A Comprehensive Analysis of Knowledge Sharing Tools

Looking to have a knowledge-sharing platform in your organization? Here are the essential steps to follow. Read to find out.

December 1, 2023
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The multifaceted approach of the modern work environment greatly demands the timely and efficient exchange of valuable information, and knowledge-sharing platforms play a pivotal role in bringing this to life. 

Effective and productive knowledge sharing in the workplace is an invaluable asset. Consequently, knowledge-sharing platforms play critical roles by serving as conduits for information exchange. They also foster workplace collaboration and innovation. Through knowledge-sharing tools, the process of transferring information, ideas, insights, expertise, and experience within an organization is seamless. 

That’s why it’s important to explore knowledge-sharing platforms. Know how they work, why they matter, and their impact on fostering a global connection of people and ideas.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into knowledge-sharing platforms, highlighting their importance, features, and benefits. Also, we’ll break down the process of creating one.

Let’s delve right into it.

What’s A Knowledge-Sharing Platform?

A knowledge-sharing platform is a centralized digital portal for creating, exchanging, storing, and retrieving vital company resources. It principally functions as an organization’s information repository.

It is a virtual hub for employees to communicate and collaborate using knowledge transfer options, including discussion forums and document sharing. This helps to facilitate quick dissemination of all knowledge forms within an organization

Also, a knowledge-sharing platform has a net positive effect on an organization. It is a prerequisite for improving productivity and fostering a culture of information exchange amongst an organization’s workforce. 

What’s The Purpose Of A Knowledge Sharing Platform?

A knowledge-sharing platform is instrumental to an organization. It helps to mediate the curation, classification, exchange, and application of resources and information. 

Its main objectives include:

  1. Facilitate knowledge-sharing.
  2. Centralize the organization’s information.
  3. Streamline the organization’s workflow. 
  1. Facilitate knowledge-sharing 

A knowledge-sharing tool serves the purpose of helping to develop a collaborative work environment where employees are encouraged to share innovative ideas, insights, and expertise with other members of the organization.

It also completely demystifies productivity constraints of information silos, poor communication, and technological deficits by providing a single system for seamless sharing of knowledge and resources.

  1. Centralize the organization’s information. 

Another purpose knowledge-sharing platforms serve is to present an organization’s information sequentially and organized, enabling ease of accessibility and retrieval. 

Knowledge-sharing tools employ a system of tags and meta-data to break down a large amount of an organization’s information into a series of interconnected subgroups. As a result, employees tend to spend less time looking up any content on the platform. 

Additionally, a centralized repository reduces the incidence of content duplication and ensures accurate, industry-compliant information is handy.

  1. Streamlines the organization’s workflow. 

A knowledge-sharing platform also plays the role of a knowledge transfer platform.

Many knowledge transfer platforms have task management features that enable HR managers to monitor the implementation of assigned tasks. This ensures that all an organization’s workforce members keep to their task deadlines and work towards fulfilling the company’s goals.

Also, the extensive integrative feature offered by most knowledge-sharing platforms further helps set up a streamlined workflow.

What Are Key Knowledge-Sharing Platform Features?

The ideals of knowledge-sharing are most effective when organizations use the proper knowledge-sharing tools. 

Factors such as company objectives, budget, workforce size, and needs play active roles in determining which knowledge-sharing platform to choose. 

However, when selecting a knowledge-sharing tool, there are vital functionalities to look out for before making a decision. They include:

  1. Content Sharing and Collaboration.
  2. Discussion Forums and Communities.
  3. Search and Discovery.
  4. User Profiles and Expertise Mapping.
  5. Extensive integrations.
  6. Version control. 
  7. Comprehensive reporting and analysis. 
  1. Content sharing and collaboration

The platform’s ability to facilitate smooth communication and collaboration among team members indicates its capacity to boost productivity.

Furthermore, the collaborative features of most knowledge-sharing tools permit team members to work together on a document in real-time, improving efficiency and team cohesiveness.

The best teams work most cohesively when managers build a knowledge-sharing culture by encouraging team members to share knowledge with each other.

  1. Discussion forums and communities

Sharing knowledge with others doesn’t necessarily have to be done formally. It can also occur through informal settings, such as discussion forums and communities of practice. These are virtual hubs available on knowledge platforms where employees can share perspectives on issues and craft innovative solutions, helping to foster a workplace that supports diverse views. 

Also, they effectively instill a sense of togetherness amongst an organization’s workforce.

Knowledge-sharing tools like Assembly offer a dedicated Q&A segment where employees can simultaneously drop in comments and questions and obtain feedback. Try it Today.

  1. Search and discovery

High search functionality is another key feature of an effective knowledge-sharing platform. According to a study by Panopto, an average of 60% of the employees surveyed, noted that they often have difficulties seeking the information they need.

