However, conventional wiki software has a variety of limitations. Knowledge captured tends to grow old quickly and, in many cases, no one knows who owns it or when it was last updated. When people stop trusting the knowledge they find, or searches become too complex, they stop searching.
There are tons of popular wiki softwares out there, so it helps to take into consideration the basic features, benefits, and limitations of each one.
Here are a few of the more popular wiki software offerings. Depending on your business needs, you may want a simple wiki (that is essentially a private Wikipedia), or one that offers integrations into your existing tech stack. Here are a few internal wiki offerings:
This is a free, open source wiki engine. Fun fact: This is the software that Wikipedia is built on! And although MediaWiki allows users to create and edit web page content without requiring the use of CSS or HTML, it has its drawbacks.This software is versatile and simple to set up initially, but it is designed for knowledge to be stored and not necessarily used. This can damage the long-term health and adoption of your knowledge base.
Another open source wiki program that allows users to edit text directly. This software has extensive access controls and authentication capabilities which make it a favorite among administrators. Although this makes content management easier for admins it doesn’t necessarily make the content itself digestible for users.
Confluence is part of Atlassian’s larger software packages. If you’re set on using a wiki tool but are looking for content management software that functions within workflows, Confluence allows you to preview knowledge within communication tools such as Slack.
There are plenty of other options out there depending on which kind of wiki system you need. Read on to find out how to make an informed decision.
Internal wikis are intended to house all the knowledge your employees might need in one, centralized source. Traditionally, they have served to connect employees; maintain and share up-to-date product information, internal processes, trainings, and best practices; identify experts; and align various teams in a shared mission of customer support and business growth. In this way, they can be used as knowledge management solutions
Internal wikis usually have simple content management systems (CMS) that allow anyone to create and format content for internal and external use. This makes it easy to build an expansive database of information, the drawback is that these databases are inherently difficult to maintain. The intent of content management with an enterprise wiki is to centralize company knowledge and make it more accessible — but this means that your tool must be intuitive and easy to use within existing workflows.
The pitfall for many traditional wikis when using them to build knowledge bases is that they’re simply not designed with the integrations in place to make accessing information simple to do on the fly. They require adding yet another web application to your already overcrowded tab space. Access restrictions and complicated verification processes can also make it difficult for your teams to trust that the information they find in your knowledge base can be trusted. Bad information can be worse than no information at all especially for your customer-facing teams. Learn more about the challenges of wiki software.
When considering other features, look at whether the software can solve for the workflows your team needs. For instance, are you looking to build a personal wiki, an internal knowledge base or an external knowledge base? Who will need edit access? Can you upload (or download) PDFs? How accurate is the search engine? Does the CMS use a WYSIWYG editor or markdown language? What kind of technical knowledge do you need in order to get started?
If it’s an external knowledge base, what does the front-end design look like? Is it customizable?
To use as a personal wiki or an internal knowledge base, what kinds of plugins or integrations are supported? What kind of structure does it require to build and scale? Learn more about how to choose and set up an internal wiki.
Using a business wiki as knowledge base software helps keep teams on the same page regardless of location. By having a unified and easy-to-update information source, everyone can take ownership of a company’s knowledge. Your company wiki can house information applicable to everything from employee onboarding, to product FAQs, to office wifi information.