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An Ultimate Guide to SharePoint & Knowledge Management Architecture

In this article, we will be discussing Sharepoint and its applications regarding knowledge bases.  We will cover what Sharepoint is, and the features it brings to the table.  We will also be covering what a knowledge management software is, along with the benefits it brings to the table.  Finally, we will be going over the SharePoint & knowledge management architecture that you should base your knowledge base around.  How you should structure data in hubs and the different types of pages that allow you to do so.

Table Of Content

What is SharePoint?

Sharepoint is a knowledge management software that allows you to manage many productivity apps, data, and other forms of content.  Microsoft Sharepoint is often used as a method of sharing content and document management across a business.  Sharepoint includes a lot of features that allow for the editing, sharing, managing, and publication of content.  One feature that allows this, is the restriction of data to certain departments or knowledge workers.  Sharepoint does this by creating a knowledge base to help cater to your business needs.

What is SharePoint

Sharepoint comes included with the Microsoft Office Suite and includes a lot of functionality with other Microsoft applications.  Sharepoint also has an online counterpart; Sharepoint Online, which includes additional integration with other cloud-based applications.  In this article, we will be looking at Sharepoint & knowledge management architecture, what the benefits of using a KMS (Knowledge Management System) are, and how to structure them.

What is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge Management is the process of identifying, collecting, evaluating, organizing, storing, and sharing information.  The system or KMS software tool that is used for carrying out this process is called Knowledge Management System.  It is a tool used by companies to help them organize all the documents and other information.

The formats for storing information are simple and user-friendly for both internal and external users.  With a knowledge management software system, it becomes easy to keep documentation up to date.  It also helps you provide better customer service and customer support.  It works by letting your customers find the information they need on their own.  This doesn't only reduce the number of calls to your customer support center but also helps the customers get answers to their queries quickly and easily.  If you wish to know about knowledge management solutions, you can check out our blog here.

What are the Benefits of a Knowledge Base?

Having a knowledge base gives any organization a lot of benefits.   First and foremost, it allows for easy and consistent service.   Having a knowledge base allows all of your team members to reference the same information and guidelines.   This allows teams to be more independent while reducing confusion and frustration.   Another benefit that a knowledge base provides is customer resolution.   This means that customers running into an issue can just access the information they need to solve it from your knowledge base.

A knowledgebase implemented correctly can spare the customer from making a call, being put on hold, and getting help for a problem.  This also leads to the third point: reduced costs.  Having a functional knowledge base that allows your customers to seek the information they need out themselves, means that you would not need as many staff members on a help-line.  Those hours could be spent on other projects, or potentially on expanding the information in your knowledge base.  Having knowledge management initiatives within your company will be helpful to everyone, from employees to customers.

Navigation Architecture

Your knowledge base homepage is at the center of your base layout.  Your primary goal with this page should be to allow your customers to find the information pertaining to them as soon as possible.  As you add more and more content to Sharepoint it will take your people more and more time to find the article addressing their needs, regardless of how you organize or tag them.  Having navigation "Hubs" in Sharepoint will allow people to find what they're looking for by being able to look through their departments or communities of practice.  This way customer-focused teams and back end developers don't have to shift through search results meant for one another, just to find the data they were looking for.  This helps knowledge workers immensely and greatly improves the user experience.

Another easy-to-implement way to solve this issue would be to add a search bar.  This way people can easily type in the problem or issue they are facing and be able to quickly find the search results.  Another way to minimize the customer's time is to feature prominent articles on your home page.  These articles should be articles that are most frequently accessed.  This allows people to find the pertaining content without having to search for it.  Another use for this spot could be to proactively reduce frustration.

For example: If a new update doesn't support certain features without also updating drivers, you could post an article explaining the issue on your home page.  The final way to increase navigability is one that we have talked about before as well.  Once again, it is extremely important to include links to similar content so that if people are having a similar issue but not identical they can find the pertaining data without having to search for it again.

Page Architecture and Organization

When you start using Sharepoint and creating your knowledge base, you will notice that the pages you create will generally fall under 3 different categories: Home page, Intermediate page, and content page.  The home page, as we have said before is at the center of your base layout.  Your primary goal with this page should be to allow your customers to find the information pertaining to them as soon as possible.

This page should include a search bar, which allows people to shift through piles of data and only look at the relevant search results.  It should also include links to the most common content and intermediate pages.  Where the home page acts as the center of the entire knowledge base and facilitates many business processes, the intermediate page is at the center of one of many communities of practice.  These communities can be certain departments, certain levels of access, or individual people.  These intermediate pages, allow these communities to find the information relevant only to them.

For example, the accounting department's intermediate page can direct to company invoices, while the sales department can be directed to data pertaining to inventory.  The last type of page would be where the content in Sharepoint would be stored.  When using Sharepoint, these pages should include the vast majority of content.  Sharepoint allows you to view, download, and edit the content on these pages depending on your level of access.  If you want to know more about the steps to take to create a successful knowledge base, you can find out more on our blog post here.

FAQs:

1. Is SharePoint a knowledge management system?

Answer: Yes, Sharepoint is a knowledge management system that allows you to manage many productivity apps, data, and other forms of content. Microsoft Sharepoint can be used as a method of sharing content, which enhances productivity and improves customer satisfaction. Sharepoint is incredibly easy to implement and integrate into your preexisting business structure.

2. Who uses knowledge management systems?

Answer: Knowledge bases for the small business are essentially an online library, which provides information for the end-user. This information can pertain to a team or a customer. Knowledge bases that are known as enterprise systems often allow the end-user to absorb the same information in a variety of ways. The way to do this is to diversify your content. This can include articles, blog posts, videos, interactive tutorials, webinars, etc.

One way to implement a knowledge base, as you have seen, is to allow your customers to access information on how your product functions from your website. This allows your customer to fix any problems they may have, or find a method for them to learn the information they need to start using your product.

A knowledge base can be used for teams and not just customers. Just one example would be a hospital. Doctors and nurses frequently need access to clinical data, such as a patient's health record. A knowledge base can allow hospital staff to increase patient care by giving its faculty critical information from a patient data file, and relevant links to articles from the national library of medicine. This decision support provided by a knowledge base can help save lives.

3. What are the benefits of using knowledge base applications?

Answer: Having a knowledge base gives you a lot of benefits. First and foremost, it allows for easy and consistent access to information and knowledge. Having a knowledge base allows you and if applicable your team members to be reference information and guidelines quickly. This allows you and/or your team to be more efficient while reducing confusion and frustration. Another benefit that a knowledge base provides is information retention. Any notes or ideas that you may have noted down will always stay inside your knowledge base, whether they be from a day or a year ago. These notes can be organized relatively easily by the wide variety of tools that these applications offer.

Conclusion

Overall Sharepoint is an amazing piece of software that is both incredibly easy to use and integrate.  Integrating your pre-existing business with Sharepoint allows your business to benefit from increased efficiency, lower personnel costs, and increased customer satisfaction.  We highly recommend this software to you, as its use cases are diverse and its benefits exceptional.

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