Sadly, when employees find looking up information stored on a knowledge-sharing platform challenging, they’re less likely to engage with it. So, a knowledge-sharing platform that boasts advanced search features of query filters, metadata, document tagging, and organization is a good choice. 

This is because these search functionalities enhance content visibility on the organization’s knowledge repository.

  1. User profiles and expertise mapping

An ideal knowledge-sharing platform permits the creation of personalized user profiles by employees. Also, it uses information contained in these personalized portals to link employees with experts in their respective fields who also work within the same organization as they do.

Accordingly, knowledge seeking within an organization becomes more specific and directed; basically, employees know who to meet to seek additional information and clarity on a particular work-related subject.

  1. Extensive integrations

Integration is one box that must be ticked when choosing a knowledge-sharing tool, particularly in today’s business world, where the process of sharing knowledge in the workplace is best done seamlessly.

A knowledge-sharing platform should easily integrate with an organization's pre-existing IT infrastructure and a host of workflow tools, including project management tools. This helps to maintain workflow standards, promotes widespread use, and reduces the need to dismantle the prior software ecosystem of an organization. 

Additionally, the mobile-friendliness of a knowledge-sharing platform should also be reflected. How well it can adapt to mobile devices is a good measure of integration and accessibility. A recent study showed that Americans spend roughly 4 hours and 25 minutes daily on their mobile phones. 

Hence, it’s best to use a knowledge-sharing platform readily available on any device; mobile phones, laptops, tablets, or workstations. This ensures quick and effective knowledge sharing, enabling employees to execute tasks efficiently when on the go or comfortably seated at their desks.

  1. Version control 

This feature is needed to guarantee the accuracy and reliability of content created and exchanged on knowledge-sharing software. 

A version control function helps track changes made on certain documents, keeping notes of the date the changes were effected and reasons for the edits. This helps to rule out possibilities of mixups and redundancies arising from outdated information.

Additionally, to avoid just anyone making these edits, particularly non-employees, it’s good to confirm if your choice knowledge-sharing tool has an inbuilt access control mechanism. This enables an organization to set access credentials while determining who can contribute and change content on the platform. The essence is to prevent sensitive company information from getting leaked and also safeguard the integrity of an organization’s repository.

  1. Comprehensive reporting and analysis 

Analytics is every knowledge-sharing platform's selling point. Therefore, select a sharing tool that offers the most rigorous analytics reporting to unlock the full benefits of knowledge sharing. 

This enables in-depth tracking of tool usage, complete identification of content with high engagement rates, and employees who frequently contribute relevant information to the pool of resources shared on the platform. 

These data help to inform and guide appropriate content modifications and refinements in response to how employees interact with the software.

What’s An Example Of A Knowledge Management Platform?

An excellent example of a knowledge-sharing software is Assembly. It’s a comprehensive communication and collaboration tool that allows teams and organizations to exchange ideas, information, experiences, and expertise in real-time.

Assembly provides an organization with a one-stop knowledge base for quickly creating and sharing resources. Its features include:

  • High search functionality, which enables employees to retrieve information contained in the knowledge base
  • An idea portal where fresh and innovative ideas from employees can be exquisitely evaluated, fine-tuned, and developed into a fail-safe project
  • A dedicated news feed where employees can read and post relevant content 
  • A suite of insightful productivity templates specific to different workflow aspects, guaranteeing its maximum use
  • Advanced analytical reporting that serves as insights for informed decision-making

What Are The Benefits Of Knowledge-Sharing Platforms?

Effective knowledge sharing is beneficial to an organization in several ways. It is the most powerful catalyst for improving the performance of an organization. 

The benefits of knowledge-sharing platforms include:

  1. Enhanced Learning and Skill Development
  2. Fostering Innovation and Problem-Solving
  3. Improved Decision-Making
  4. Knowledge Retention and Organizational Growth
  5. Boost employee engagement 
  1. Enhanced learning and skill development 

Knowledge-sharing tools practically serve as a vehicle to drive an organization's training and development efforts. It provides a platform for organizations to deliver training modules, store learning materials, and connect employees with learning opportunities that align with their areas of expertise and interest.

Additionally, knowledge-sharing tools are vital assets during employee onboarding. They ease introducing new employees to a company’s culture, policies, and workflow since new hires can access all essential company information on the platform with less difficulty.

Furthermore, most knowledge-sharing platforms enable tracking of employees’ training progress so organizations can know the level of their workforce expertise. 

To encourage continuous learning on the platform, it’s good practice to incentivize top-performing employees. Assembly has a host of solutions you can try.

  1. Fostering innovation and problem-solving 

A knowledge-sharing platform enhances teamwork and overall organizational productivity by providing an avenue for employees to brainstorm and develop effective problem-solving strategies.

