Sharing knowledge throughout a company is the root of internal operations. After all, how can you expect projects and tasks to run smoothly without clear and thoughtful internal communications? The ways in which knowledge is shared are vast–a wiki software simplifies how you create, find, and share information.
What is wiki software?
A wiki software is a collaborative tool where all employees can easily document and find information. It’s usually a web app, ideally one that integrates into your workflow via browser extensions, allowing information to be accessed without navigating away from a workflow. It’s a single destination for reliable information. Here’s what kind of information might be stored in a company’s wiki software:
- Product updates and processes
- PTO and other HR-related policies
- Project management templates
- Local restaurant recommendations
Wiki software is designed to make sharing information throughout a company easy. Everyone has access to the same information and has the ability to edit that information.
Externally-facing wiki software functions slightly differently. They usually include product documentation for customers. It still serves as a reliable source of information, but it houses content created with users or customers in mind.
Types of wiki software
A hosted wiki software includes SaaS tools that don’t require internal developer time. Knowledge security and software maintenance of a hosted wiki are managed by the hosting company. There is usually a little less flexibility with the layout of the wiki, however, less work is required to manage the wiki itself, so you can spend more time focusing on the content that lives within it.
Self-hosted wiki software (e.g. MediaWiki) is open-source and requires ongoing developer involvement to maintain the security and organization of the platform. Usually, self-hosted wiki software is more customizable for each unique user, with the catch being they are usually much more work to maintain.
Why use wiki software?
Centralize company information
Searching through countless sources to find a single piece of information is a familiar time suck for most of us. This is time that could be better spent collaborating with colleagues and creatively solving problems. Wiki software centralizes all company information into a single source of truth–everyone knows exactly where to go to find reliable and relevant information.
End information overload
Bite-sized pieces of knowledge are the name of the game when communicating important information across an entire organization. Too many pieces of long-form information ask employees to read and remember more than they can realistically retain. This makes for a quick trip to information overload. When employees are provided with bite-sized information and they can access it again whenever they need it, information overload becomes a thing of the past.
Bring everyone the information they need to excel in their job - anywhere
Everyone wants to feel that they’re armed with the information they need to do their job well. Lacking the resources one needs to feel supported in their role is one of the main catalysts of burnout. A wiki software provides everyone with the information they need whenever they need to access it. They won’t have to nudge subject matter experts for answers to their questions, rather they can find all the knowledge they need in their company wiki.
Deliver a single source of truth the team actually uses
Without a wiki software as a single source of truth, you run the risk of using duplicate and unreliable information to inform decisions and processes. Send everyone to one place for information and make sure to keep that information up to date. It’s a simple solution that keeps everyone on the same page.
Power effortless collaboration
Good internal communication leads to seamless collaboration that in turn leads to smooth and successful company operations. A wiki software invites everyone at the company to create and edit information, turning the wiki into a home for effortless collaboration. Every subject matter expert is contributing their expertise to a single source of information that is accessible to everyone. Goodbye, information silos!
Seamlessly keep company information up-to-date
The best kinds of wiki software have a content verification system built in. This allows the creator of the information to set a timer for when they need to re verify that information is still accurate. This ensures that company information stays up to date and relevant, while preventing someone from unknowingly referencing unreliable knowledge.
Ensure expert-verified product information is in the hands of everyone in support, sales, and marketing
As updates are made to products, everyone needs to be in the loop. This includes technical support, sales, marketing, product specialists, and more. Let the subject matter experts document and verify their information, so everyone else knows the knowledge they’re reading is accurate and reliable.
Empowers support agents to deliver world-class customer service
Easy access to information benefits support agents in two ways. First, it allows them to be kept up to date, providing customers with the information that is the most relevant to them. Second, it provides quick access to knowledge so support agents can answer questions in real time–removing lag time between a customer’s question and support’s answer.
What makes a good wiki software?
Not all wiki software is made the same. There are few key characteristics to keep in mind when choosing the best wiki software for your team.
