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How to build an effective knowledge management system
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How to build an effective knowledge management system in 5 steps

A headshot of Elaine Keep
Elaine Keep
19th January, 2024
5 min read
Stacked wooden blocks engraved with symbols representing knowledge management
A headshot of Elaine Keep
Elaine Keep
19th January, 2024
5 min read
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What is knowledge management?
What is a knowledge management system?
How to build a knowledge management system
Final tips

Want to build a knowledge management system but don’t know where to begin? Read on to see how to unlock the power of an effective KMS with our step-by-step guide.

In this guide, you'll see how to define your goals and select the tools to build a solid knowledge management strategy. If you're a Confluence user and you want to get straight into it, you can read our guide on creating a Confluence knowledge base.

What is knowledge management?

Knowledge management is the process of organising and sharing information so it’s easily accessible within an organisation. This helps to prevent files and knowledge from being lost in day-to-day operations or when employees leave the business.
An effective knowledge management process is crucial to a culture of collaborative work management - sharing knowledge helps reduce wasted time and boost opportunities for innovation. The best way to do this is by using a knowledge management system.

What is a knowledge management system?

A knowledge management system (KMS) is a way to implement a knowledge management process into a business using tools, software or documentation, which employees or customers can share, add to and use. A KMS will optimise the capture, organisation, storage and distribution of company knowledge.

How to build a knowledge management system

Now you know why to use a knowledge management system, let's explore how to create one (and our top tips).

1. Define your knowledge management goals

Before you implement a system, you need to identify the primary objectives for your business. These are usually found in the following list:
  • To avoid expensive mistakes or duplication of work
  • To create a community where users share ideas and solutions
  • To have a hands-off way for employees or customers to access knowledge
  • To offer a way for customers or knowledge workers to learn about your features, updates, products and services without needing a representative,
  • To become more innovative as a business through feedback and better roadmaps
  • To get ahead of your competition with relevant research

2. Assess your organisation's current knowledge assets

You don't have to start from scratch when you build a knowledge management system if you can take the time to see what knowledge you have already and where people are finding it. An audit involving interviews, surveys, and polls can help you explore precisely where information is and what gaps you have.

3. Choose the right knowledge management tools

A leading knowledge base platform is an asset only if you select tools that align with your organisation's goals, allowing you to scale with you as you grow. Don't settle for a document management system that can only store and share files, a learning management system that will only support the learning process, or a CRM that doesn't offer customisation.
Full disclosure: Kolekti makes apps for Confluence, Atlassian's knowledge management and project collaboration software tool.

Functionality to consider:

  • Robust search - reduced time searching for info
  • Engagement and collaboration - ways to ensure these are encouraged
  • Analytics and Reporting - ways to analyse success
  • Customised to your organisation and scalable
  • Integrated into your 3rd party systems (email, CRM, CMS)
  • Worldwide access
  • Multiple file types are accepted.
  • Feedback collection ability
  • User-friendly interfaces
  • Access controls - ensure safety at sign-in with a rollback option.

4. Create a knowledge management strategy

If you're ready to implement a knowledge management system, you need a well-defined strategy first, and you need to develop the right company culture.

Developing a Knowledge-Sharing Culture

You need a culture that welcomes knowledge sharing, or your systems will fail. You need to reward employees who use the knowledge management system, ensure you reiterate the benefits of sharing business intelligence often, and explain the process of using the knowledge management system from the onboarding stage.
(Remember to update your onboarding documents!)

5. Implement your knowledge management system

You've laid the groundwork - now's the time to put your knowledge management strategy in action:
  1. Run an audit of the information you have at present.
  2. Identify blind spots and purchase or develop a system.
  3. Add your business knowledge to the system in a relevant hierarchy.
  4. Launch, ensuring that the knowledge-sharing culture is embedded in your business.
  5. Train, monitor and improve based on feedback.

We can't emphasise enough the benefits and the substantial positive impact of such a system on organisational efficiency and innovation!

Our final tips

  • Schedule a bi-annual survey for all users of the knowledge management system.
  • Change the look and feel of the knowledge base regularly.
  • Ask more junior members of the team for their input and fresh insights.

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Written by
A headshot of Elaine Keep
Elaine Keep
Content Writer
Elaine has established herself as a respected authority in the HR industry and uses her experience gained as the head of marketing in the employee rewards and recognition software sector to inform her reporting.