How To Choose The Best Knowledge Management Software for Your Business
Knowledge management software allows businesses to keep all their business information in one place. The purpose of this type of software is to make useful information easy to access, retrieve and update.
For many companies, it is important to have one single up-to-date source of information. However, choosing the right option for your business is always difficult, and making the wrong decision can be costly.
That’s where our list of the top knowledge management software can help.
How We Evaluated The Software
When we start to compile the list, we look at a range of different software ranking systems to determine the top 50-100 products. Then we use expert and user reviews to identify the top features and key metadata, which will allow us to compare products. We also watch any recorded demos of products and allow our experts to review them for design and usability. Finally, we combine all these results with data from Google trends and other web traffic sources to give each product a score. This is used to rank all the products and produce the final list.
As you can see, the results offer a range of options for different companies depending on their circumstances. Once you decide which features are most important to your business, then you can begin to do your own trials.
We provide the most comprehensive ranking of knowledge management system software available. Because we consider a wide range of data, we can take several points of view into account. Using both other ranking systems and user reviews give us a range of perspectives from which to compile the list. Social listening tools allow us to hear views that might not be expressed by experts in published articles, and our own experts also have an input into the rankings.
We aim to include as many products as possible in our evaluation, so more than 100 different products have been assessed in order to bring you this list. Of course, which solution is best for your own business will depend on what your individual needs are.
While our list gives some pointers about the best programs on the market, it’s always a good idea to do your own research. Take a few products on trial and test them with real data in your own working environment. That is really the only way to find a product that meets your company’s needs.
Knowledge Management Software Guide
You don’t have to be a multinational to need a system to manage your company’s knowledge. Every company needs a system to access information quickly and easily. That is where knowledge management software comes in handy, to provide a simple solution to storing and sharing your business knowledge between staff.
What is Knowledge Management Software?
A knowledge management system stores confidential information, typically company-specific information, procedures, and collaborative documents, making that knowledge easily searchable and retrievable. While knowledge management systems are usually used for internal business processes, they can also have customer-facing uses.
Furthermore, knowledge management software provides a structured storage system for knowledge and a system for easy search and retrieval of information. These systems can also provide the means to disseminate knowledge to employees or clients efficiently. The best knowledge management software can also be used for collaborative working practices.
In most workplace settings, a knowledge management system stores important knowledge, which staff can access according to permissions and updated regularly. For regulatory reasons, many companies need to have centrally held documents accessible in the correct, up-to-date form by staff in different departments and across different sites. This software takes the stress out of making sure everything is updated simultaneously.
How Can Knowledge Management Systems Help My Business?
All businesses have a wide range of documents with different access permissions. For example, personnel files are confidential and should only be accessed by staff with special permissions. At the same time, there are things like staff handbooks, company procedures, and rules that all members of staff need access to. Many of these documents are subject to legal requirements in terms of access permissions. A knowledge management system will make these documents easily available to those that need them while maintaining security and confidentiality.
Another aspect of your business where knowledge management is important is collaborative projects involving different staff members or departments. Keeping all the documents in one place while allowing updates from different system users can make collaboration easier. A knowledge management system can also help with staff training, changes, and cover. A searchable system makes it easy for new or temporary staff to find the knowledge they need.
Knowledge Management Software Meaning
A knowledge management system stores details and, at the same time, makes them accessible to those who need them. Allowing access from a range of devices and the ability to set user permissions are important features of knowledge management. Some systems also allow the integration of other apps to make the system even simpler to use.
Main Features of Knowledge Management Systems
Features vary from program to program, but some of the main features of the software are described below.
- Secure Data Storage: Every business needs to know that data is safe from hackers and other threats. Data can be stored on local servers or secure cloud storage, depending on needs.
- User-friendly Search Interface: One of the most useful aspects of knowledge management is improving the speed of access to information. A good search facility can save hundreds of man-hours a year just by reducing the time spent looking for the right document.
- Multiple Device Compatibility: If you have workers on the road, this is an important feature that will improve the efficient working of your business.
- Collaboration Tools: These allow documents to be shared and edited across different locations while maintaining privacy and security. Because permissions and roles can be set individually for each user, reading and editing rights can be set according to the user’s role.
- Content Authoring and Editing: Many knowledge management systems include an integrated writing and editing package, which allows the easy creation of, and collaboration with, documents without changing platforms.
The Benefits of Using Knowledge Management Software
Knowledge management systems aim to provide easy yet secure access to all your company’s knowledge by all those who need it. This can include both staff and customers. This software makes information easy to find, create and manage.
The best knowledge management software provides a secure and structured repository for all company data. It also allows you to set user permissions for each user to enable access for those who need it and block it for those who don’t.
Staff collaboration is a major part of most businesses these days. Whether your collaboration is in one location or across multiple sites, management software can integrate collaborative work with the central storage system to ensure security and ease of communication.
One major benefit to the company of using knowledge management software is that it saves time. Many hours are spent each year by staff searching for the right document. This software offers a simple search facility to find what you need quickly.
As well as wider benefits to the company, individual users also benefit from using these systems. Some of the most important benefits are listed below.
