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SharePoint vs. Knowledge Base Software: Things to know

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Roayn Braun
Royan is a developer and a tech support executive with over 5 years of experience in the field of Information Technology.
Knowledge base software has turned out to be a quite reliable method for storing information, promoting collaborative work and for sharing valuable input and solutions.However, some organizations are trying to develop a knowledge base that works with SharePoint, and this might not be as ideal as they hoped it would be.

The main reason for a possible downfall of such an incentive lies in the capabilities of SharePoint. SharePoint might be a useful tool in general, but it was not designed to manage knowledge. Another reason is user friendliness which SharePoint falls short of, compared to other knowledge base software solutions available in the market.  
In this article, we are going to undertake an in-depth analysis to understand the key nuances of knowledge base software solutions and SharePoint.

SharePoint best suited for collaboration

SharePoint is an excellent collaborative tool. You can use it to set up sites, or to store your documents, and you can track changes and revisions made by other co-workers. These qualities allow it to be an admirable collaborative tool.

A Knowledge base is not only used for the purpose of storing documents. It has a capability to detect the best solutions for the problem, not simply display all things that contain a keyword used in a search query. Users are given various tools to search the database. They can search article comments, emails, ideas and feedback supplied by the community, etc. This makes knowledge base software quite a superior problem solver.

With Share Point, you will eventually fill out your storage with content and, thus, it will become increasingly difficult to find a specific piece of information. When you rely on knowledge base software, you simply send a request for information and the administrator can find useful answers within the comments of community forums, which will be instantly converted into articles.
 
What SharePoint has to offer 

SharePoint is updated on a regular basis, and with each update comes a list of brand new features, which successfully improve its aspect of multi-functionality. Unfortunately, these solutions are not the same features you get with a knowledge base. They may bear a resemblance  and it is possible to make SharePoint function like a knowledge base, but it still won’t be the same.
 
Knowledge base software has a greater scope of out of the box functionality. SharePoint would have to rely on an administrator to go through quite an arduous process in order to turn it into a knowledge base.

For example, if you would need to create a searchable knowledge base that contains training programs for new employees, you would not have any guide for SharePoint to understand its functionality. It is possible though to use a wiki template and build navigation systems by relying on article metadata. This is not really an ideal solution, difficult to set up and not worth the trouble.

What SharePoint lacks

Now let’s see what are the flaws of SharePoint , in comparison to knowledge base solutions, and why it would be really difficult to treat it as knowledge base software.

Knowledge base article editor

Workday after workday, your company’s knowledge base grows. However, does that mean that you need to store every single file just because it might come in handy occasionally? It is this approach that makes your knowledge base hard to manage and eventually the sheer magnitude of content will negatively impact you.
This is a common occurrence for those who rely on SharePoint, since it lacks an article editor which would allow users to collaborate and categorize support information, thus resulting in data pile ups.

Article editor will ensure the success of your knowledge base software. It improves the user experience, with features that help them with troubleshooting problems, and by displaying relevant alerts, etc.

Search 

A knowledge base needs to deliver answers as quickly as possible, and users are not really fond of going over an entire PDF file just to find one particular piece of information. In other words, it lacks efficiency when compared to a knowledge base software.

User friendliness 

An intuitive design is one of the essential selling points for knowledge base software since users can effortlessly jump in and start using them. Due to the increasing number of features, the user experience of SharePoint gets hampered and the ability to use SharePoint declines considerably.  

Furthermore, if you are to modify sites with SharePoint, you need to know how to navigate in the Visual Studio and you’ll need web development skills in general. Even if the tool itself has countless useful features, they are not really useful if users cannot figure out how to use them, and must undergo special training to utilize the tool to its fullest potential.
To sum up, there is no need to experiment and try to replace knowledge base software with SharePoint. Knowledge base software was specifically designed to target these issues, and SharePoint was designed for online collaborative work. If you simply want to use SharePoint to prove that it has certain capabilities, then go for it, but it is not the optimal way to achieve efficiency.
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Author:Roayn Braun
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Expert Comment

by:Ranjit Shankar
Nice article. True, SharePoint is an excellent collaborative tool for the businesses of any size. Of course yes, SharePoint update comes with more useful features for the enterprises to meet their requirements. I thank you for sharing this article which really helped me to learn the differences between SharePoint and Knowledge Base software.
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