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

Written by Rachel Alexander

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). Half-way 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 you had 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 also face this 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), 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, and Dropbox, 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 repository. 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.

When comparing content management vs knowledge management, it is arguable 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.

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.

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