If you’ve invested any amount of time into knowledge management within your organization, you know how involved of a process it is.
In the simplest of terms, knowledge management encompasses all processes that deal with:
- The collection of data and information
- The storage of incoming and currently-owned data
- The communication and interpretation of this data
- The creation, deployment, and use of organizational, data- and evidence-based knowledge
Needless to say, the vast majority of these processes involve the use of a variety of knowledge management software and tools. These tools, then, are a vital aspect of your overall knowledge management system.
In this article, we’re going to address the several key types of technologies you’ll need to enhance your knowledge management solutions:
- Document Management Systems
- Learning Management Systems
- Content Relationship Management Systems
- Decision Support Systems
- Social Communication
For each of these technologies, we'll provide examples of some of the best knowledge management software on the market.
Without further ado, let’s dig in.
Document Management System Tools for Knowledge Management
A document management system is a tool used to store and manage digitally-formated documentation.
A DMS operates as a sort of digital filing cabinet, as it allows organizations to locate and access necessary documentation with ease—while ensuring the documentation remains secure at all times. (Note: While a DMS and EDMS are sometimes used interchangeably, an EDMS tends to have enhanced features to help with managing document workflows).
Needless to say, a high-quality DMS tool is an essential part of your organization’s overall knowledge management system.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular DMS tools on the market.
Concord | ConcordNow.com
Concord is a cloud-based DMS focusing specifically on storing contractual documentation.
Organizations can use Concord throughout the contractual process—from creation to implementation.
Specifically, Concord enables organizations to:
- Create new contracts using templates and pre-created documents
- Review contracts internally and with third-parties both on- and offline
- Approve and sign contractual agreements
- Store and manage official contracts and other documents
By streamlining the process of creating and documenting digital contractual agreements, Concord allows you to focus more on actually moving forward with said agreements in a productive and efficient manner.
- Intuitive user interface
- Ability to manage and track workflow lifecycles
- Third-party integrations
- Issues when migrating from separate tool
M-Files | M-Files.com
M-Files is a DMS that aims to streamline your organization’s document-related processes to improve overall business performance.
M-Files does this by allowing your team to create workflows for creating, storing, and retrieving electronic documentation. This, in turn, allows you to reduce redundancies, avoid conflicts, and protect against data loss.
With M-Files, you’ll have complete visibility and control over your digital documents at all times.
- Easy to pick up and go
- Integration and migration processes
- Technical support and documentation lacking at times
eFileCabinet | eFileCabinet.com
eFileCabinet provides another option for organizations looking for a comprehensive DMS solution.
eFileCabinet ensures you’ll always be able to find the documents you’re looking for at any given time. The software’s automated filing capabilities, coupled with robust search capabilities, ensure your documents are always at arm’s length—while remaining secure at all times.
- Organizational, navigational, and search functions
- Mobile-friendly interface and processes
- Security and accessibility options
- Some processes not as streamlined and intuitive as could be
CRM Tools for Knowledge Management
The information your organization learns about your customers as time goes on is vital to the success of your business.
Of course, you’ll need to have an efficient way of storing, transmitting, analyzing, and using this information for it to do your company any good.
Which is where customer relationship management tools come into play.
HubSpot CRM | HubSpot.com
HubSpot’s CRM provides a centralized location on which to store any and all customer-related data.
In centralizing your data via HubSpot, you’ll ensure your various team members are always seeing the most up-to-date information on their audiences. This includes data on the customer’s persona and behavioral profiles, as well as their engagement history with your company. In staying on the same page when engaging with your customers, your team can provide a streamlined experience to each individual they serve.
Hubspot also helps teams score leads and segment customers based on the known data about them. In turn, your team can create highly-relevant content and offers that resonate with specific customers within your base.
Intuitive UI and simple onboarding
Scalable for growing businesses
Customizability not as flexible as other options
Some instances of bugs and/or crashes reported
Salesforce Sales Cloud | Salesforce.com
Salesforce Sales Cloud is a fully-customizable CRM that allows teams to capture customer information and updates in real-time.
With Sales Cloud, your team can create customized sales pipelines for specific customer segments—and even individual audience members. You can then set up workflows to reach these targets in the most efficient way possible.
