Knowledge Base vs Knowledge Management System – Compare and Contrast
"Knowledge Base vs Knowledge Management System" is a frequently discussed topic. Understanding the distinctions between these two concepts is crucial for effective information and knowledge management within organisations.
A Knowledge Base and Knowledge Management System are closely related concepts, but they serve different roles within an organisation's information and knowledge management processes and frameworks.
In this article, we explore the key differences between a Knowledge Base and a Knowledge Management System, and then dive deeper into how they differ in capabilities and features.
Knowledge Base vs Knowledge Management System - The Key Differences
A knowledge base is an element or database within a broader knowledge management system.
It is a repository of organised information and knowledge that can be easily accessed and searched by users, typically in the form of articles, documents, FAQs, and other structured content.
The primary purpose of a knowledge base is to provide quick and efficient access to specific information or solutions to common problems.
Knowledge Management System
A knowledge management system (KMS) is a software platform designed to facilitate the creation, storage, organisation, retrieval, and sharing of knowledge and information within an organisation.
A KMS encompasses a wide range of tools and processes, including but not limited to knowledge bases.
In addition to knowledge bases, a KMS may include features like document management, collaboration tools, processes, workflows, communication channels, and analytics.
The primary goal of a KMS is to improve knowledge sharing, collaboration, and decision-making across the organisation by connecting people to the right knowledge, expertise, and resources.
Capability Comparison of a Knowledge Base vs Knowledge Management System
A Knowledge Management System is much more than a Knowledge Base. An enterprise-grade KMS like KnowledgeIQ, a solution by Knosys, offers features and capabilities beyond those typically found within a Knowledge Base and enables wide-ranging business benefits.
1. Collaboration features
Traditionally, a knowledge base lacks the capabilities to answer your specific query. That’s because it’s very encyclopaedic and typically only provides data in a single direction.
A KMS can fill the gaps by allowing users to contribute and feedback on the content, something that isn’t offered in a traditional knowledge base. The benefit is that a KMS breaks down information silos by enabling more chances for collaboration.
2. Versioning and up-to-date content
In a Knowledge Base, it is common for users to upload new documents without archiving old information. Multiple copies of documents can be published without proper archiving or numbering leading to confusion on what is the most up to date content. This means Knowledge Bases often have repetitive and conflicting information. Knowledge Bases allow documents to be downloaded onto local devices – which can result in old documents being shared in perpetuity.
A Knowledge Management System provides versioning control. KnowledgeIQ allows users to only view the most recent version of a document, enforcing version control. Only approved users have access to previous versions. KnowledgeIQ does not allow the downloading or printing of documents unless specifically allowed by administrators.
Both Knowledge Bases and Knowledge Management Systems have search functionality. However, the nature of the search is different because of each solution’s’ set-up. Typically, a Knowledge Base has a rudimentary search based on keywords, but if you don’t get those keywords right, you won’t find the answers you are looking for.
KnowledgeIQ's Smart Search has you covered with an intuitive, relevance-based search results for any query. It will find the best match even if the users' search doesn't match specifically to any articles. Knowledge IQ will allow you to create synonyms and stop words to fine-tune search results.
4. Permissions and security
In a Knowledge Base the permissions are generally simple with minimal tiers. If you need several tiers of user permissions, a Knowledge Base won’t suffice. Many Knowledge Bases do not have all-encompassing security groups and permissions.
Alternatively, enterprise KMS platforms allow for robust group and permission capabilities; the ability to categorise content, articles and even singular elements within a given article can be restricted to certain user groups. This allows for multiple users (agents, customers, employees, partners, etc.) to access the same article but only view the content they have the permissions to see. This makes article creation and management much simpler and cleaner, helping to remove duplicate content. This capability is enabled by Single Sign On and other authentication technology that allows organisations to serve the right content to the right people.
5. Information Architecture
Often a Knowledge Base lacks a hierarchical information architecture. The content itself is not categorised accordingly, but instead, is stored on the same level. This creates a poor navigational experience and weakens the findability of content for the broader user base within the organisation.
The underlying foundations of a KMS is a protected site structure which provides a framework that makes it easy for users to find and consume relevant content, either through a navigation or searching. A meaningful site structure creates the best navigation experience and allows a business to facilitate the flow of knowledge clearly and efficiently.
6. Authoring and Governance
Knowledge Bases often struggle to support governance requirements of larger more complex enterprises. They often lack functionality to double-check and approve content changes, so errors can creep in. They don’t always have the ability to notify users of updates, and this can be problematic.
KnowledgeIQ KMS includes sophisticated and configurable publishing and approval workflows to support operational needs for diverse teams or departments. Users receive a message that another author is editing a particular knowledge article thus preventing conflicting actions in real time. In a similar vein, users also receive notifications of changes so the teams are made instantly aware – imperative for customer facing teams.
Most Knowledge Bases will provide some sort of reporting, but this is generally basic – you may just get reports on page views and search queries.
Within KnowledgeIQ there are a wide variety of detailed reports available to support organisations in ensuring the available information is kept optimal. As well as analysing the content you can also use the inbuilt reporting to check peak usage times, analyse engagement across teams, locations, divisions and business units, review feedback data and monitor user behaviour.
A Knowledge Base is an element of a Knowledge Management System. It is a repository of structured information, while a Knowledge Management System is a broader system or framework that includes various tools and processes for managing an organisation's knowledge and promoting effective knowledge sharing and collaboration.
KnowledgeIQ is a scalable Knowledge Management System that helps businesses tackle increasingly complex challenges. With KnowledgeIQ, your information becomes more readily available and collaborative, translating data into practical outcomes.
To find out more on how KnowledgeIQ can help you capture and retain your organisations knowledge. Request a discussion with one of our experienced team members today or download our brochure for more information.