wasting time, individuals have more opportunities to create something new.

    The training and onboarding process for employees is different from the onboarding procedures for the customers. Both of them represent a gap in the profit of your company. Because while these processes are ongoing, there is no productivity and income generation.

    Organizations sometimes try to cut short this period of unproductivity by reducing the time of training or onboarding. 

    If you provide the relevant information that they need in one place, you will be able to help all the new employees hit the ground at speed. This is coming from an operational perspective.

    The knowledge management programs will also make them more likely to purchase your products, assets, or services and make optimum use.

  4. Increased Collaboration

    With office politics and a negative workplace, it becomes difficult for all the employees to collaborate. As a result, there is a lot of hoarding of knowledge and not enough sharing of it.

    However, if there is a mandatory collaborative knowledge database or content management system for the entire workplace, then it might help in increasing the collaboration between various teams. This might even mitigate communication issues in the workplace and make it smoother.

    When people contribute their knowledge, resources, and data to one knowledge content management software, they can work as a group of the customer support team and not as individuals.

    This will help them solve most issues internally and without an external party or huge databases. Thus, it will help you save time and resources while ensuring that everyone works in harmony.

  5. Avoid Burnout

    Often, the most knowledgeable employees experience burnout of sorts. This happens due to the extreme levels of pressure on them. When you lose an employee who has been with the company for years, it becomes problematic.

    Many junior knowledge workers are dependent on the person, and it becomes difficult to replace such people. This also costs the company a significant amount financially, and there are other problems too.

    Moreover, whoever replaces the old employee will also take a significant amount of time adjusting to his new position to enhance the Communities of Practice on a large scale. 

  6. Avoid Recreation of Existing Knowledge

    Many times, we create a document model with some data and forget to update it. It feels outdated after some time, and we set out to recreate the same data in a new format. Employees spend a lot of their valuable time recreating resources rather than the ability to create new ones.

    This is a waste of many resources like time, costs, people, and everything related to the organization’s value. To avoid this from happening, you need to install a good knowledge base management system in your company.

    With the help of knowledge management efforts in place, you will be able to divert your resources to better tasks such as customer support operations, upselling, knowledge creation, adding new information to the knowledge, stores such knowledge discipline, and much more.

    This will help you get ahead instead of being stuck in the same loop.

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How to Choose the Right Knowledge Management System?

  1. Understand Your Needs

    At this point, it is very clear that the small topic of knowledge management systems is a vast ocean. There are hundreds of products and software solutions available in the market, and each one of those Information technologies (IT) system solutions has something of unique importance to offer.

    It is easy to get lost in this sea of features, and before you know it, you are looking at paying a huge amount of money for the knowledge management system. So, before you start looking at options, you need to ask yourself why you want to invest in knowledge management system principles in the first place.

  2. Google-like Search Function

    Having a search function makes looking for the right resource or information extremely fast. Your employees do not lose their workflow momentum while looking through the knowledge management system, and productivity is increased.

    Additionally, if the search engine can detect spelling errors and still provide the right results, it will be the icing on the cake.

  3. Easily Integrates with your Existing Workflows

    The next thing a decent KMS should do is not interrupt your existing workflows. Knowledge management systems are not a universal solution, and you will need to use external software like QuickBooks, Excel, and Slack.

    However, if you can easily share data between your knowledge management system and any other third-party app, then the term KMS is a great solution.

  4. Data and Security Compliance

    The last thing you want is your secure company knowledge to get into the wrong hands. You do not want this knowledge to be hacked through any technology and data loss by absolutely anyone.

    So, it is very critical that the knowledge management systems are completely secure. In addition to the delicate organizational knowledge, your KMS has client information. There are a lot of laws regarding the confidentiality of client information.

    To avoid any legal issues on your hands, the knowledge management system should meet everything related to security compliances.

  5. Customizations

    The last thing that you need to look for in the knowledge management system is room for customizations. This point does not require any explanation as it is fairly obvious.

    Since the knowledge management solution is going to be YOUR knowledge management system, you should be able to customize it to match your brand logo and brand colors. 


Examples of Knowledge Management Systems

  1. CloudTutorial

    CloudTutorial Logo

    CloudTutorial

    Best for creating a robust knowledge base

    Rating: 4.3/5

  2. With unlimited room for customizations, you get the following features or functions in your help site/knowledge base:

    • Fully custom-made knowledge base platform
    • Customize HTML/CSS option
    • Add multiple team members
    • Make categories and sub-categories 
    • Avail in-depth reports
    • Customize contact forms
    CloudTutorial

    CloudTutorial is a knowledge base software and aims at helping your customers get answers to their queries with much ease. Furthermore, you can reduce your customer support ticket by 80% with this type of knowledge management system.

    You can create SEO-friendly knowledge base templates with indefinite article categories. With the Cloud Tutorial, you can create a help site for anyone and everyone, add users, give them predefined roles, or create a custom role depending on your requirements.