Once you set your workflows in motion, you can then begin capturing results within Sales Cloud’s reports and analytics dashboard. Here, you can identify leaks in your funnel and gaps in your buyer’s journey—and begin working on cleaning up these areas as needed.
Integrates with thousands of tools
Continually updated by Salesforce team
Learning curve (and tool overall) may be too complex for non-technical startups
Cost may be too expensive for startups
Pipedrive | Pipedrive.com
Pipedrive is a CRM that focuses heavily on identifying and prioritizing high-quality leads among your target audience.
Once you’ve identified your high-value targets, you can then use Pipedrive to create customized funnels based on your target’s profile and other relevant factors. You can then set up automated workflows to optimize your target’s path to purchase—increasing their proability of converting even further.
Automation simplifies otherwise time-consuming tasks
User-friendly pipeline customization UI
Affordable for small businesses
Customization processes sometimes include redundancies
Tool doesn’t scale with the needs of a growing business
Learning Management Tools for Knowledge Management
Learning management is centered around the storage, tracking, and delivery of professional development and other educational materials owned by an organization.
Some of the most common types of documents housed within a learning management system include:
- Training programs
- Certification classes
A high-quality LMS, then, is one that enables organizations to deliver the information held within these documents as efficiently as possible.
Docebo | Docebo.com
Docebo is an AI-powered learning management system that allows for the creation, storage, and delivery of multimedia lessons, courses, and other educational content.
In enabling easy access to interactive, engaging, experiential learning materials, Docebo allows your team members to quickly learn new skills and gain new knowledge. They can then just as quickly turn around and begin using this new knowledge to the benefit of your organization.
- Simple and intuitive onboarding process and UI
- Pre-made widgets help simplify processes
- Software constantly being improved
- Integrations with third-party tools can be difficult
- Updates sometimes unpolished or buggy
Travitor | Travitor.com
Travitor allows organizations to create, develop, and deliver training programs—both live and on-demand—to their employees.
In addition to the basic LMS functionality offered by Travitor, the tool also provides full reporting and analytics of employee engagement with learning materials. This allows managers to better understand where their employees’ strengths and weaknesses lie—in turn enabling them to focus future training sessions accordingly.
- User-friendly onboarding and training
- Reports not as robust as other options
Thought Industries | ThoughtIndustries.com
For organizations looking to create and deliver audience-facing learning materials for monetization purposes, Thought Industries has you covered.
Thought Industries’ LMS tool makes it easy to create fully-brandable, engaging educational experiences for your audience. This allows you to quickly bring your courses and classes to the market—ensuring for maximum profitability in the process.
- Scalability in terms of features specific to your needs
- Simple, mobile-friendly UI
- Comprehensive, all-in-one LM tool
- Lacking in customization options
- Some navigability issues at certain touchpoints
Decision Support System Tools for Knowledge Management
Decision support systems are tools used to analyze enormous collections of data to help make informed business decisions.
While DSS’ can be used to collect and manage data of any kind, the most common type of data involved revolves around:
- Marketing and sales performance
- Support services
- Internal processes
The goal is to use data to identify the paths that will lead to the most growth for your business, be it financial growth, improved productivity, or otherwise.
Salesforce Analytics Cloud | Salesforce.com
Salesforce Analytics Cloud allows you to combine and experiment with a wide variety of data points in order to:
- Gather further insight
- Identify causal and other relationships
- Answer burning questions within your organization or industry
For Salesforce users, Analytics Cloud will always make the path of least resistance crystal clear—allowing your organization to move forward with confidence.
- Highly-customizable dashboard
- Technically fast and efficient
- Highly secure
- Requires Salesforce, and only considers data piped through Salesforce
- Requires higher-than-average technical knowledge
Directorpoint | Directorpoint.com
Directorpoint is a board management tool that allows C-suite teams to administer and manage meetings with ease.
With Directorpoint, teams can create meeting calendars, agendas, and other content-related materials during the planning phase—then deliver these materials to the necessary individuals once the time arrives.
Additionally, Directorpoint allows teams to communicate and collaborate in real-time. Whether sending full documents and files, or delivering surveys and other interactive materials, Directorpoint ensures your remote meetings will proceed as if its taking place in one physical location.
