Content Management vs Knowledge Management: What’s the Difference?

Rachel Alexander
Rachel Alexander
3 mins
content management vs knowledge management

When thinking about content management vs knowledge management, it’s helpful to imagine the set of tools you might use for a home project.

Thanks to HGTV, it is probably safe to say that many of us have attempted a DIY project – the professionals make it look so easy. You purchase all the supplies and tools and block off a weekend (or two). Halfway through the project, you realize some of the wood was measured and cut wrong, requiring some extra work. You believe a circular saw can do the trick – it’s all you have.

While the circular saw may have done the job, going back to the store and buying that jigsaw would have probably made your life a little easier, saved you time, and resulted in a better product.

Content Management vs Knowledge Management

Organizations face a similar challenge when it comes to choosing tools to manage information. This is where the debate of content management vs knowledge management begins. Many organizations use content management solutions (a circular saw). Others leverage knowledge management solutions (a jigsaw), and some use both. However, while they might be similar, the truth is they are quite different.

Content Management

Content management tools function as the overarching repository where companies store information. According to KMWorld, the purpose of content management is to manage projects, websites, web pages, and documents. These tools require a developer to build and possibly an IT team to maintain. Tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box all arguably do this as well. But either way, content management is very one dimensional.

Some organizations will configure their system to be dual purpose and act as the company intranet. While this is possible, it could pose a set of challenges relating to scalability, information retention, and user adoption. Content management tools are essential to organizational success but are not always the best tool for every job.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management (KM) is more multidimensional, with the ability to search for, capture, update, and maintain relevant information all in a single platform. Anyone can curate or update information in real-time, sparking conversation and collaboration among peers and departments. Think of KM as a subset of content management that specializes in knowledge distribution.

When comparing content management vs knowledge management, you could argue that both systems can store a 200-page training document, but only knowledge management systems can help capture the interaction and institutional knowledge that surrounds that document. These systems can help you identify experts, and then capture their knowledge so your entire company can benefit from it.

However, just like any other tool, KM poses its own challenges. Dbkay + Associates explains that one of the biggest obstacles to overcome with knowledge management is getting employees to integrate it into their day-to-day duties. If employees aren’t actively capturing and curating information, there is a problem. A KM system will become stagnant, causing you to go backwards as it relates to creating efficiencies to help employees be successful and potentially drive change.

One way that many companies overcome this challenge of stagnation is by choosing a KM system that integrates with tools their employees use every day, such as Slack, Salesforce, and Zendesk. When a KM system seamlessly integrates with tools that are part of an employee’s daily workflow, the employee is more likely to adopt (and continue to use) the KM system.

Content management vs knowledge management is an ongoing conversation, and the truth is, they are interconnected. But for these two tools to work together, a knowledge management strategy is imperative. Stay tuned for our next blog post as we dive into what this type of strategy entails and whether or not just a strategy is enough to drive change.

June 5, 2017

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