Easy to use
Adding a new tool to any workflow is dreaded by most–it’s just another thing to learn on top of daily tasks. Wiki softwares should solve problems, not create additional headaches. They should have an intuitive design and content hierarchy that promotes an ease of use and content creation.
No one has time to come up with precise keywords to search in order to find the right information. A wiki software needs to have smart search functionality that allows it to provide results related to your search and doesn’t rely on exact keywords. A good wiki software will not require multiple searches to find answers.
Excellent wiki software acts as a knowledge base for all important information. It can be internally- or externally-facing, relaying information to that audience. It’s a reliable source for knowledge that readers can trust to use regularly. It’s the first place people think to visit when searching for an answer.
Don’t navigate away from your workflow to search for information, rather bring that information into your workflow. A wiki software should integrate into your existing workflow through browser extensions to promote ease in accessing information. Find the information you need without leaving your work zone.
Wiki software should be able to cater to its user. Based on your role or information you’ve referenced historically, a wiki software should suggest content that might be relevant to your role. For further support, wiki software should also have a help center or guides series where documentation is easily accessible.
There is generally no one-size-fits-all model for wiki softwares. Whether you are storing internal knowledge or building an external knowledge base, you need to be able to customize information in a way that works well for you. Start with the provided framework, but take advantage of the flexibility.
When you have analytics available through a wiki software, you can see which content is finding the most traction or what is being searched for the most. This can help you spot gaps in your company knowledge as well as see what information has proven to be the most useful to employees.
The best wiki software tools & examples
At Guru, we practice what we preach when it comes to great wiki software. Guru is the modern wiki that integrates into your workflow to live where you already work. You can assign content experts, ensuring all content stays up to date, send announcements to share information fast, and recommend content based on the content already on your screen. Learn more about how Guru works for teams of every size and choose your plan.
Here is the most popular open-source wiki software out there. It’s ideal for anyone managing large amounts of content that needs to be accessed by a lot of people. It does, however, require slightly more technical knowledge to get up and running. Still, MediaWiki is one of the most trusted wikis and it’s completely free.
DokuWiki is simple and effective. It’s an open-source wiki layout that has thousands of contributors and no limit to the number of pages that you can save. Built-in authentication makes it suitable for large companies trying to get a lot of important information out to their employees or customers fast, and it’s free.
Confluence is one of the most popular kinds of wiki software used in the technical space. It syncs with Jira, the project management software, to make creating and updating content easy. Confluence requires precise keyword searches to find content and is free for up to 10 users.
Tettra works well for teams with little or no technical knowledge. Set up, maintenance, and use are intuitive–it also integrates with the tools you already work in. Teams across an entire organization are able to organize their knowledge in a way that makes the most sense for them.
Notion is a highly-customizable wiki software that allows both remote and in-person teams to collaborate more effectively. Due to its flexible design, learning how to use Notion well can be a steep learning curve and tends to be challenging for large teams to use. Notion is free for individual use.
Slite is designed for teams that work remotely. Multiple people can edit documents at the same time and each document can include quotes, charts, graphics, and more. Each user opens the day with a “Catch-up” screen that captures new information that could be relevant to their role. It’s free for up to 50 documents.
Because of its smooth and intuitive design, Nuclino a wiki software that is ideal for non-technical users. The layout is easy to learn. It can be used solely as a company wiki, or be used to manage projects, share ideas, and more. Nuclino is free for up to 50 items.
Slab is an intuitive knowledge management wiki software that is ideal for teams who want an easy set up. It comes with data analytics, so moderators can easily see what information is the most popular. Slab is free for up to 10 users.
Document360 is an intuitive WYSIWYG editor that invites collaboration and knowledge sharing. It integrates well with most apps and offers analytics that allows you to see what information is the most valued.
Wiki.js is open-source and can be used on any platform in a public, private, or both medium. As another free option, this one allows you to create and store information in a fully customizable content layout. Analytics are also available. Wiki.js is less ideal for those with little-to-no technical experience or knowledge.