Knowledge bases comprise of a published set of documentation. It includes information that is accessed frequently. How-to guides, troubleshooting instructions, sales collateral, reusable information are typical documents that are stored in a knowledge base. Knowledge base does not host documents alone. It can also host reusable software. Essentially, any type of information that has reusability is stored in hosted knowledge base.
What is a hosted knowledge base?
A hosted knowledge base is a collection of tutorials, knowledge base articles, user guides that are part of a content management system, and hosted by a third-party service provider on behalf of the company. A cloud knowledge base provider undertakes the responsibility of maintaining all knowledge base artifacts, which includes software systems. A hosted knowledge base provider may provide a web interface or mobile app interface to let users search through the knowledge base.
Features of the hosted knowledge base
A hosted knowledge management system has the following features:
- Consistency and accuracy of information
- Knowledge is sourced through the right channels and hosted using the right taxonomical systems.
- Efficient data identification and discovery
- Data can be discovered with ease using the assisted search capabilities of the hosted search provider.
- Hosted knowledge management systems are cost-effective. The entire supporting infrastructure is maintained by the host.
Need for hosted knowledge base
There are several needs for an effective hosted knowledge base system. Knowledge is being generated each second from various parts of the world. Even in a big organization, knowledge is generated from various parts of the organization. All of this knowledge needs to be captured and maintained. Wisdom and insights can then be derived from the knowledge base. The insights gained help businesses and public entities to make informed decisions based on past data.
Internal knowledge management
One of the primary needs of an organization is to maintain an internal KM system that captures tacit and implicit knowledge generated within the organization. The captured knowledge is available to be consumed by the internal employees or stakeholders of the organization. Internal KM can also refer to confidential information maintained in secure knowledge bases and access-restricted based on roles and privileges.
External knowledge management
Any information that could be of help or assistance to the customers of a company or its external stakeholders is maintained in external knowledge base systems. An external knowledge base can be hosted or self-hosted. In the former type of system, the host provides all infrastructure support for the organization to successfully resolve all customer queries by referring them to information in the knowledge base.
Advantages of hosted knowledge base
There are several advantages of a hosted knowledge base or knowledge management software. Nowadays, organizations are looking towards hosted knowledge base providers who specialize in hosted knowledge management support and services. Organizations need not worry about data collection, data organization, taxonomy development, indexing, and such knowledge management activities. Rather they can focus on their core competencies and leave the KM part to an external service.
Risk mitigation or Zero-Risk is a primary factor in maintaining knowledge base documents. When an organization hosts a knowledge base, there are various risks that the organization might have to undertake. Especially if it is very sensitive data being hosted. In such cases, the organization might need specialized infrastructure to prevent security breaches. Instead of running rugged implementing security protocols and mechanisms, offloading this responsibility to a hosted service is a better approach.
Although initially an organization could be tempted to self-host a knowledge management system, in the long run, it is ineffective. A knowledge base system is an evolutionary one. For a multi-billion dollar company, a knowledge management system could be needed to be integrated into data lakes, external content management systems, databases, and several sources. Undertaking such a task for an organization could become cumbersome and cost-ineffective in the long run.
3. Data Safety
Hosted knowledge base providers ensure that all safety aspects of a hosted knowledge management system are taken care of. Data safety includes mechanisms to increase data redundancy, data replication, backup, storage, and high availability.
A hosted service is a better option to consider to achieve all these essentials for data safety. Without data safety, data breaches are common and organizational knowledge could get leaked. Loss of revenue in the form of loss of intellectual capital could arise.
Not all organizations have the privilege of blazing-fast network speeds. Most of them need to use VPN and network tunneling to route network traffic. But a hosted service will have its own set of tunneling mechanisms and discrete networks. Requests to the hosted knowledge base will not burden the organization’s network. In many ways, this increases access speeds to the knowledge management. Particularly helpful when distributed teams are working off a single knowledge base.
5. Complex task
Tasks such as maintaining blogs, archives, classification systems, component content management systems, etc. need specialized services and expertise. A cloud knowledge base provider could provide such services, which can leave the organization to focus on only generating knowledge. The knowledge capture, dissemination part is vested with the hosted knowledge base provider.
6. Large Scale operations
A hosted service is based on specialized backend infrastructure that can handle large scale operations. Cloud knowledge base services can handle tens of thousands of requests for data. It is not possible for an organization to handle large scale operations on its own without investing in the infrastructure required for it, and also resources to maintain the systems.
7. Smooth UI
Knowledge base access is mostly via a web interface. There are also mobile apps that provide access to knowledge bases. The user interface is primarily designed to allow users to search for information, retrieve it, store it, share it, benchmark it, and so on.
A hosted knowledge base solution is a better alternative than a self-hosted knowledge management software. The benefits realized from a hosted knowledge base, with effective KM plans, are multi-fold. Self-hosted knowledge bases are good for small knowledge bases that do not have requirements of scaling. Cloud knowledge bases are ideal for large enterprises that generated humungous volumes of data.