  1. Improved decision making 

One of the purposes of knowledge-sharing tools is to optimize the standards of decision-making in an organization.

Practically, the wealth of insights knowledge-sharing platforms make available to an organization significantly influences the quality of decision-making exhibited by an organization’s workforce and its leadership.

In essence, since all the information needed can be gotten from an organization’s knowledge platform without delay, employees and team leaders alike can take a more informed approach in any given situation. 

  1. Knowledge retention and organizational growth 

A knowledge transfer platform is a good way to preserve essential company information and resources. It can serve as an organization’s memory, helping to curate and store key industry-specific knowledge and preventing knowledge gaps that can arise due to the exit of experienced personnel.

Moreover, the repository of valuable resources built up by contributions from employees on these platforms is a recipe for continual growth and development of an organization.

  1. Boost employee engagement 

An efficient knowledge-sharing platform is a key solution to low employee engagement.

Knowledge-sharing platforms that facilitate good communication between employees foster collaboration and advance their professional development, helping to instill a sense of community and togetherness among an organization’s employees. As a result, employees are motivated and show more commitment. 

How Do You Make A Knowledge-Sharing Platform?

Considering a knowledge platform's immense impact on an organization’s performance, it’s worth noting that incorporating it into the company’s workflow will always be a great investment.

Setting up a knowledge platform involves several steps, including:

  1. Define objectives. 
  2. Select a knowledge-sharing tool. 
  3. Design content architecture.
  4. Pre-test knowledge platform.
  5. Deploy knowledge platform.
  1. Define objectives

First off, it’s essential to clearly lay out the goals of the knowledge platform you intend to set up. Have a good idea of what you want to achieve with it; 

  • Is it geared towards enhancing employee job satisfaction?
  • Is it solely to exchange experience and skills?
  • Is it aimed at boosting customer relationships?

What’s more crucial is to clearly understand the knowledge platform objectives, as this will guide and inform your decisions as you progress.

Also, during this step, you determine the knowledge type and the target users of the platform.

  1. Select a knowledge-sharing tool

What follows is to choose a knowledge-sharing tool that aligns with your objectives, with functionalities capable of fulfilling already defined goals. You can also consider opting for a custom-built knowledge platform.

The decision to build or buy ultimately comes down to carefully evaluating factors such as ease of scalability, search functionalities, organizational needs, and collaboration capabilities.

  1. Design content architecture 

Here, you formulate a content framework that ensures an organized presentation of information on the knowledge platform,

In this phase, HR teams reach a consensus on appropriate information subset categories and suitable tagging strategies to enhance content accessibility. 

Once the information architecture is set, creating highly resourceful, relevant, and accurate content specific to your organization’s peculiar needs can kickstart. 

Promoting employee engagement content on the platform should be in different formats: text, video tutorials, infographics, and live news feeds. Additionally, knowledge-sharing best practices require conducting routine content architecture audits to maintain knowledge platform viability.

  1. Pre-test knowledge platform

This is a necessary prerequisite when setting up a knowledge platform. It entails pre-launching the platform amongst employees to obtain feedback on its acceptance and impact. 

Also, pre-testing provides an opportunity to train employees on knowledge platform use, navigation, and features; having an instruction manual for this will be great. 

In addition, conducting prior user testing enables prompt identification of aspects needing modifications before the full launch.

  1. Deploy knowledge platform 

When all the necessary improvements are made, and employees are well-familiarized with the platform, you can fully deploy it. 

To ramp up continual use, advocate for the knowledge platform to use existing internal communication technologies and email campaigns

Furthermore, leverage analytics to monitor and evaluate platform usage, trends, most engaged content, and employees’ usage experiences. This feedback can help refine the workings of your knowledge platform. 

Basically, make it a priority to improve content, structure, and capabilities using regular feedback.

Building A Knowledge-Sharing Culture With The Right Tools

The journey to building a knowledge-sharing culture with the right tools is a strategic investment in the growth and resilience of your organization. As we reflect on the significance of fostering a collaborative and productive work environment, it’s evident that using the correct tools and techniques play a vital role. 

With the right tools, organizations can empower their teams, break down silos, and create a dynamic ecosystem where information flows seamlessly. 

Likewise, knowledge-sharing platforms fundamentally act as key facilitators of information sharing among employees, serving as invaluable tools for individuals and organizations seeking to leverage a company's collective expertise and experience. 

In other words, a highly functional, easy-to-use, versatile, and adaptable knowledge-sharing tool inspires knowledge-sharing in every aspect of the workflow.

Thinking of where and how to begin your journey on the right knowledge-sharing tools, start here. Book a Free Demo Today.

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