Knowledge Management Systems

an illustration of an eye looking through a magnifying glass

Maybe you’ve heard about knowledge sharing platforms and you’re thinking, “What’s the difference between your knowledge sharing platform and my company’s knowledge management system?”

On the other hand, you might not be aware of knowledge sharing platforms at all, as they occupy a fairly nascent product category. Whatever the case, we’re going to explore the vast differences in these similarly named enterprise software, and we’ll demonstrate that Capacity is to a knowledge management system as an automobile was to a horse and buggy.

Stop managing information. Start sharing knowledge.

The critical differences between knowledge management systems and knowledge sharing platforms can be summed up in the following definitional statements:

  • Knowledge management systems (KMS) help you manage information.
  • Knowledge sharing platforms (KSP) help you share knowledge.

Now, let’s unpack these two seemingly simple sentences and the chasms between the four words in question: sharing vs. managing, knowledge vs. information.

More connecting (sharing), less storing (managing).

Everything is connected these days. We have GPS-enabled cars that give the best routes based on nearby traffic, weather-tracking phones that push air quality notification, and don’t forget about the countless connections people make with each other on a daily basis via social media. Any technology that can’t be connected would be oddly out of step with society as we currently know it. 

Capacity connects.

Capacity connects, perhaps most importantly, with your teams. Our knowledge sharing platform intelligently captures and curates the tacit knowledge of your organization, so your newest team members have instant access to the knowledge of your most experienced veterans.

On top of that, Capacity connects to your organization’s apps and systems, and, with our patent-pending LiveDoc technology, even your documents, spreadsheets, and web pages. Our KSP also comes out of the box with connections to dozens of today’s most popular enterprise apps, and with our Developer Platform (BETA), your org can connect any additional app it likes, proprietary or otherwise. 

But this is why a connection is critical: because Capacity is pulling knowledge live from these sources, you can guarantee that the answers are up-to-date and evergreen—whenever the source material is changed, the answer that’s sourced is changed right along with it. It’s no surprise that financial services institutions and human resource departments rely on our knowledge sharing platform. Capacity is the perfect solution for organizations that can’t afford to get it wrong.

Our obsessive focus on connecting doesn’t just ensure that answers are always correct, it serves the ultimate goal: sharing.

At the dawn of the 4th Industrial Revolution, you shouldn’t have to manage your knowledge. The same AI that empowers Capacity to connect all your knowledge sources enables the platform to intuitively share that knowledge with your team. Our state-of-the-art natural language processing algorithms make it possible for your colleagues to ask questions of Capacity just like they would a fellow colleague, and our machine learning and reinforcement learning help determine which knowledge is most useful in any given circumstance. 

Knowledge is only as good as the degree to which it’s shared, and Capacity’s technology makes sharing nearly effortless.

Knowledge management systems, on the other hand, are explicitly designed for storing and managing information. (Remember: We’re intentionally using the word “information” here, not “knowledge.”) Basically, you cram all your company’s information into the system and hope you’re not the one who’s got to manage it or retrieve it for your teammates. They’re essentially digital file cabinets.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that most knowledge management systems don’t offer many, if any, useful API connections. This means that every piece of information uploaded to the knowledge base remains unchanged and unrefreshed until a user manually updates the system. Do you want to update your knowledge base to reflect this year’s holiday schedule? Do you want to be required to remember to revise the company parking policy when the construction across the street is finished? We don’t, and neither should you.

And, of course, knowledge management systems certainly can’t mine your docs, pages, and sheets. So, instead of one source of truth, you’ve actually got a multitude: your knowledge base, your teams’ tacit knowledge, and the knowledge found in your apps, docs, sheets, and pages.

With a KMS, you’re going to be managing a lot more than a knowledge base.

The combination of a busy organization and a manual, disconnected system will inevitably lead to informational stagnancy. Your teams will be exposed to outdated and inaccurate information, which, as we’ve suggested earlier, could cost your organization everything.

Do you want a document (information) or the answer (knowledge)?

an illustration of a magnifying glass looking at various workplace technologies

We expect a lot out of our technology, and for good reason: today’s technology is capable of a lot. Next-day shipping for the birthday gift we nearly forgot, any film title under the sun available for streaming, hailing a ride in a foreign country with the click of a button—our lives as consumers can be pretty convenient.

When we step into the office, however, we step back years, sometimes decades into the past.

Imagine the following scenario. It’s 4:50 PM on a Friday, and you’ve got a potential client on the phone who could make your quarter. They have a question—one last question—that, for the life of you, you can’t remember how to answer. To make matters worse, this deal has been tenuous, and you sense everything could be riding on this very moment. Just then, out of the corner of your eye, you see your smartest colleague walking past your office. You run out, stop them, and urgently ask, “What’s the management fee for our UMA accounts?” 

They knowingly smile. You let out a sigh of relief.

They hand you a 40-page stack of papers and walk away.

Not too convenient, not too helpful.

That’s a knowledge management system. Of course, you can’t even talk to a knowledge management system (unlike Capacity), but the hypothetical is otherwise strikingly similar to the experience of trying to use a KMS. If you’re lucky enough to be able to access the documents where the answer you need is located, you’ve then still got to sift through a ton of information to get to the knowledge you need. In that sense, KMS document repositories are like additional knowledge bases within a knowledge base. While all too common, this kind of frustratingly outdated user experience is simply unacceptable in today’s workplace.

Now, imagine the same scenario, but it playing out a bit differently. 

You urgently ask, “What’s the management fee for our UMA accounts?” 

In 0.7 seconds, your colleague replies, “Our stated management fee for UMAs is 1.25%. However, you can negotiate down to 0.45% for accounts totaling $10M or more.”

Just want you needed, just when you needed it: knowledge, now.

What a relief, and what a pleasure!

What good is a platform if it’s not going to be utilized because it’s too much of a pain to use? Capacity’s user experience is exactly what you’d expect today in your personal life: fantastic. Our platform is user-friendly enough for a team member of any tech experience level—if you can email or text a coworker, you can use Capacity.

What does all this mean? It means that your organization will actually use it and get value out of it. You’ll actually share and access and leverage your organization’s valuable knowledge, and each time it’s shared is another instance in which its accuracy and relevance are verified. 

It’s a virtuous cycle of empowerment that will evolve along with your organization and generate ROI for years to come.

Is there really any choice?

Regardless of the industry you’re in and the work you need your team to excel at on a daily basis, there’s nothing a knowledge management system can do that a knowledge sharing platform can’t facilitate infinitely better. And, by the way, we mean “infinitely” in the literal sense of the word.

If there was ever a time for knowledge management systems (and even that’s arguable), that time is definitely gone. The lack of ability to connect to and source knowledge from your go-to apps, to intelligently capture tacit knowledge from your team, to turn your docs and sheets and pages into conversations—they just can’t compete with Capacity. 

But don’t take our word for it, see for yourself. Watch our secure, AI-native knowledge sharing platform at work. Here is our CEO’s award-winning live demo presented at In|Vest 2019. If you’d like a bespoke demo that speaks exactly to your organization, sign up for a 15-minute discovery call.