Today we want to tell you about the essential building blocks of a company knowledge base that you should be looking for when evaluating whether a particular app is the right fit for knowledge management inside MS Teams.
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A company knowledge base is a central hub for the whole team to create, store, organize, and share crucial and agreed-upon resources and information. This can include standard operating procedures, onboarding sequences, product information, best practices, the list goes on - essentially all the documents that help your employees complete daily tasks without having to ask the same questions over again or browse through old email exchanges and archives.
Think of a knowledge base as a basecamp - it’s the starting point of any action, and it’s where you return to replenish your resources (or, in the case of remote collaboration, where you go to replenish info you need to do your job!)
Often, knowledge bases are collaborative, like a wiki, meaning multiple (or all) people in the company can add their expert knowledge to a document and create a shared database that expands and updates over time. However, you can also limit content creation to just a few experts in your company, and we’ll show you why that’s a good way to go in the following sections.
If you’ve read this far, we are assuming you and your team use MS Teams as your main collaboration platform. It’s an incredibly versatile solution for remote and hybrid work.
And if you use it for day-to-day communication, meetings, and project management with your team, but you’re still switching to some other platform to look for resources and files (say, Google Drive), think about how awesome it would be if you had ALL your work necessities in Microsoft Teams.
It’s possible! What you need is a knowledge management tool that lives inside Teams and can be accessed by in one click without needing to sign in or switch workspaces. This is not only an amazing time saver (stats show we toggle between at least 10 different productivity apps in an hour), but could also help you and your team stay in the zone during the day, instead of losing focus with every app switch and having to get back in the flow in MS Teams.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the key features you should have in a knowledge base for MS Teams.
Table of Contents:
Okay, obviously if you want to have all your company guidelines and procedures in MS Teams, whatever app you use will need to have seamless integration with Teams, no questions asked.
That means the knowledge base will have to be located inside your channels in a separate tab (alongside your “Posts” and “Files” tabs) for easy access. You should be able to retrieve information at a moment’s notice.
Most knowledge management solutions out there promise “Microsoft Teams integration,” but they fail to mention that this is only a partial integration. Apps like Confluence and SharePoint can be added as tabs to an MS Teams channel, but their features inside MS Teams are severely limited. For these big shot solutions, MS Teams integration was an afterthought, so you will still end up switching to their full version all the time.
Perfect Wiki was built for Microsoft Teams. Once you add the app to MS Teams (no sign-in required), it will automatically appear as a tab in your chosen channels, and will be immediately available to your whole team.
As I mentioned above, a company knowledge base should ideally be a collaborative effort. However, it’s best if you don’t allow ALL your team members to freely make changes to sensitive company information. That’s why editing rights are a key feature of any knowledge base.
Some solutions, like the Microsoft Teams built-in wiki and OneNote don’t even have editing settings, meaning all your content is open to anyone to meddle with. SharePoint’s restrictions menu is so complex you will need at least a day to figure out how to assign an editor.
What makes a company knowledge base worth its salt is the ability to assign editors and read-only users, and a permissions menu that is easy to use even by an admin with minimal digital literacy.
Perfect Wiki has both! The permissions menu is accessible right from the tab in a Microsoft Teams channel, where you can lock content from being edited, assign individual editor roles, and assign admin and regular members from your team list.
The foundation of a company's knowledge base is not only the security of your content, but the ability to find information the moment you need it, quickly and efficiently. To do this, you need a full-text search function that will look through all your content and give you multiple suggestions for each search query.
Ideally, it will also be typo-tolerant and highlight the results, so you can find the answer without having to even open the document.
Once again, solutions provided by Microsoft (OneNote, the built-in wiki, SharePoint) either do not have a search function at all or will only suggest a page without highlighting the answer.
Perfect Wiki’s intelligent full-text search looks through ALL your company knowledge when you type a query, it’s typo-tolerant for when you’re in a rush, and it shows you all the possible pages where your answer might be, at a glance.
