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Knowledge base systems

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base (KB), which is sometimes written as knowledgebase, is a repository of organized information that users can access through browse and search functions. It promotes the collection, organization, and retrieval of knowledge, which is commonly organized by subject-problem-solution around a specific topic or product. KB content can be accessed by internal users, customers, or a mix of both depending on how KB permissions are set up.

A KB can be a standalone repository, but is usually integrated into software such as a Knowledge Management System (KMS), Content Management System (CMS), or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

Why you need a knowledge base

The benefits of a KB apply to both the company and users: 

  • Have one version of the truth, instead of possibly dated or conflicting versions of information in different silos.
  • Increase productivity and efficiency by providing a tool that allows people (individual, groups, teams) to access information quickly.
  • Reduce support costs by capturing knowledge and best practices for use by agents and customers.
  • Increase customer satisfaction because most users prefer to have a self-service option to solve their own problems.
  • Capture data to inform priorities and product improvements that will impact the most users. 

Knowledge base functionality

A complete KB system includes a few essential components:

  • Authoring capability to create KB articles, including workflow functionality
  • Meta data options to tag and organize KB articles
  • Search and browse functions to find the published content
  • Measurement or analytics tools, including both qualitative (content feedback) and quantitative (ratings, usage stats) data
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