Corporate Wiki vs. Knowledge Base: Your 2024 Guide

wiki vs internal knowledge base software

Have you ever been lost in a sea of company documents, not knowing where to find a particular piece of information? Or maybe, you’ve found multiple versions of the same document and can’t figure out which one’s the most recent?

We live in a time of abundant information. Companies produce and consume data at an astounding rate. In fact, global data creation is projected to grow more than 180 zettabytes by 2025. It’s no wonder why the need for organized and easily accessible information has never been more pressing.

But with this wealth of information comes a challenge: How do you manage, store, and share it effectively?

corporate wiki software for knowledge management

As businesses grow, so does their data. Employee training manuals, company policies, product details, and a myriad of other documents are created daily. The ability to quickly access and disseminate this data can make or break a company’s efficiency.

Among an organization’s most valuable assets is their data. This includes proprietary knowledge, business processes, and any other piece of data that provides the company with a competitive edge.

However, there’s a difference between data and company information. While data represents raw facts and figures, company information is an evolved version of this, having been processed, interpreted, and contextualized to provide meaningful insights. Simply put, if data is the raw material, then company information is the masterpiece crafted from it.

Over time, organizations accumulate and process more and more information, which can significantly inform and influence business decisions. As a result, a sophisticated knowledge management system becomes imperative. Not only does such a system safeguard the company’s invaluable assets, but it also helps in sustaining the company’s competitive position.

Yet, the true worth of corporate information doesn’t lie solely in the information itself. It’s actually about the actions driven by this information and how it’s leveraged. This leads to another critical aspect of managing information: storing it efficiently. A strategic storage system ensures that company knowledge is readily accessible to drive the desired outcomes for your business.

What is a traditional corporate wiki?

traditional company wikis

A corporate wiki, also known as company wiki, acts as a central hub where your organization can dump, share, and organize a collage of content. Your organization’s corporate wiki is like a reservoir for holding everything from the staple employee handbooks and internal processes, to the nitty-gritty of project plans and the ins and outs of onboarding checklists.

Now, here’s the twist: everyone in the company, from the CEO to the new hire, can dive into this pool and either add a splash of their own knowledge or tweak what’s already there. Think of it as an exclusive club’s version of Wikipedia; only this club’s membership is restricted to company employees.

Benefits of traditional corporate wiki

  • Universal access: Corporate wikis act as a central repository system for all company information and documents. This makes information accessible and searchable to all, which can save employees a lot of time as they can find what they are looking for by themselves first before creating a ticket or reaching out for support.
  • Safety and productivity: Company wiki is a space to spread the word about essential company processes that champion both safety and productivity. Teams can regularly update processes and share best practices, which will start to build a culture of ongoing improvement in your business.
  • Cross-departmental collaboration: Thanks to the collaborative nature of the content creation within a company wiki, employees generate and edit content as part of their organizational roles. This way, employees are encouraged to work together and collaborate, which, in turn, boost their productivity.

Drawbacks of traditional corporate wiki

Let’s face it, nothing’s perfect.

  • A little too freeform: Wikis can quickly turn into a chaotic mess without a guiding hand.
  • Who wrote this, anyway?: With everyone being an author, reviewing content can feel a bit like herding cats.
  • Finding the needle in the haystack: Searching for specifics can be a tedious hunt, thanks to the barrage of off-topic results.
  • The ageing problem: Wikis can age, and not gracefully. Outdated information? It’s a common offender.
  • Analytics? What analytics?: It’s hard to gauge what’s hitting the mark and what’s falling flat when there’s no way to analyze user interactions.
  • Same old, same old: A lack of customization can leave the look and feel of the wiki a tad stale, leading to dwindling employee engagement.

What is a knowledge base?

using an internal knowledge base for a single source of truth

knowledge base is a structured repository of information designed to store, organize, and facilitate knowledge sharing and retrieval within an organization. 

Unlike corporate wikis, where anyone with a keyboard might fancy themselves as the next great novelist, a knowledge base is more sophisticated, and you’ve got roles here.

There’s the author, and then there are the stakeholders. Each role has its perks, determining what you can see, edit, or share. Imagine the content writing team having their own corner where they can find anything they need, from strategy insights to development details.

