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 the said offerings to boost sales, you need data to do things right.
What happens if you don't manage this data properly? Lower efficiency, broken internal processes, and poor customer support become the norm.
This is where knowledge management systems come into the picture.
A McKinsey Global Institute report discovered an efficient knowledge management system reduces data search time by 35% and increases organizational learning and productivity by 20%-25%.
Wondering how? Creating knowledge management systems helps you turn your knowledge into a useful resource to promote collaboration between teams, streamline information flow across departments, and facilitate customer empowerment.
What Is a Knowledge Management System?
A knowledge management system (KMS) is a type of IT system that manages an organization’s knowledge to improve understanding, collaboration, productivity, and alignment. It generally exists within organizations and teams but can also help center your knowledge base for customers or users.
Here are some of the more common uses of knowledge management systems:
- Organizing and democratizing research and documentation for quick and easy access across an organization
- Facilitating employee onboarding and ongoing training to help new hires get up to speed faster
- Sharing and preserving the knowledge of subject matter experts to connect employees with expertise
- Making information searchable to answer employee and customer questions
To reiterate, the best knowledge management systems help users go beyond accessing knowledge—they also allow them to engage with the content, enabling self-service and breaking down internal silos.
5 Knowledge Management System Examples
Knowledge management systems are incredibly versatile and can be used for different purposes. Below, we’ll cover the main types of knowledge management systems, along with an appropriate example to help you develop your own knowledge management strategy.
Let’s take a quick look.
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. Contrarily, 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. No wonder 91% of people would use an online knowledge base if it was tailored to their needs.
Knowledge Base Example: Dropbox
Dropbox is an excellent example of what an interactive knowledge base should look like. The company has put together tons of resources to help new and current customers work around the tool and resolve issues.
It has a simple and clean homepage that includes links to several use-case articles, video tutorials, and workflows. While all the information is clear and concise, Dropbox goes a step further by including a search function that auto-fills and suggests searches in line with what users may be looking for to simplify searching.
Dropbox also offers automated processes setup and live troubleshooting to help users find solutions faster. Clickable links to the company’s community forum, Twitter page, and support page give users other ways to get help.
2. Online Community Forums
An online community forum is a type of website 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 these forums? Companies typically create an online forum for customers and fans to network and provide inter-user support. Think of it as a platform that lets you bring your audience together and allows users to share feedback or recommendations.
Besides knowledge management, the strengthened sense of connection between users and your products or services is another significant advantage.
Online Community Forum Example: Buffer
Buffer moved to a dedicated home in 2019 to create a centralized platform for its users from over 100 countries to connect with each other and learn new skills and receive support.
The general vibe of the community is fun, casual, and friendly (in the company's own words, Buffer users can be “generous with emojis, GIF-happy, and pro exclamation mark”). Members can exchange advice and strategies in the monthly “CommuniTea/Coffee“ Zoom meetings or participate in weekly community Mastermind discussions.
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.
3. Research and 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? You can create one research library for polished content to share with stakeholders and another for your research teams to see raw video recordings and other materials to innovate on your products.
This way, stakeholders can access research materials and insights and apply findings to their decision-making, plus team members can effectively engage with insights to avoid duplication and reduce redundant content.
Research and Insights Library Example: Capital One
Capital One has a public library that houses market report trends and insights and is accessible across stakeholder teams. The homepage is crisp and formal-looking to match the nature of the displayed content.
Besides market insights and industry reports, the company also shares helpful articles focused on investments and legacy planning.
Capital One also has another library for its internal team that houses raw video interview content. Users can search and navigate key moments in the customer interviews to find noteworthy trends and insights that can be later used for content to publish in the online public library.
4. 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.
Employees can access learning materials anytime, anywhere. The system can also facilitate faster onboarding and improves job satisfaction and employee engagement.
Learning Management System Example: SAP Litmos
SAP Litmos is a robust knowledge management platform and a well-respected example of LMS for good reason.
It's an all-in-one learning platform that powers the training programs of several leading companies like HP, Norwegian Airlines, and BT. From onboarding new hires to developing new skills in the workplace, this LMS takes care of many operational needs.
What’s more, SAP Litmos offers 100+ integrations and several advanced features, including customized learning paths for training, gamification in the learning process to boost learner engagement, and social collaboration.
5. Enterprise-Wide Knowledge Management Systems
Companies have a vast wealth of 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.
This way, you can maximize your organization's collective intelligence, reduce employee time spent on searching for information, align teams and processes, and prevent knowledge loss.
Enterprise-Wide Knowledge Management System Example: Olive
Software company Olive found its engineers were spending 20% of their time looking for information and asking or answering questions, leading to a productivity loss. Unfortunately, the company didn’t have an effective way to communicate and share knowledge with its team.
Olive decided to use 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 on a daily basis.
Consolidating all its knowledge helped Olive shorten onboarding times, improve employee engagement, and boost productivity.
Leave the Hard Work to Your Knowledge Management System
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.
When done well, a knowledge management system can increase customer satisfaction, improve overall customer success ROI, and reduce customer support costs. More importantly, they educate your team members and customers to learn how to use and interact with your products or services to maximize outcomes.
Want your employees to spend less time explaining and more time doing? Try Scribe for free to automatically generate visually-appealing step-by-step guides that empower your staff and customers alike.