Even if you’re a startup that was born a week ago, you most likely already have procedures you’ve agreed on with your team stored somewhere on your devices, a previous wiki, or maybe even the MS Teams wiki. You won’t be starting your knowledge base in MS Teams from scratch!
That means you will need the option to migrate your existing data, ideally in bulk (especially if you are a larger team with a whole library of knowledge), into your knowledge base of choice.
Most third-party solutions like Confluence, Tettra, and Guru have content upload options, but they will either:
And there are no options out there that help you get your data from the MS Teams built-in wiki.
Guess what - with Perfect Wiki you can import your data in bulk from the MS Teams wiki in a matter of minutes. With our knowledge base, you get seamless Teams integration and seamless content transfer from the built-in wiki.
Not only that, we have multiple options for migrating your knowledge base from your device in Word, Web Page, and other formats.
Give Perfect Wiki a try completely free, try out the import options for yourself, and notice that the formatting of your files is preserved perfectly (images and tables included).
Another crucial component of a knowledge base is the ability to download your content to your device and share resources with people outside of your team. Not all your customers and partners will have an MS Teams account, so from time to time you will need to export some of your company knowledge files.
And just like with editing permissions and searching through your content, exporting data should be swift and simple. Sadly, the big-name apps we’ve mentioned so far do not have export options within Microsoft Teams, and the Teams solutions like OneNote and SharePoint will either not let you download your files or will not provide the option to share a page with external users.
Since Perfect Wiki was created to be used inside Microsoft Teams, you can easily export a page in PDF or Web Page format. You can also get a secret read-only link to share with people outside MS Teams.
This knowledge base knows you will always have to share your company knowledge outside of the app.
Knowledge architecture is the structure of your knowledge base - the layout of the pages and accessibility of all the resources. A well-designed knowledge base should let you:
And this should all be done inside Microsoft Teams, without the need to ever flip back to a web-based or desktop knowledge solution. Since none of the third-party apps we’ve mentioned so far were designed with full Microsoft Teams workability in mind, they only let you access their full range of knowledge architecture in their out-of-Teams version.
The app that comes the closest to a workable MS Teams solution, but read here why we believe it’s still not the best option for an MS Teams knowledge base (hint: it’s very difficult to set up).
All the above knowledge architecture elements are perfected in Perfect Wiki right inside your MS Teams channel tabs. We understand that not all users have the time or resources to bother with all the nifty features in, say, Notion, so we automated all these features and took care of the structure of your knowledge base, so all you have to do is add your content, images, and videos.
Speaking of automation, a great knowledge base will also have page templates for all kinds of topics like SOPs and user guides to scaffold content creation. A good template will also have pre-embedded links and tables, so all you have to do is add your unique company information.
Well-established knowledge management systems like Confluence or Notion actually have whole libraries of user-made templates, but they aren’t accessible in MS Teams (Notions actually doesn’t integrate with Teams at all). OneNote and the built-in wiki do not have page templates.
Perfect Wiki has a diverse and constantly updating library of page templates that will help you structure your FAQ pages, company best practices, customer service scripts, and more! The library is accessible right from your Perfect Wiki workspace, and the templates are instantly added to your page list ready to be filled.
Your library of company resources can be built by a designated expert team or added to by all employees, but ultimately the purpose of a knowledge base is to help team members at all levels find answers to support questions on their own.
Creating and sharing company resources in Microsoft Teams requires a solution that not only helps you do this easily no matter your level of digital literacy, but one that grants access to all its knowledge-building and sharing features in your Teams channels.
So if you’re ready to try a knowledge management app that is native to MS Teams, it may be time to try Perfect WIki. While other solutions offer limited or downright frustrating integration with Teams, Perfect Wiki will ensure you don’t even have to leave the channel to find your media kit or burning FAQ.
And our pricing is a sight for sore eyes too. The Standard Plan is $35/month, an undoubtedly affordable option even for small companies and nonprofits.
If you’re not sure you want to commit to one of our paid plans just yet, try our Free Plan below or book a call with us to see if our knowledge management solution is what you’ve been looking for.