- Quick and easy access to documents
- No more switching apps — everything in one place
- Integrated Collaboration Tools
Quickly Access the Knowledge You Need
A knowledge management system with an integrated search facility will save you staff hours of frustration trying to source the right information. These keyword-based search engines allow users to search the content of thousands of documents to find the right information.
Everything in One Place
Because knowledge management systems allow content creation, search, and editing all in one place, much less time is lost switching between apps and becoming distracted by other things. The best knowledge management software allows users to switch between tasks without changing platforms, thus streamlining the work process and making life easier for staff.
Secure Collaboration Tools
Keep your collaboration secure with a knowledge management system. This means that every person can access collaborative documents according to their permissions. So some staff can have read-only access while others can edit and author documents. The best knowledge management software will also track document changes and who made them.
Which Companies Should Buy Knowledge Management Software?
Almost all companies can benefit from some form of a knowledge management system. Small businesses with a few employees still need to keep their company policies secure and accessible to staff. Large businesses can save many hours lost searching for the right information. There are also situations where knowledge can be used as a customer interface.
For small businesses, internal knowledge management systems can help to organize workflow. Record keeping isn’t only important for regulatory matters, it can also be useful to track problems and solutions. So, if a problem has come up before, the user should be able to find a solution in the system quickly and easily.
A big advantage for medium businesses is to speed up all aspects of work processes, from decision-making to dealing with customer complaints. Easy access to knowledge and data will increase consistency in dealing with issues, too. So staff can give customers the right answers quickly.
For large corporations, there are multiple advantages to using a knowledge management system. The system can quickly and easily manage access and permissions with large volumes of data, different levels and confidentiality, and a large workforce.
What Does Knowledge Management Software Cost?
There are different pricing models available depending on which software you choose. Most software providers use a per user, per month, or per year model, so your costs will depend on the size of your business. There are a few systems with one-off fees, often per user. Prices range from $1 per user per month to around $20,000 per user one-off fee. Mid-range products range from $30-$100 per user per month. Enterprise pricing will differ, so check out your options before buying.
Types of Knowledge Management Software
There are three types of knowledge management systems: enterprise-wide systems, knowledge work systems, and intelligent techniques. Each of these systems is designed for a different purpose.
These are large systems for managing all the knowledge and data held by a company. Features of these systems include search engines to easily find information, collaboration tools, and secure storage with individual access permissions. These systems are suitable for businesses of all sizes who need to organize their data for easy and secure access.
Knowledge Work Systems
These systems are used mainly by scientists and technical staff. They contain specialist technical knowledge, which can be accessed to find answers to specialist questions. This expert knowledge database is mainly used in companies that require expert technical knowledge. It is also useful for customer-facing technical support staff, who can look up a problem to find solutions.
This is one of the best knowledge management software types, as it adds an intelligent data management tool to the simple search engine. Many of these systems use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to retrieve the correct data faster. This system focuses on patterns and is useful for managing predictable tasks and knowledge transfer.
Trends in Knowledge Management Systems
Technology is constantly developing, and knowing the latest trends may help you to decide which software to buy. The world of knowledge management is moving fast, so we’ll try to bring you up to speed with the latest trends.
The Influence of Social Media
One major trend happening right now is the incorporation of social media type messaging into knowledge management. This means that users can not only send messages but also display a profile with personal interests as well as professional credentials. This sort of networking tool can lead to greater collaboration and understanding between colleagues.
- Mobile Apps: Many software developers are responding to the high volume of data usage via mobile devices and coming up with their own mobile apps. These provide easier access to company systems for workers on the move. They can also improve security compared to users accessing company systems via a web browser.
- Image-Based User Interface: Another trend in knowledge transfer is to make the user interface more friendly. Older systems used a lot of text, including long lists of files. There is a move now to use a more intuitive image-based system. This also works better with the smaller screens of mobile devices. If you prefer a visually-oriented approach, look for software with a friendly user interface.
- Content Tagging: Another trend to spill over from social media is content tagging. This is a very simple way to find additional and related content quickly. Content tagging allows users to focus on the particular feature they need information on.
When choosing the best knowledge management software for your business, remember to think about how the product will age. A product that keeps up with the latest trends may save you money in the long run.
Which Is The Best Knowledge Management Software
It is difficult to choose one product that is best for every business. We have highlighted the key features to look for, but you are the one who knows best what your business needs. It’s a good idea to take a few products on a free trial and compare the results. We list the best products by our rating system, so you have some guidance on what to try out.
How to Choose The Right Knowledge Management Systems
We are here to help you choose the right product for you. First, you need to decide what you need your software to do. Check out the different types of products available. Do you need an enterprise-wide system or a knowledge work system? Once you decide the features you really need, choose a few products for a trial run.
It’s always a good idea to try out more than one product before deciding what works for you. When you road-test a product, don’t just look through the features and interface. Try actually to work with real data. That way, you can see the results and also experience how easy or difficult the product is to use. Remember, the system is supposed to make life easier. So, if it is difficult to learn, it may not be the product for you.
Choosing any business software is a very personal decision. While we can evaluate the different aspects of the software, we can’t know what the best knowledge management option for you is. So, be prepared to check out all the features you need, test the product and make an informed decision.
There is a product out there for your business. It pays to find the right one.