Why Free Knowledge Management Software Isn’t Enough

Lori Mankin
3 mins
Free knowledge management software

More and more companies are implementing knowledge management strategies into their day-to-day routines. If you haven’t explicitly thought about it before now, you likely have something in place, be it physical (like a filing cabinet of information) or digital (like a shared folder system or intranet). Since you’ve landed here, it is probably a safe assumption that you’re looking for a new, more efficient way to share resources and communicate efficiently surrounding that company knowledge.

When a company is looking at how to improvement knowledge management, a common question is asked: “Why should we pay for a digital information hub when there are so many free knowledge management software solutions out there?”

Free knowledge management software only offers a very basic introduction to the digital transformation your company needs to succeed. Making the investment into a software solution that can manage all of your company data and communications in one place shows a return on investment quickly.

Simplicity Is Essential To Adoption

When you are implementing a brand new strategy to your department or entire company, immediate employee adoption is key to its success. You need to find a solution that is comprehensive enough to store, curate, search, and share all company knowledge, but also, when introduced, is intuitive enough for your employees to use.

If you or your IT department looks closely at free knowledge management software, you’ll see that they often consist of multiple components bootstrapped together to make one software solution. That might work for basic use, but it does not allow for room to grow. Additionally, if the components were not designed to work together, this will cause problems, especially when customization is required. And, when your users have a poor first experience, they won’t come back.

Investing in a digital information hub for your knowledge management and company communication needs means getting all of the functionality you need in one consistent experience. Developers of knowledge management software have configured these technologies with user experience in mind. Therefore, it is important to invest in a solution that is easy for your team to navigate and is something they are excited to use.

Customization For Specific Case Use

No two companies are the same, meaning companies are going to have unique needs and requirements. Free software might be customizable by an IT expert, but it won’t be seamless. The coding is often a mess, with a mix of different components all by different individuals. And if you are hoping for help in customizing a free solution, you’ll be lucky if the developer provides it. You’re on your own to make the solution fit, or to make your needs fit the software.

With a paid knowledge management solution, a dedicated team is available, ensuring there are solutions for individual use-cases. When it works as a single solution, with a team of developers who are always working to better the software and another team dedicated to helping you create the experience you need, customization for your case use won’t be a problem.

Free Knowledge Management Software Can’t Scale With You

Investing in the right knowledge management solution is investing in greater efficiencies, increased productivity and, ultimately, company growth. You will want to invest in a solution that can grow with you, not one that you will outgrow.

One of the most common overlooked areas when you first look at a solution is scalability. Free knowledge management software might feel like it works for your organization at the beginning, but, as the number of users grows and your company’s needs change, that free solution will likely feel a little small. In the end, this means spending more time and money researching another solution, migrating your knowledge to that new solution, and training your team on yet another software.

When you invest in knowledge management, you will be working with a solution and team who knows that growth is in your future. Knowledge sharing, communication, and curation is a solution that all teams can use, not just small or large companies. It’s all a matter of how you deploy the strategy.

You don’t want to invest in a solution that ends up being the wrong choice. If your employees find it difficult and refuse to use it, or it doesn’t fit your organization perfectly, think of the time and money wasted on the implementation and training. Changing your knowledge management strategy takes a lot of work, so make sure you invest wisely the first time.

June 20, 2017

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