Your business has a lot of data guiding its daily functioning. Whether it’s providing prompt support to customers, developing offerings for your target audience, or marketing to boost sales, you need data to do things right.
This is where knowledge management comes into the picture. A McKinsey Global Institute report discovered an efficient knowledge management system reduces data search time by 35 percent and increases organizational learning and productivity by 20-25 percent.
Wondering how? Let's look at 10 knowledge management systems examples that can help you turn your knowledge into a useful resource to improve productivity and collaboration.
TL;DR: Knowledge management system examples
- A Knowledge Management System (KMS) is an IT system designed to store and retrieve knowledge, enhancing understanding, productivity, and collaboration within an organization.
- Knowledge bases, document management systems, content management systems, online community forums, research libraries, Learning Management Systems (LMS), and enterprise-wide systems are common examples of KMS.
- Each knowledge management system example focuses on a specific need, with examples like Salesforce for knowledge bases, Dropbox for document management, and WordPress for content management.
- A step-by-step guide on how to create a KMS, including defining objectives, identifying knowledge sources, choosing the right technology, designing the knowledge base, implementing and testing, and promoting continuous improvement and adoption.
What is a knowledge management system?
A knowledge management system (KMS) is an IT system that stores and retrieves knowledge to improve understanding, productivity, collaboration, and process alignment. It organizes, stores, and retrieves the collective knowledge of an organization, including explicit, tacit and implicit knowledge.
The best knowledge management systems also allow users to engage with the content, enabling self-service and breaking down internal information silos.
Top 7 knowledge management system examples
- Knowledge bases
- Document management systems
- Content management systems (CMSs)
- Online community forums
- Research & insights libraries
- Learning Management Systems (LMS)
- Enterprise-wide knowledge management systems
Knowledge management systems are incredibly versatile and can be used for different purposes. Let’s take a quick look at the main types of knowledge management systems along with examples to help you develop your knowledge management strategy.
1. Knowledge bases
Knowledge base software can consolidate a company's data and information while making it easy to access by staff members and customers. These are of two types: internal knowledge bases and external knowledge bases.
- Internal knowledge bases are employee-only systems that allow customer representatives to look up and find information to assist customers, delivering prompt and efficient service.
- External knowledge bases are customer-facing websites that empower customers to find solutions to their problems without additional help.
📌 How do they help? Customer service knowledge bases reduce the average time to resolve customer issues and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Knowledge base example: Salesforce
Salesforce's knowledge base is a valuable resource for users of its CRM software, such as Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud.
Salesforce is a great knowledge management system example because it provides detailed documentation, tutorials and best practices for learning about Salesforce's offerings.
- Easy to search and navigate: Users can quickly find the information they need by using the search bar, browsing through the category hierarchy, or using the side navigation menu.
- Personalized recommendations: Uses machine learning to provide personalized recommendations to users.
- Integrates with other Salesforce products, allowing users to access knowledge articles directly from within these products.
Other great examples of knowledge bases include:
- Apple: Apple's knowledge base is known for its comprehensive search functionality, clear and concise articles, and easy-to-follow instructions.
- Google: Google's knowledge base covers a wide range of topics, from using Google products to understanding complex technical concepts.
2. Document management systems
A document management system (DMS) is a software system used to store, manage, and track electronic documents and images of paper-based documents.
📌 How do they help? DMSs are used by organizations of all sizes to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
Document management systems example: Dropbox
Dropbox is an excellent example of an interactive knowledge management system. The company has put together tons of resources to help new and current customers work around the tool and resolve issues.
- Centralized repository for storing and managing documents that makes it easy to find documents.
- Version control that allows users to track revisions, compare versions, and revert to previous versions if necessary.
- Seamless sharing: Users can create shared folders, generate shareable links, and send documents via email.
- Real-time collaboration: Dropbox allows multiple users to collaborate on documents in real time.
Other document management system examples include:
- Google Drive: A cloud-based DMS that is a good option for organizations that are already using Google Workspace.
- Microsoft OneDrive: Microsoft OneDrive is another cloud-based DMS that is a good option for organizations that are already using Microsoft 365.
3. Content management systems (CMSs)
A content management system (CMS) is a software application that enables users to create, manage, and publish content on a website or other digital platform.
📌 How do they help? CMSs are used to create and manage websites or other digital platforms. CMSs can save time and effort, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and provide a secure and scalable solution for creating and publishing content.
