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Free Knowledge Management Software

What to look for in free knowledge management software

Why you need knowledge management software

Knowledge management software catalogs and disseminates institutional knowledge. It's like a customized, digitized library that your employees and customers can search for company info whenever and wherever they want.

With innovations in artificial intelligence, some of today's top knowledge management solutions, including Zendesk's Answer Bot, use AI algorithms to make information gathering more intelligent and intuitive.

The inside scoop

Knowledge management software allows you to create FAQ sections or answer forums for self-help customer service. Zendesks's Answer Bot uses algorithms and experience to provide users with more relevant answers to their questions.

Did you know?

Internally, a knowledge base makes it easier for your agents to find answers to customer queries, thus also improving your customer service experience. What's more, a good knowledge management solution can capture the knowledge of your in-house experts even if they leave the company, making it a critical education management system for enterprise businesses with growing institutional knowledge.

A timely solution

For software so useful it's, frankly, priceless, it's great news that there are a number of free options to get you started.

When selecting a free knowledge management solution for your company, look for open-source software that does the following:
  • Aggregates content from both internal and external sources
  • Allows you to organize that knowledge base by subject or key terms
  • Makes it quick and easy for the user to search for and find the correct document
  • Tracks where the information came from (like which employee expert contributed it)
  • Includes a dashboard or other easy way to access the information

The right fit

There are a number of excellent knowledge management programs out there, and many of them offer a pared-down, free version of their product. Trying one of these free options out is a great way to get some of the core benefits of KM, and to identify whether upgrading is right for your company. Here are a few free options we like:
  • OpenKM -- OpenKM allows you to create a searchable and collaborative electronic document library. Staff can learn from each other by collaborating on creating and editing documents, and information can be sourced anywhere online. The knowledge base, forum, and wiki are all mobile-optimized; the program links with Google Drive, MS Word, and other third-party apps; and other key features include task management and an integrated calendar. The OpenKM site has tons of screenshots of different elements of the program, and if you're willing to put in some time figuring out how to use a relatively technical program, you'll get a lot from the free version.
  • LogicalDoc -- Another document management system (DMS) like OpenKM, LogicalDoc gets solid reviews on Sourceforge for its versatility, speed, and ease of use. The open-source version is called LogicalDoc Community Edition, and it includes full-text search across documents, document editing and history, and integration with Joomla, Dropbox, and others.
  • Zendesk -- The free version of Zendesk's KM solution, called Zendesk Guide Lite, is also, ahem, pretty darn good. The revamped Guide (formerly Help Desk) uses AI and predictive analytics for a more intuitive and efficient experience, according to PC Mag. Upgrades include the Knowledge Capture app which allows agents to publish articles in the knowledge base with just a few simple steps. Easy user access to the Answer Bot reduces friction.

Next steps

Building an online knowledge base will increase your customer service agents' productivity and improve your customer support. Free options will allow staff to create and manage your library of documents, and if you want an easier, prettier KM; more capacity for multilingual collaboration; and more customer self-help capabilities like community forums, you can consider upgrading to paid versions of the above programs.

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