Knowledge Management Software 2020: Complete Guide

What is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge Management is about creating, storing, retrieving and sharing information and knowledge within an organization. The objective of knowledge management is to provide a one-stop-shop repository of information pertaining to the organization’s processes, knowledge, best practices, lessons learned, capabilities and so on. The core of this repository is the insights, experiences, and expertise of individuals serving in the organization that makes it a process-driven than a person driven culture.

What is Knowledge Management Software?

In order to inculcate an effective Knowledge Management culture, organizations adopt the usage of tools and software to capture, store and disseminate knowledge across the board. A robust Knowledge Management (KM) software is the key to integrate all verticals of an organization by means of information sharing.

The information and knowledge in any organization could be diverse, broad and deep across all levels of its existence. It is necessary to have access to such information quickly in a meaningful way, which due to the scattered nature, may not be easy. This is precisely where Knowledge Management software provides the much needed single platform through which you can access the needed information quite easily.

What are the Key Benefits of Knowledge Management Software?

In any organization, a well-organized knowledge management system improves employee efficiency, customer and business satisfaction, and overall service quality. It provides a base for accurate and dependable data.

Data Availability 24x7

Knowledge Management Software supports a central repository of key organizational information such as processes and procedures, the current state of delivery, reusable templates and techniques, standardization of operations, FAQs, self-help guides, metrics for benchmarking your quality of deliverables, dashboards and so on. This provides a consistent and reliable view of this information that would, in turn, enable better customer satisfaction, speedier time to fix, greater productivity and increased collaboration and innovation across all levels of the organization.


Often, business or customer challenges get repeated over a period of time. Therefore, the organization can learn from past experiences, devise mechanisms and solutions to avoid such repeated occurrences and enhance the productivity of its workforce. The KM repository is a valuable source of information that can provide you with fixes to these issues and reduce the repeat factor, standardized documents, best practices, processes, and self-help guides that greatly enable the reuse of organization-wide approved artifacts and reduce the ongoing support effort.

The essence of Management is to make Knowledge productive


Peter Drucker

Management Guru, Author, Speaker

Maintain Organization Continuity

Change is a constant phenomenon and organizations need to have processes and systems in place to have business continuity despite these changes. The changes could be in any dimension, be its new management, new team, new customer or new function to name a few. Through the use of your Knowledge Management System, you do not need to reinvent the wheel as the information is safely stored and organized. Your organizational knowledge stays in one place and current even if people come and go.

What are the Key Benefits of Knowledge Management Software?

Planning and Retrospective

Organizations continuously strive to set new benchmarks in their growth targets, delivery capability and evaluate the evolving business needs. This requires organizations to anticipate the upcoming business trends and transform them into full-scale business opportunities. The past data about winning or losing customers and related root cause analysis help in analyzing how to approach newer opportunities. Lessons learned from past experiences and best practices help a lot to increase employee productivity and customer satisfaction that in turn enhances the net promoter score of organization A well organized and designed KM repository will provide the necessary information to help you with these business decisions. For instance, for any sales opportunity, you can review the past statistics pertaining to planned vs actual sales, sales by demography, what could have been done better for greater sales, how to extrapolate the sales trends in the past and plan for a growth trajectory and so on. The reuse of proven solutions than reinventing the wheel is another aspect where your customer satisfaction can be maintained or enhanced, increasing productivity and thereby better capacity utilization as well.

Who are the users of Knowledge Management Software?

Typically the software is used by any department of an organization.

The KM function head is responsible for the KM strategy, operations and staff that brings about the end to end implementation of the KM system.

The KM manager is the one who plans the KM rollout, identifying the plans of action, coordinates with the dependent departments, gets the required personnel to implement the system and provides the training plans to get everyone up to speed.

All the relevant stakeholders in an organization are part of the KM community who can don different roles while accessing the knowledge base. These roles could be creator, administrator, database analyst, planner, reporting lead, integration specialist and so on. The end-users could be either internal to the organization or external, depending on the need of the KM repository usage.