    Here, you can deliver the best support to your customers. It is easy to use and user-friendly. This makes your team collaborate more productively. Eventually, it will assist your organization in enhancing your customer relationship.

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  3. Tettra

    Tettra

    Tettra

    Best for incorporating a central knowledge repository

    Rating: 4.2/5

  4. Some of the features of this knowledge base software are:

    • Integrate Tettra with the tools you are already using
    • Save time and standardize by creating templates
    • Give roles to people with full or limited access
    • Get analytics on the performance of pages
    Terra

    An internal knowledge base and a company wiki software, Tettra is a knowledge management software that helps you to create smart workflows and stop answering repetitive questions.

    This knowledge-based software’s main objectives help you provide customer support using knowledge assets that you know while managing knowledge simultaneously. Knowledge is scattered, and you can create a knowledge base composed of help articles and FAQ questions to help your knowledge workers, intellectual capital, and customers.

    You can centralize and organize all your team’s resources and case studies and create a central knowledge repository for your company.

  5. Document360.io

    Document360

    Document360

    Best for team collaboration

    Rating: 4.8/5

  6. This knowledge management system has the following features that its users love:

    • A category manager to manage all your product categories and organize your knowledge base
    • 2 editor options- to create a word-like document editor or a code snippets document creator
    • Easy to see all versions and rollback to any version
    • Get different types of analytics like user metrics, search analytics, user feedback mechanism, etc., similar to google analytics
    Document 360

    Document360 is a knowledge base software designed for growing organizations, providing you options to create a self-service customer service portal, a private internal knowledge base for your employees, and a product module to create Standard operating procedures (SOPs) easily.

  7. HelpJuice

    HelpJuice

    HelpJuice

    Best for Content Management

    Rating: 4.8/5

    You can publish your help articles easily by adding the content to the pre-designed and saved formats. Some features to note about this KMS are:

    • Publish multiple versions of the articles easily within the same editor
    • Structure and organize with unlimited categories
    • Control who sees what, and set custom roles and permissions
    • Get analytics in the articles, to measure the impact
    HelpJuice

    An all-in-one easy-to-use knowledge base software, HelpJuice is a KMS that meets all your customer support requirements and allows you to collaborate better with your team. The self-service help center automates most of your support process, and your customers can find instant help through the google-like search function.

    HelpJuice is the best example of a knowledge management system that can customize your knowledge base with theme colors and a logo. With great third-party integrations, HelpJuice is a great knowledge base to consider according to the budget need.

  8. Zendesk

    Zendesk

    Zendesk

    Best for customer service and support

    Rating: 4.2/5

  9. The sales suite is designed to make sales communications faster and standard and drive upconversion. Some features of Zendesk are:

    • Live chat to provide faster customer support
    • Customer support tickets via voice and SMS to enhance customer experience
    • Automated outreach email address to increase sales practice
    • Multilingual support
    • Support social media integration
    Zendesk

    A great customer support tool, Zendesk is designed to provide an unparalleled customer experience. This user-friendly software suite is designed to make support easy, sales increase while providing a great customer experience.

    This KMS is quick to implement, easy-to-use functions, and scalable to meet your needs. Zendesk offers 2 knowledge management solutions: Sales and Support. The support side of the knowledge base is designed to make the customer experience great with a user-friendly ticketing system, a FAQ page site, and live chat to aid customer support.

  10. Intercom

    Intercom Logo

    Intercom

    Best for live chat support

    Rating: 4.0/5

  11. A KMS  in its way dedicated to providing exceptional customer support, Intercom increases the conversion rate of your customers with the help of targeted messages, bots, and real-time chat. Some of the features of this software are:

    • Automate messaging with more focus on chatbots
    • Create a beautiful FAQ site for some common questions
    • Activity reports of your agents
    Intercom

    Great customer service and relationship manager, and not so much of an internal knowledge base, Intercom is ideal for businesses who need a knowledge base more focussed on customer loyalty service, and do not require an internal technology or knowledge base.

    If you want to create a FAQ site and have live chat support for your customers, then Intercom is a good choice to consider.


FAQs

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes, there different types of knowledge management systems (KMSs) like:

  • Document management systems
  • Learning management systems
  • Internal Knowledge management system
  • External Knowledge Management system
  • Digital knowledge management system

Document management tools are systems designed for knowledge workers to collaborate and work together on creating documents. The definition goes like this: The process of creating a piece of document or component together with your co-workers can be extremely challenging, and a Document management system is designed to make this task a bit simple and managed.

A knowledge management system includes various practices employed in an organization to classify, form, represent, dispense, and permit the implementation of insights and experiences. Such aspects contain knowledge, either embedded in organizational processes and practices or embodied in individuals.


Conclusion

From this guide on knowledge management systems, a better understanding of the basics of the knowledge base and the primary role of using it has been attained. Contact CloudTutorial and get assistance on selecting the right tools based on your requirements.

The KM tools have many different features, and the benefits vary from one tool to another. The KM examples we mentioned covered every single type of knowledge management system available in the market so that you can make a better choice.

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