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Knowledge Management Tools

Knowledge Management Tools

So what's out there?


Well, it'll change as quickly as I can write it. AI is moving faster than anyone can keep up with. Technologies like ChatGPT and Bard are changing daily and are already incredibly valuable tools for assisting analysts with knowledge and troubleshooting suggestions.



A brain in a book

However, I focus here on tools that capture human knowledge, specifically within the team, and allow others to utilise it.


There are plenty of knowledge management tools and solutions that can help. I'm going to summarise just three. This is not an endorsement because everyone needs to make their own evaluations and see what fits their scenario.


Remember, there are software comparison sites, as outlined in the section on selecting and evaluating an ITSM tool. These can be used to get a sense of the market. Sadly, there isn't a Gartner Magic Quadrant report for Knowledge Management, as the features aren't standardised enough to allow for it.


Here is a couple I've used.



confluence logo

Over and over, people have raved about their love for Confluence to me. It's great, but it will only be as good as the knowledge put into it. I believe the old saying is 'garbage in, garbage out'. So, it won't fix everything for you, but I like it. If you've not seen it, it's basically like a Wiki site, but there is much more to it.


Confluence is good for organising and centralising information. For example, you can effortlessly search for articles, and it's pretty simple for people to add articles themselves. In addition, there are excellent features like team co-editing, commenting, and tracking changes.


It also integrates with other Atlassian products, such as Jira, so you can link workflows in Jira Service Management with articles in Confluence, which can be pretty slick.


But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Confluence can be overwhelming for new users, so getting everyone up to speed might take effort. Also, it can be a bit pricey compared to other options, so it's something to consider if you're on a tight budget.



SharePoint Logo

I mention SharePoint because it's something many organisations already have. As an integrated part of the Microsoft 365 environment, it fits well if you are part of that ecosystem, which potentially means a low barrier to adoption.


However, the collaboration aspects, such as co-authoring on documents, version control and permissions management, means there needs to be a strong reason for moving away from it, which there may well be, especially if you want some of the other features to integrate directly with your ITSM solution.


It has a host of features for creating and managing knowledge resources, such as wikis, document libraries, and lists.


However, SharePoint does have some drawbacks. Setting up and configuring can be somewhat complex, especially if you're trying to tailor the platform to your specific needs. This might require additional IT resources or specialised knowledge, hindering smaller organisations. Additionally, while SharePoint does offer some out-of-the-box templates and web parts, customisation options can be limited compared to other knowledge management tools like Confluence.


Finally, SharePoint's user interface may feel less modern and less user-friendly than some competitors, potentially impacting the overall user experience.

I strongly suspect that introducing features like the AI "co-pilot" to 365 will be game-changing as a part of that wider ecosystem.



Guru logo

Guru is designed with a focus on simplicity and ease of use, which makes it particularly appealing for teams looking for a straightforward solution.


Its browser extension and integrations with tools like Slack, Zendesk, and Salesforce enable team members to quickly access relevant information right where they're working, improving efficiency and reducing the time spent searching for answers.

Its search functionality is robust, and like Grammarly, it can proactively provide relevant suggestions and surface content. Moreover, the platform is designed to support real-time collaboration, allowing users to co-edit, comment, and track changes on the go, ensuring that knowledge stays up-to-date and accurate.


However, while the tool's simplicity is a significant selling point, it may also limit its functionality and customisation options compared to more comprehensive solutions like Confluence or SharePoint.


A Table of Comparison

Feature

Confluence

SharePoint

Guru

Ease of Use


Moderate

Moderate

High

Collaboration Features

Strong

Strong

Moderate

Integration Capabilities

Strong (Atlassian)

Strong (Microsoft)

Moderate

Customization Options


High

High

Moderate

Version Control

Yes

Yes

Yes

Access Control

High

High

High

Search Funcationality

Good

Good

Good

Workflow & Automation

Limited

Strong

Limited

Analytics & Reporting

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Mobile App

Yes

Yes

Yes

Pricing

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate


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About the author

Hi, I'm Alan, and have been working within the IT sector for over 30 years.

For the last 15 years, I've focused on IT Governance, Information Security, Projects and Service Management across various styles of organisations and markets.

I hold a degree in Information Systems, ITIL Expert certificate, PRINCE2 Practitioner and CISMP (Information Security Management).

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