What are the Business Problems solved by Knowledge Management Software?

As organizations mature and businesses constantly evolve to meet the ever-increasing expectations of the customer, an accurate view of its current baseline of all its functions is of great importance. A robust KM system, therefore, serves as the backbone of any organization to keep pace with the current and future needs. If the use case of sales and marketing is taken into perspective, the KM system provides many benefits.

Reduce Training Time and Continual Learning

The sales representatives front end the engagement with your target customers and hence it is of utmost importance that they are effectively trained to sell your services and products. A good KM repository does precisely this and provides the past and present data points thereby ensuring that the sales representatives understand the customer needs better and are able to tailor customized solutions. They are fully equipped with the customer context which is derived from KMS.

In addition as employees attrite or move to other opportunities within the organization, the KM repository serves as the basis for new employee training thereby reducing the overall time needed to ramp up. This also helps existing employees refine their knowledge levels by leveraging the existing artifacts to bring them up to speed.

Improve Response and Service Time to Customer

A good knowledge base will have all the relevant information to act on customer queries, complaints or new business opportunities. The key is the time to respond and the quicker it is the better for the organization and your customer. Again in the sales paradigm, the sales representatives can independently assess the knowledge base and quickly turnaround the necessary information to the customer thereby increasing their productivity and efficiency.

It is observed that 80% of customers are asking 20% of all questions. It means that most questions were asked before. The KM repository will reduce the sales and support requests by providing similarly already answered questions from your knowledge base to the customers. With further automation, answers can be provided in a self-help manner when there is a sales or support request.

You can also improve customer support quality and efficiency by getting it right the first time. Giving an accurate and professional answer could be as simple as redirecting your customers to one of the Knowledge Base articles.

Process Improvements through Customer Feedback

Customer feedback provides a great channel for gathering information about what could be improved and optimized. A well-designed Knowledge Management System gives you the capability to solicit customer feedback and suggestions in order to get insights into their thought process. These data points could then help to incorporate process improvements, functional changes, align to customer expectations, increase NPR and further enhance your knowledge repository with continuous improvements. You can tune your sales and marketing strategies by aligning to your customer feedback and thereby increasing your strike rate of winning new businesses.

Avoid Siloed Working of Teams

In today’s complex and distributed environment, the teams typically are in different geographies and time zones. It becomes increasingly difficult to be consistent in the way organizations operate, especially the sales and marketing teams that generate business. The knowledge base platform provides a seamless communication channel between the two teams and makes it easier to share product information, sales and marketing promos, industry trends, analytics and so on thereby ensuring that the teams are on the same page and there is no element of surprise.

What are the Key Features of Knowledge Management Software?

What are the Key Features of Knowledge Management Software?

Search and Navigation

Since the KM repository has a vast amount of different types of information, the user needs a good search mechanism to get access to the right information. KM systems can come with a rudimentary search mechanism based on filters or can incorporate a more sophisticated search engine. It also needs to provide good navigation capability. Some of the common navigation mechanisms like tree view, category-based are widely used. The user can search for information through the use of filters to narrow down the results in the KM repository. In addition, the use of artificial intelligence capabilities enhances search experience.

Knowledge is power, but has little value unless it is easily accessed and put into practice


Melany Gallant

Author, Content Manager

Information consolidation

Ability to gather and consolidate disparate and divergent data from different sources and provide a single platform to process this data into meaningful information.

Collaboration and Information dissemination

To enable the stakeholders to collaborate in real-time and be able to share information through different sets of artifacts.

Content Editors

Knowledge Management Software should provide an easy mechanism for content creators to produce content with user-friendly editors, styling tools.

Executive reporting and dashboards

Access the needed information through analytics and dashboards. This provides an end to end view of all data points and enables senior management to make appropriate business decisions

Authentication and Authorization

Provide access control to your knowledge center and set roles and access levels for administrators, managers, and employees. You can also set permissions for internal or external groups of stakeholders who can access the portal.

