You know there is a communication problem with your team. Knowledge is siloed and experts end up devoting a large part of their day answering questions. You know you need to keep your team connected and foster a positive, open culture. But how do you solve that problem?
There are two distinct paths many organizations go down as they try to address this common problem: the knowledge base and the social intranet.
What Is a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is software for organizing knowledge in a way that is traditionally used to support a specific team or project. The term knowledge base dates back to the ’70s, when programmers recognized the need to structure data in an object-oriented way, beyond flat data. Users can type in their question, and a well designed knowledge base will start to answer that question for them as they type, eliminating duplicate content. Knowledge bases can be helpful in a point solution, where users need to solve specific on-the-job questions, but traditional knowledge base software can seem flat and outdated for many modern workforces.
What Is a Social Intranet?
A social intranet allows users to engage around user-generated topics, very similar to a social network for your office. Social intranets attempt to modernize traditional intranet systems by allowing broader authorship and allowing for people to connect with the authors of content via comments. However, they often fail to provide a framework that allows users to quickly answer questions. They therefore fail to keep users coming back and can often fall short on adoption and engagement metrics. Social intranets can also foster collaboration and connect teams; however, they often fail to organize information in a meaningful manner.
When evaluating these two solutions, ask yourself these questions:
Are You Trying To Organize Existing Content?
While both tools connect employees, a knowledge base is better suited to organize existing knowledge that may be stored in an outdated, file sharing system. To make a knowledge base implementation successful, you will have to devote time to setting up your platform and educating users around best practices for categorizing and finding content.
Are You Trying To Improve Employee Engagement?
If engagement is your only goal, a social intranet is probably a better choice. However, many social intranets face the same challenges as traditional intranets: that no one likes their intranet and they fail to become the central hub their champions envisions. While a social intranet may solve employee engagement issues, you probably also care about distributing the knowledge that is important to your business.
Suggestion: Take It A Step Further
You may be asking yourself if you can have the best of both worlds. If you are looking for a solution that has the organizational qualities of a knowledge base and the engagement of a social intranet, solutions such as Bloomfire and Jive may be your answer. These solutions have the ability to take your PDFs, videos, and institutional knowledge and make them easier to find, plus they give you the engagement of a social intranet.
To check out more about modernizing your knowledge sharing solution in the digital workplace, check out our eBook, “The New Social Intranet: How We Collaborate in the Digital Age.”