Content management system example: WordPress
WordPress is a popular open-source content management system (CMS), that offers a range of features for creating and managing websites. WordPress is known for its user-friendly interface, which makes it easy for people with no coding knowledge to create and manage websites.
- Content management system for creating, editing, and organizing website content. It supports a variety of content types, including posts, pages, images, and media.
- Built-in media library for uploading, managing, and organizing images, videos, and other media files.
- Plugin system: There are thousands of plugins available for WordPress, covering a wide range of topics, from SEO optimization to social media integration to e-commerce functionality.
Other content management system examples include:
- Drupal: A free and open-source CMS that is known for its power and flexibility. Drupal is a popular choice for large organizations and websites with complex needs.
- Shopify: A popular paid CMS for creating e-commerce websites. It is known for its ease of use and its wide range of features.
4. Online community forums
An online community forum is a type of social knowledge management where visitors with a shared interest or expertise can ask and answer each other’s questions and share feedback or recommendations. It’s also the easiest way to engage with customers and generate content from your company's biggest supporters.
📌 How can you use online communities? Companies typically create an online forum for customers and fans to network and provide inter-user support. Think of it as a platform that brings your audience together and allows users to share feedback or recommendations.
Online community forum example: Buffer
Buffer created a Discord channel for its users from over 100 countries to connect, learn new skills and receive support.
The general vibe of the community is fun, casual, and friendly. Members can exchange advice and strategies, get support, share product suggestions and even sign up to beta test new features.
Overall, the Buffer community is a great example of a social community forum that keeps things interesting so that members keep coming back for more.
Other online community forum examples include:
- IBM Developer Community: The IBM Developer Community is a platform for IBM developers to share knowledge, collaborate on projects, and connect with other IBM developers.
- Adobe Forums: Adobe's online forums provide a place for users to discuss Adobe products, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
5. Research & insights libraries
Research and insights libraries are cloud-based platforms that store market research and consumer insights in the form of tangible materials like reports, slide decks, and customer interview recordings.
📌 How can these work for you? These libraries gather and curate a wide range of information sources, including research reports, market data, industry trends, competitor analysis, and internal insights. They serve as a valuable resource for employees to access and utilize information to make informed decisions.
Research and insights library example: Capital One
Capital One has an insights center library that houses research and insights that "advance equity and inclusion." Besides market insights and industry reports, the company also shares helpful articles focused on investments and legacy planning.
- PwC research & insights library: A collection of research reports, articles, and PwC studies on a wide range of topics.
- Capgemini research library: A collection of research reports, articles, case studies, and other insights on a wide range of business and technology topics.
6. Learning Management Systems (LMS)
A learning management system is designed to empower Learning and Development (L&D) departments by storing, distributing and tracking training and developing materials for their learners to facilitate growth and drive revenue.
📌 Wondering how? An LMS offers several functionalities, including customizable learning paths, interactive quizzes, and course creation and management tools. You can use them to efficiently upskill your employees and hold them accountable for staying up-to-date with training.
Learning management system example: Absorb LMS
Absorb LMS is a robust knowledge management platform known for its focus on employee engagement and learning analytics. It offers a wide range of features to help businesses create and deliver effective training programs.
- Course authoring tools for creating engaging and effective training courses.
- Flexible learning delivery methods, including instructor-led training (ILT), e-learning, blended learning, and mobile learning.
- A variety of tools for assessing learner progress and tracking training outcomes, including pre- and post-assessments, quizzes, and detailed reports.
Other learning management system examples:
- Cornerstone: A cloud-based LMS that is designed to help businesses of all sizes create and deliver engaging and effective training programs.
- Docebo: A cloud-based LMS used by businesses of all sizes to create, deliver, and track training programs.
7. Enterprise-wide knowledge management systems
Companies have vast knowledge and insights, but they typically become siloed within teams or departments. Luckily, an enterprise-wide KMS can democratize knowledge across an organization, giving each team quick and easy access to stored knowledge to do their jobs more efficiently.
📌 How does it work? An enterprise-wide KMS lets you easily scan through large volumes of knowledge, thanks to useful features like a powerful search engine, customized segmentation and maintenance automation.
Enterprise-wide knowledge management system example: Olive
Software company Olive found its engineers were spending 20 percent of their time looking for information and asking or answering questions, leading to a productivity loss.
