Sharing Knowledge with an Open Source Knowledge Base

What is an open source knowledge base?

An open source knowledge base is a repository of structured content built with open source software. When companies wish to offer their customers a self-service system for finding important information, they typically provide a knowledge repository for users to educate themselves with. Open source software, which is free, can seem like a good option for building a place where knowledge can be searched for. However, that kind of software forces an organization to use its own resources to create and troubleshoot their help articles.

Because Zendesk is a versatile application, knowledge bases can be customized and branded to look like it’s been built from scratch while offering a far better experience to the users.

A different approach

Help articles are a great way to let customer and employees search for and find the information they need. Written by subject matter experts, both within and without the company, a strong knowledge base covers a wide variety of subjects, and grows over time as new articles, comments, and edits are created.

Some companies, particularly smaller ones, choose software that's open source for self-service management. There's an often false assumption an open source application is the only way to build a customized help guide.

Ultimately, open source can actually cost more in resources than paid software, because the company that uses it will have to use internal resources to build and update the open source knowledge base on their own. When problems arise or help guide files are misplaced, they'll have to rely on themselves to troubleshoot.

Did you know?

A hosted knowledge base will have the benefits of one built from open source, but without the need of building it from the source code up. Doing so will not only save time and resources, but will allow organizations to look for specific features that they require in a knowledge base, such as:
  • Multilingual support
  • Customization services
  • Access to customer success and technical support
  • Metrics and reporting
  • Enterprise level security

The right time

Larger organizations looking to scale their growth should provide their customers with a high-quality knowledge base that helps them find what they need and offers a great experience. Likewise, smaller companies that want to ensure their customers are being supported but cannot afford to grow their support staff would greatly benefit from providing a knowledge base.
Camera Obscura's help center example of an open API knowledge base through Zendesk.

How Zendesk helps

Zendesk's platform, along with providing other self-service options, helps companies offer their customers a powerful knowledge base. Thanks to Zendesk's versatility, knowledge bases can be customized and branded, so the it will look like it’s been built from scratch while offering a far better experience to the users. Zendesk’s customer success and technical support platform offers the flexibility to integrate with other software applications, thanks to it's open API.

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