- Intuitive UI
- Share multimedia and content and data in real-time
- Support services
- Minor issues with customization
Riskturn | Riskturn.com
Riskturn is another tool that uses big data to help inform business decisions—in this case, with the specific goal of mitigating the financial risks involved in making such decisions.
Using a myriad of financial and other data, Riskturn runs simulations to determine the most likely scenario(s) to come from a given decision. This allows you to the best course of action not just for the situation at hand, but for future endeavors revolving around the same issues, as well.
In other words, Riskturn doesn’t just point your team in the right direction; it also allows your organization to gain a true understanding of why a certain direction is the right way to go. In turn, your team will be equipped to continue making optimal decisions moving forward.
- Intuitive UI and reports dashboard
- Multiple forecasting options and settings
- Adaptable and scalable to your business’ needs
- Selective list of integrations (but Riskturn’s team is responsive in adding in-demand integrations)
Social Communication Tools for Knowledge Management
Whenever your teams engage with one another, knowledge is being created and shared.
It’s essential, then, to consider how the communication and collaboration tools your organization uses tie into your knowledge management initiatives.
Specifically, you want to know that:
- Your teams are easily able to share information and knowledge in the first place
- This knowledge can be communicated in a variety of formats
- Engagements are logged, and knowledge is stored, at all times
Samepage | Samepage.com
Samepage is an all-in-one collaboration software that allows teams to remotely manage and work on projects together.
Samepage provides a number of features and functions to help enhance collaboration, including:
- Multimedia chat
- Screen- and file-sharing
- Task management
With Samepage, your team will—literally and figuratively—always be on the same page when
- Robust project management capabilities
- Ability to create customized teams
- Easy setup and onboarding
- Backend navigability sometimes not intuitive
- Relatively high cost
Blink | JoinBlink.com
Blink is a communications tool aimed at enabling teams to maintain alignment when members are constantly “on the go.”
For teams with employees “in the field,” or for organizations with multiple physical locations, Blink helps ensure everyone involved can communicate, collaborate, and deliver information to one another at all times.
Blink also provides comprehensive reports and analytics revolving around collaborative engagements, allowing your teams to make adjustments to processes as necessary.
- Mobile-friendly capabilities
- Strong search and navigation capabilities
- Ability to create multiple channels and chat groups
- Cost for higher-tiered solution may be too expensive for smaller companies
DialMyCalls | DialMyCalls.com
DialMyCalls is a simple communications tool used to deliver automated messages via text or phone to various audiences.
In terms of knowledge management, organizations can use DialMyCalls to communicate essential information to your internals teams and/or your customers as needed. With DialMyCalls, you can identify specific individuals within your contact list to target with specific messages, and schedule them to be delivered at the optimal moment.
DialMyCalls also provides reports on audience engagement, allowing you to both address internal miscommunications appropriately, and improve your customer-facing messaging accordingly, as well.
- Simple tool for automated communications
- Ability to analyze deliverability and efficiency reports for messages
- Affordable for growing businesses
- Minor issues with search history accessibility
- Process of adding contact info to new contact profiles unintuitive and time-consuming
Helpjuice’s Knowledge Base for Knowledge Management
A knowledge base is a centralized database on which an organization’s entire breadth of knowledge is created, stored, managed, and shared with both internal teams and audience members.
Whereas document management systems focus on storing actual files and documentation, knowledge bases focus on storing knowledge. “Knowledge,” in this sense, refers to the actual information being shared within such documentation—as well as the documentation itself.
The key features of a high-quality knowledge base include:
- A fully-customizable UI (on both the front- and backend)
- Comprehensive search and navigation capabilities
- Robust and understandable analytics and reporting
Knowledge bases can be created to assist your audience, your internal teams, or both. For your audience, knowledge bases allow individuals to find the answers to common questions, and dig deeper into the various aspects of your services. Internally, knowledge bases ensure your teams always have the information they need to best complete their assigned duties.
Overall, knowledge bases promote efficiency: They allow the user to quickly find what they’re looking for, so they can get back to taking on the task at hand.
For more information about how a knowledge base can help your organization, sign up for a free demo.