June 15, 2016
Written by Lori Mankin
If you’re searching for a knowledge sharing software, there are some pretty important things you are probably already looking for, like ease of use and powerful search. However, you may know that the gems of certain softwares can be in the details. Whether you’re looking for new knowledge management software or trying to improve your existing solution these must-haves inspire new ways to connect your users.
1. Promo Bar
A promo bars is a large navigation section at the top of the community. Every knowledge management solution has ways to categorize and organize information so users can find it and a promo bar highlights essential content right at the top. Many admins use it to highlight content that users look for frequently or perhaps content that should be referenced frequently. However, you don’t have to use it exclusively to filter content, you can also use it to promote links outside the knowledge base, like your CRM or your ticketing system. The promo bar can also assist with engagement. For example, many Bloomfire customers display a link to ask questions, which encourages users to seek answers through the knowledge management system.
2. Customized Notifications
It’s essential that your knowledge base has the ability to opt-in to conversations that are important to users and turn off those that are not. These notification settings encourage users to reduce the noise, thus increasing the engagement with content that’s important to them. Nothing is more annoying than excessive email notifications on top of an already swamped inbox. If your knowledge management software has the ability to segment users into teams or groups it may automatically assist with this customization.
3. Cross Posting Across Communities
Cross posting contributions allows you to share information across various segments called “communities” in Bloomfire. Cross posts also automatically sync updates, so you only need to manage posts in one place. Admins love this feature because it ensures content is accessible and up-to-date no matter the community. Bloomfire also has a feature that allows you to separate content so it could be customized for each community giving users two ways to manage their posts.
4. White Label Your Community
White labeling your community allows you to customize your URL and provide your users a seamless experience across their tools. Many clients choose to customize their URL with their corporate domain like learning.yourcompany.com. Some customers also take the opportunity to create an entirely new domain. Admins appreciate this must-have because it helps create a brand around the learning community and increases engagement.
5. Reporting Using Custom Fields
You may notice many of these must-haves revolve around reporting and if you’re an admin you are probably nodding emphatically. The best knowledge base software has custom fields in each user’s profile that are not visible to the user. This allows admins to categorize users in any way they wish. We noticed Bloomfire customers use this feature to segment users by regions or departments. Using advanced reporting exports in conjunction with the customer field allows you to create reports specific to your needs.
6. Boolean Search
Powerful search (that searches within videos and documents) may be the most critical component to a successful knowledge base. Though many solutions have filters, a successful initial search is what gets users the info they need the fastest. Software with Boolean search recognizes symbols, like + for “and,” to narrow results. It also allows users to exclude certain kinds of posts or to find an exact search. This must-have is particularly helpful as a community grows and more content is added.
7. Additional Reporting Available Through an API
If you want MORE REPORTS look for a software with a robust API. It can allow you to pull all-time member reports or all-time content exports. All-time content reports are a great way review content and cleanup your communities outdated materials. You can also pull a complete list of tags, find out who changed a user’s access or who deleted a post.
8. Replying Through Email Notification
Look for a software that allows users to comment on a post or answer a question in the knowledge base by simply replying to the email notification they received. This feature eliminates the need to go into the community, which is particularly useful for sales reps on the road.
9. Custom Reporting Available as a Professional Services
This relates a little more to the partner relationship than the knowledge management solution itself. All knowledge management software has some sort of analytics but you should ask your partner if they offer custom reporting as a professional service. You may find that as an admin your company has specific reporting requirements therefore finding a partner who can work with you on reports tailored to your needs is invaluable.
For Bloomfire, many of these must-haves were the result of customer requests. And many of them have been fine tuned by customer feedback. Whichever knowledge management solution you go with be sure to find a partner that takes feedback seriously and regularly addresses that feedback in the product roadmap.
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