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All you need to know about KM for Document Management Systems (DMS)

Updated On: October 20, 2023

What is a Document Management System (DMS)?

When a business grows, the amount of paperwork automatically increases. Sometimes, sorting these documents into appropriate channels can get chaotic, but the valuable data held within makes this task unavoidable. For this reason, most companies today use Document Management Systems (DMS) to simplify the process. A DMS receives, tracks, manages, and stores documents, including various versions, created and modified by employees, on a computer system.

DMS & KMS - Are They The Same?

A common confusion exists among DMS users that a DMS and KMS are the same. If you think so too, then you are at the right place. Read on to understand what sets a DMS and a KMS apart.

The differences majorly are

1. Documentation

A DMS is merely a documentation platform that facilitates storing of information and authoring. Access to the scattered information needs users to know the exact location of the document. 

On a KMS, everything is under one portal, so the documentation happens on one single platform, enabling the idea of a single source of truth. A knowledge management system enables documentation from various sources and in multiple formats. 

2. Accurate information

There is a wide range of information on a DMS platform, and even with search options available, it might not be possible to get the exact information needed when required in really less time. 

On the other hand, a KMS has intelligent search capabilities where information can be searched for instantly. Information is not redundant, and one can quickly get rid of information that is not accurate. 

3. Tools

A DMS is limited to having authoring tools. It isn’t customer-centric, but it is user-centric. A user-centric approach would mean accessing documents of various kinds. Tools on a DMS would not be as flexible as on a KMS. 

A KMS has innovative tools backed by AI and ML, which means the content’s authoring and distributing is more accessible. The tools make it easier to get to the next action for any user, even with access, unlike in a DMS.

4. Impact on end-users

A DMS is mainly for internal usage and internal employees to use. It isn’t always easy to show this information to external sources. A DMS does not have federated content for more straightforward disposal at the exterior end. 

On a KMS, information is stored for both internal and external users. Data can be disseminated to the customers through self-service portals and enable omnichannel presence. A KMS cares for the end-users who the knowledge is going towards as well. 

Why KMS is a better choice?

Not considering the benefits of a knowledge base management system is downright declining the opportunities a knowledge management system could enhance internal and external knowledge accessibility, creation, etc. 

Knowledge management not just helps access all the information you have. It helps with the whole knowledge management process. The entire knowledge management process would include the collection, creation, authoring, and distribution of all organizational knowledge. 

1. Create

Creating content includes creating all forms and kinds of content for both internal and external use of the organization.

2. Curate

After content is created, it is essential to keep it up-to-date. The curation of content includes this activity. 

3. Manage

Managing refers to the ability to send information where needed and break the silos for easier access.

4. Distribute

Distributing refers to disseminating content across multiple channels for omnichannel presence.

The benefits a KM offers over DMS

1. Customer experience

One of the key benefits or the differentiator of a DMS to a KMS is that a KMS offers the customer experience aspect of organizational data. Internal data can quickly be disseminated to the customer front with the help of knowledge management. 

With knowledge management tools, content can be accessed by customers through engaging interactions. For example, a knowledge management system like Knowmax has KM tools like decision trees, visual guides, etc.

The elements act as self-help guides that a DMS cannot always provide. A DMS is more on an internal level in the organization, whereas a KMS can bring out the same on the customer front while reflecting organizational values. 

2. Improved productivity

With an accessible information source with all organization information segregated into different departments, specific information is available under exact folders. How this improves productivity is paramount because of the organization of data. 

When all information is correctly organized, the employee doesn’t need to screen toggle like in a DMS. Advanced KMS has features like chrome extension that provide open search options. 

Innovative tools powered by AI, backed with solid ML background, automatically drive meaningful work. Time can be saved and improves productivity through KMS in a better way when compared to DMS. 

3. The clarity in decision making

When an employee opens a file on a particular keyword, in a typical DMS search, many files might pop up. Then the employee will take time to look at different files. To open each file and find what exactly they need is a time taking task. 

For quick decision-making, KM tools that have google-like elastic search save a lot of time. What intelligent KM search tools do is they have meta-descriptions that help check the nature of the document. 

Checking the type of document helps save wait time during contact with the customer. Any employee in the organization need not open the file to check on what they need. Instead, they can differentiate and get what they want during the search itself.

4. Knowledge disseminating culture

Knowledge-sharing culture is essential for any organization. What happens so often is that information does not disseminate, making a few employees work on hindsight. There is no more significant disadvantage in an organization than improper sharing of information. 

On a DMS, an employee needs to know the actual document to address their needs. On a KMS, it is differently done. And it also typically doesn’t have federated content search or browsing. 

The home page of a modern KMS would typically include dashboards to notify employees of any new information or happenings in the organization. It also serves as a single platform, so the employees need not check other platforms for updates. 

5. Faster onboarding

Typically, while using a DMS, an employee is supposed to know the whereabouts of files and information needed for their knowledge.

KMS offers federated content and quiz management, which makes onboarding a more straightforward process for new agents. Instead of having to ask, again and again, an employee after their formal training will be able to get information just through a search on KMS. 

In a way along, Quizzes also act as a learning management system that helps employees understand and keep the knowledge they need to know. This feature allows less reliance and fewer human resources required for hassle-free onboarding. 

6. Knowledge retention

Something can sometimes lose knowledge when an employee leaves the organization. