The Ultimate Guide To An Internal Knowledge Base

Create Internal Knowledge Base

A company will need an internal knowledge base to maintain its standard operating procedure.

While the application of such and internal knowledge base, as well as its use and the content will totally depend on the company maintaining it, there are certain things that you should know about creating and maintaining an internal knowledge base.

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While the concept of a knowledge base is a flexible one, and like any other knowledge base, an internal knowledge base will also store knowledge and serve as an information repository.

But what makes it special or different? Let’s try to understand that in the next section…

What is an Internal Knowledge Base?

internal knowledge base

As the name suggests, it is a knowledge base for a company’s internal use. Its application is limited to the employees, directors, managers, and those associated with the company.

An internal knowledge base is a means for the company to save its internal data such as definitions, processes, legal documents, training materials, information about the departments, employees, and so on.

The use of an internal knowledge base is limited to the person within the organization, and it is mostly used to help the employees perform their duties better. With the help of an internal knowledge base, they can quickly find the information of relevance and thereby perform their tasks properly and quickly.

An internal knowledge base is a resource house of the company information and processes, but it can also have certain data that can be used by the customer support of your company to assist your clients better.

What are the benefits of creating an internal knowledge base?

Managing the employees and training the employees is a big part of every organization’s workflow. 

An internal knowledge base will not only help the employees with better training and information at hand but will significantly improve the quality of work and its speed by providing a centralized self-help portal for the organization. 

1) Centralization of the company information

advantages of an internal knowledge base

With an internal knowledge base, everyone in the organization will know where to find the organizational information, or where to store the information at hand.

An online internal knowledge base with advanced search features is a great way for the company employees to quickly find relevant information, without having to look for it from managers, other employees, or in their own files.

Every employee comes with a skill set and develops it during the tenure with the company, and this is how each of the employees can have a unique and useful way to perform the duty.

An internal knowledge base is a great way to store all these details in an information center from where they can be stored, organized, and accessed very easily.

2) Standardization of processes

There are multiple ways to perform each task. An organization may have its own standard method of processing a task. It can be the best, optimized, tried, and tested way to perform the operation, found to be most effective by the organization, yielding the best results.

Such a method needs to be passed from employee to employee to ensure uniformity in work methods and better results for the accomplished tasks.

An internal knowledge base will therefore play an important role to make sure that a single standard process is maintained by providing the training as well as reference material for processes.

3) Ease of managing internal data

Large and even medium-sized organizations have a lot of organizational data to be maintained. This data needs to be maintained in such a way that it is easy to find a specific file/process/information in any form, when required.

An internal knowledge base is an organized way to maintain all this data. You can create different folders for specific departments.

For instance: A folder called Company information can have many other sub-folders.

Therefore it is easy to keep all the vitals documents intact and organized!

4) Quicker execution of assigned duties

Since the employees have all the required information at their hand, they can use the documents and find the right solutions or procedures to do their job. Also, these procedures are the standard and easiest ones so they significantly improve the execution of tasks. 

5) Easy sharing of knowledge within the organization

A knowledge management system for the organization ensures easy access of resources for all the employees. So they have a central system to rely on to download or search for information.

Therefore, any new information that needs to be relayed to a department or the entire company can be uploaded on the internal knowledge base.

6) Reduction of mistakes/chances of errors

The drafted procedures and documentation, the employees will have a reliable resource to lean on.

The processes and information stored in an internal knowledge base will help people find the best ways to perform their duties. With a pre-defined methods to help employees perform their duties, they can achieve their respective tasks without making unnecessary mistakes or delays.

7) Helps in training new employees

Since all the processes are documented and the steps to perform an operation are standardized through these articles in the knowledge base, it becomes easier to train the new staff. 

They can simply learn themselves through these documents or the manager can simply share the links to help employees understand the work methods and train all the new staff members in accordance with the company standard and productivity can be enhanced.

8) Helps improve the productivity

With the data maintained effectively, and easily accessible through the company’s knowledge base, it is easier for the employees to gain knowledge and learn easily.

It also helps the employees of the organization to efficiently apply their knowledge in their duties since they have all the useful resources at hand.

9) Aids Customer satisfaction through efficient tech support

One of the most important applications of an internal knowledge base is to help the employees provide quick response to the customers’ queries.

There can be an external knowledge base created solely for the purpose of customer support, but even then an internal knowledge base can store FAQs, special responses for requests, or other data that can help the employees assist the clients.

What is the difference between an internal and external knowledge base?

An internal knowledge base is different from an external knowledge base, based on some of its qualities like what it stores, who it is used by, the scope of its application as well as the intent of building it.

An internal knowledge base stores what we can classify as the knowledge that can be used internally by an organization. Any person external to the company has no access to this data.

All the data in an internal knowledge base is maintained with the intent to help the employees perform better and to store and maintain the company information in an organized fashion. 

So the application of an internal knowledge base is completely “internal” or exclusive to the people working in the organization. It doesn’t NOT include the clients or customers.

Because a knowledge base maintained to assist the clients is an external knowledge base and its application is internal as well as external. 

The data stored in such an external knowledge base can be a resource house or help center for the customers, where they can search for documents/media or answers to their questions in any form.

An external knowledge base is generally public and is less restrictive than an internal knowledge base. Even the company employees can use the external knowledge base to support the customers by answering the queries more effectively. 

What data should go into an internal knowledge base?

What data should go into an internal knowledge base

An internal knowledge base is the storehouse of all the important data about an organization. What data needs to be added in such a knowledge repository is at the total discretion of the company maintaining it.

There is no fixed criterion of what kind of data should be contained by an internal knowledge base. However, any or all of the following can be included in an internal knowledge base:

Company resources

This can include the resources related to the organization – Company policies, Regulation books, employee handbooks, partners’ information, legal documents, performance reports, a list of employees with their roles & contact numbers, etc.

Media files

multimedia files in an internal knowledgebase

All the media files like graphics, charts, press releases, contact lists, ebooks, case studies, etc.

Resources & Tools for operation

The access and guides for the resources and tools owned by the company, FAQs, standard operating procedures, product information sheets, etc.

Training materials

Tutorials, guides, documentation, sales process information, technical help, a draft of processes, flow charts, or any kind of training material or reference materials

Customer/client related information

Canned replies, the format of emails, documents, and pdf that are frequently provided to the clients for a reference, the FAQs, telephonic scripts, reference email templates, or any such resource that can help with customer support.

An internal kb can have much more than this information. However, it is always up to the company maintaining it to decide how much data to put into their internal knowledge base.

Best Internal Knowledge Management software

We already have a list compiled for the best knowledge management software explaining the best features of each of the knowledge base software.

Most of them are SAAS tools that you can easily pay for and start using right away. Besides that, you can use WordPress to create an internal knowledgebase system.

WordPress & WordPress Themes/plugins

WordPress can help you build a meaningful internal knowledge base website with easy options to maintain as well as organize your data.

There are plenty of WordPress tools to do so:

You can either rely on these WordPress themes for knowledge management, or WordPress knowledgebase plugins to get started with your internal knowledge base.

Mostly, all of these tools can work for both, an internal as well as an external knowledge base. Which means, you have a full flexible system that you can control with the intuitive options on your WordPress admin dashboard.

WordPress is an affordable and open source knowledge management solution and can has proven to be efficient enough to handle complex sites with large amount of data.

How to create an internal knowledge base?

The project to build and maintain a knowledge base (whether internal or external) sounds like a complex one. However, it is not always the case.

With right tools, and a systematic approach – building an internal knowledge base wouldn’t take a lot of efforts. Outlined below are some of the essentials, tips and tricks on how to build an internal knowledge base.

It is essential to not that, you don’t necessarily have to choose a special system for an internal knowledge base, even a general-purpose tool for creating a knowledge base can work best –

1) WordPress & the BasePress knowledge management tool

One of the simplest tools to create a knowledge base is WordPress. It is a CMS and therefore makes managing and organizing large volume of content very easy.

And the beauty of WordPress is the face that it provides you with plenty of options to create a knowledge base. You can either rely on a fully functional knowledge base theme like Knowhow, or use a simple Free plugin like BasePress.

2)  Setting up a knowledge base

The method to create an internal knowledge base is not very different from that of creating an external knowledge base.

There are plenty of tools to create an internal knowledge base. You can go for a SAAS based knowledge base platform, or WordPress to create a fully functional internal knowledge base:

The only diversion in the process is when it comes to the access control. And therefore, the rest of the steps will remain identical to those mentioned in this guide on how to build a knowledge base with WordPress.

3) Adding content

While setting up an internal knowledge base can take very little time and effort, it is considerably difficult to add and organize all the content on the internal knowledge base.

However, with the right tool – it can all be easier.

For instance – the BasePress plugin will let you organize the content on your WordPress-based internal knowledge base at three different levels.

4) Providing access

The final step is granting access to your knowledge base to your employees. Nowadays, since most of the teams have a part of, or all of their employees working remotely, you can simply share the link of your WordPress internal knowledge base with them. 

The URL of your internal knowledge base will look something like:

saperate folder for an internal knowledge base

The pro version of Basepress comes with a content restriction feature based on user roles. So you can decide the level of access for people with different designations across your company. 

Access control is important when you are sharing sensitive information about the company on your knowledge base. 

But for a simple knowledge base that consists of only procedures and the data that your employees might need to do their jobs properly, you can always create an internal company wiki without access control.

Also, the employees of the company can easily find the data within the internal database with the help of included advanced search bar at the top of the knowledge base screen. They just need to enter a few keywords, and the best results that match the search query will be listed to quickly assist and facilitate the organization’s staff. 

5) Updating the knowledge base with new data

The knowledge in a knowledge base is never static. Which change and addition of new processes in your company, you will continuously need to update the existing knowledge base articles, or create new ones. 

This is why you need a simple internal knowledge base software that doesn’t require a lot of effort for a simple update or for creating a new kb article.

Because more than investing on building an internal knowledge base, you should focus on adding data to it. So a lot of your efforts need to be directed at collecting information from various departments, curating it, organizing it, and then drafting it as knowledge base article.

Another point will be making sure that the right person has the access to the right parts of the knowledge base. For instance, you would like to limit the access of certain documents to a department, or you may need to provide the authority to edit and update certain documents of your internal knowledge base to some employees who are not necessarily the admin/author of the knowledge base.

Conclusion

As we saw above, a knowledge base software can efficiently help you create awesome internal data repository in no time, without any technical meddling. You can simply install the system, or log in to the SAAS platform and start building your knowledge base website.

However, the most efforts will be required to maintain it, and add quality information to it. Also essential is to safeguard the confidentiality of the information stored in such a knowledge base.

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If you need any help or support with our WordPress knowledge base plugin, please feel free to contact us. We are always happy to assist or listen to some useful suggestions.

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