Knowledge Sharing Platforms: How to Stop Managing Information

two women sharing knowledge.

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?”

Or 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. Then we’ll demonstrate that a knowledge sharing platform is to a knowledge management system as an automobile was to a horse and buggy.

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 sharing vs. managing, knowledge vs. information.

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

Connections are endless in today’s day and age. 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. Society as we know it is simply not welcoming to technology that can’t connect. 

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.

Knowledge sharing platforms make sharing vital intelligence nearly effortless, however, knowledge management systems, 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 its updated. 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.  Using outdated and inaccurate information could cost your organization everything.

Do you want a document or the answer?

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 land 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 talk to a knowledge management system, but the experience is strikingly similar to using a KMS. If you’re lucky enough to access the documents that hold the answer you want, 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 knowledge bases within a knowledge base. Today’s workplace cannot operate on outdated user experiences. 

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.

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. 

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