Centralized storage

Modern Knowledge Management Software are cloud-based solutions that provide a secure and central environment to your organization’s Knowledge Database. However, large enterprises prefer to have an on-premise deployment of Knowledge Management Software.


A key feature of a KMS is to allow customization at different levels of the portal - user interface, integration with other applications, seamless data import/export capability, executive dashboarding and so on

Version control

You will have visibility into who last created, updated and accessed the content. The latest versions are always visible but you can also retrieve the older versions if needed

Buyers Guide - Guide to Choose Right Knowledge Management Software

Choosing the right software will go a long way in creating the capability for knowledge management. The key parameters to be considered during the process of shortlisting the tool are as follows:

Define your company requirements

Who would be the users of the KM system? Will it be used internally or be exposed to external customers as well?

Are you looking for a cloud-based solution or on-premise or a mix of both?

Does the tool provide customization ability and integration layer to connect to other subsystems of the organization?

Features provided by KMS

Evaluate the list of features that the tool provides by default and how much you will need to customize to meet your requirements.

Key features that a typical software vendor will provide are listed in this document but other vendors may provide added features like mobile app solution, unlimited capacity, discounted licensing fees, slice and dice analytics and so on. You need to consider these factors before deciding your final choice of the vendor

How is the user interface implemented for your usage? It needs to be intuitive. Does the interface provide you at a glance how to do basic functions like search, reporting and content management?

Training and Support

Assess the learning curve for the users of the system. Does the company offer good technical support, user support, guides, tutorials and training? Is there an online forum of the user community to share tips and solutions to common problems? Do you have visibility of the product roadmap and upgrade cycles, communication through various channels like voice, email, chat and so on?

Total Cost of Ownership

The cost of implementing a good and robust KMS involves not only the cost of the software but also necessary infrastructure to deploy and the people who are required to maintain it. Cloud-based solutions would have lesser overheads and be more suited to mid-tier companies. But companies who need an on-premise solution need to consider additional costs.

Also, investment in KMS is a long term decision and hence ongoing cost would have a bearing.

What are the challenges in adopting Knowledge Management Software?

You have to ascertain whether you have the need to invest in formal Knowledge Management Software considering the size of your company, the complexity of the projects undertaken and the diversity of the departments involved in the overall workflow. How does the manual effort currently function and does it necessitate the need for automation?

Knowledge Management is a means, not an end


Bill Gates


Training and rollout to all relevant stakeholders are of prime importance in adopting the software. Each and every stakeholder should be comfortable with using the software on the expected lines.

The software vendor needs to have a good track record of technical and user-based support and training for the users of the software. As stated above, this could pose a major challenge if not given its due importance.

For the first time users of the Knowledge Management System, they should brace for resistance from people within and outside the organization. The organization must use a top-down approach to communicate the benefits and value of the KM system in terms of efficiency, productivity and cost savings. This management of change is extremely important to ensure that all the involved stakeholders are on the same page.

Once the system is in place, the other challenges will be around keeping the momentum going, ensuring that all stakeholders understand its value and accepting it as part of their work and always keep it current and relevant. Often, KM is considered as a peripheral activity and hence needs constant motivation, incentives, and senior management support,

Trends in the Knowledge Management System?

Social Media

The use of social media is very widespread and provides a rich source of information that can be mined for usable knowledge. The Knowledge Management System can integrate with the social media and leverage the content for the organization’s benefit

Business Intelligence and Analytics

The latest BI tools and technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can handle large data sets and thus enable the processing of patterns, trends, insights, and other useful information. Organizations that harness such BI tools for their knowledge management will have a better success rate with their business decisions, productivity, and operational efficiencies.

KM Maturity Model

KM Maturity Model is a structured approach to implement a Knowledge Management System. It would be helpful if you are able to arrive at an analysis of your current and to-be state of knowledge management. How does your KM system measure against the industry models and frameworks? Your assessment would indicate the current maturity state and you can then plan for improvements to the system for higher maturity

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