Advantages of a knowledge base

  • Quality control: With a knowledge base, there’s no jostling for the mic. Content quality is king, and you decide who wears the crown.
  • Organized, not cluttered: Think of it as a well-stacked library, not a yard sale. Information is at your fingertips, neatly categorized.
  • Insights galore: Fancy some stats with your facts? Robust analytics give you the lowdown on how the team interacts with the knowledge base.
  • Smart search: Looking for something? The top-tier knowledge base systems channel their inner Sherlock with AI-enhanced search functions.
  • Role play: Designate roles, set permissions, and rest easy knowing trusted team members have access to the right intel.
  • Workflow wonder: Seamlessly blends into your current work rhythm, making content updates and gap-filling a breeze.

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Corporate Wiki vs Knowledge Base: Understanding the differences

internal knowledge base software and corporate wikis

At a glance, the terms “Corporate Wiki” and “Knowledge Base” might seem interchangeable, but they’re quite distinct in nature, each having their own strengths and limitations.

Corporate Wiki: Historically, many companies have leaned on internal wikis to manage their company knowledge. It’s essentially a collaborative authoring platform that allows employees to share and edit content.

Knowledge Base: This is a structured platform designed for internal content viewing, editing, and sharing. What sets a knowledge base apart from a company wiki is the organized approach to knowledge sharing. With a knowledge base, content is not only easily searchable but also has clearly defined roles for authors and team members. This structure ensures better knowledge management, enabling users to quickly address content gaps, conduct thorough content reviews, and more.

the difference between corporate wikis and knowledge bases

With corporate wikis, searching for a specific document felt like navigating a maze blindfolded. But the knowledge base these days has transformed this entirely. It ensures that when you search for something, you get precisely what you’re after, without the frustrating detours.

Another issue with the traditional corporate wiki was the lack of editorial hierarchy. Imagine a scenario where everyone has a say, and everyone’s say is final. Chaos, right? The modern knowledge base introduces order to this chaos. Instead of an uncontrolled free-for-all, there’s a defined verification process in place. This guarantees that every piece of information available has been vetted, is accurate, and remains up-to-date. It’s about making sure that when users access data, they’re getting the very best version of it.

Furthermore, while corporate wikis often lack advanced features, the latest knowledge base platforms come packed with sophisticated tools. Whether it’s internal linking, categorization, or content prioritization, these systems offer a refined user experience.

While both tools facilitate internal knowledge sharing, the knowledge base offers a more structured and refined process, making it a go-to choice for many modern companies—especially those with frontline workers who need proper technology to connect them to information.

The shift from corporate wikis to modern knowledge bases is more than just an upgrade; it’s a revolution in how companies manage and access their information.

Emerging trends in knowledge sharing and management

AI-powered knowledge management

AI knowledge management software

The ascent of tools like ChatGPT and other machine learning platforms underscores AI’s expanding role in knowledge management. Not only will this make it easier for users to pinpoint accurate information, but it will also streamline critical business operations. One of the most promising aspects of AI is its potential in data analysis, offering actionable insights for businesses and their clients.

Contextualized learning

The modern era brings forth the trend of contextualized learning, bridging the gap between theory and real-world application. The central idea is that knowledge, when linked to specific scenarios, becomes more impactful and easier to assimilate.

Content tagging

how knowledge management software can organize information and content

Many professionals are already familiar with content tagging, especially those working regularly on content management systems (CMS) like WordPress. Content tagging in a knowledge base can be transformative and a key driver to enable swift collaboration among diverse teams.

Build your knowledge base with Axero

using internal knowledge bases to share knowledge

Are you on the hunt for better productivity and secure retention of your organizational knowledge? A knowledge base is your answer. The strategic choice of software can encourage employee participation, strengthen team bonds, and guarantee adherence to standards.

As you navigate the landscape of knowledge base solutions, make sure you fully understand the features each one boasts. Settle for a platform that not only sidesteps the pitfalls of age-old corporate wikis but also offers a refined approach to knowledge management.

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Author
Written by

Alex is the Marketing Manager at Axero Solutions, dedicated to creating valuable content to help companies work smarter and together. Alex previously worked in communications and journalism throughout the tri-state area.

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