Olive used an enterprise-wide knowledge management system, Bloomfire, to develop a knowledge management community, a Q&A engine, and a central hub for internal product documentation that employees could use seamlessly daily.
Consolidating all its knowledge helped Olive shorten onboarding times, improve employee engagement, and boost productivity.
Other enterprise-wide knowledge management systems include:
- Microsoft SharePoint: SharePoint is a widely used EKMS that offers a comprehensive suite of features for creating and managing knowledge-based content, including document libraries, wikis, and social networking tools.
Essential knowledge management system features
Here are some of the essential features to look for in a KMS:
- User-friendly and intuitive: Easy to use and navigate for all employees, regardless of their technical expertise.
- Content creation and editing tools for employees to create and edit knowledge content.
- Content categorization and tagging based on specific topics, projects, or departments for easy organization and retrieval.
- Version control and revision history to track revisions, compare versions, and revert to previous versions if necessary.
- Search functionality that can quickly and accurately locate relevant information across the entire knowledge base.
- Permission and access control based on user roles and security requirements, protecting sensitive information while still allowing authorized users to access relevant resources.
- Integration: Seamless integration with other enterprise systems, such as content management systems, document management systems, and project management tools.
- Reporting and analytics tools to track usage patterns, identify popular content and measure effectiveness.
- Mobile accessibility: Accessible through mobile devices, enabling employees to access knowledge on the go.
- Customizable to fit your specific needs and processes.
How to create a knowledge management system
Let's explore the steps involved in creating a knowledge management system.
Step 1: Define your objectives
Before diving into the technical aspects of building a knowledge management system, identify your specific knowledge needs and determine how a KMS can address them.
Step 2: Identify knowledge sources
Next, conduct a thorough audit to determine the types of knowledge you possess and where it's located. This can include documents, databases, experts, and even tacit knowledge possessed by employees.
Step 3: Choose the right technology
Look for features such as document management, search capabilities, collaboration tools, and analytics. It's also important to involve your IT department in this decision-making process to ensure compatibility and security.
Scribe is an AI-powered process documentation tool that automatically generates step-by-step guides for any repetitive process in seconds. Scribe automates the process of creating content assets like step-by-step guides, knowledge base articles and instructions.
Step 4: Design and structure your knowledge base
Now it's time to design and structure your knowledge base. Start by creating a hierarchical structure that categorizes your knowledge assets, making it easier to navigate and locate information. Use metadata tags to enhance searchability.
Establish guidelines for content creation and maintenance to ensure consistency and accuracy.
Step 5: Implement and test
To implement your KMS, migrate existing knowledge assets into the system and ensure that all relevant information is captured.
Train your employees on how to use the system effectively and encourage their active participation.
Test and ask for feedback from users to identify any issues or areas for improvement. Make necessary adjustments before the official launch.
Step 6: Promote adoption and continuous improvement
Develop training programs, provide ongoing support, and recognize and reward employees who actively contribute to the system.
Regularly review and update your knowledge base to keep it relevant and up to date. Monitor usage patterns and gather feedback to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments.
What are the 3 major knowledge management systems?
There are 3 major knowledge management systems that you can use to effectively manage your knowledge assets:
- Document Management Systems (DMS) capture, organize, and store documents and files in a centralized repository for easy retrieval, sharing, version control, and collaboration.
- Content Management Systems (CMS) provide a platform for creating, managing, and publishing various types of content.
- Collaboration and social networking systems provide tools and platforms for connecting, communicating, collaborating, and sharing ideas.
What are the 5 components of a knowledge management system?
A knowledge management system (KMS) has 5 main components that work together:
- Knowledge repository: A central storage system for the organization's knowledge.
- Knowledge capture: The process of capturing and converting knowledge into a digital format.
- Knowledge organization: Organizing knowledge for easy retrieval and categorization.
- Knowledge sharing: Facilitating sharing and collaboration.
- Knowledge access and retrieval: A user-friendly interface for accessing and retrieving knowledge.
Wrapping up: knowledge management system examples
Our knowledge management system examples have one thing in common: they are simple, easy to navigate, and can be tailored to suit your needs. So why wait—use these systems to make the most of your organization’s knowledge. Try Scribe for free to automatically generate visually appealing step-by-step guides that empower your staff and customers alike.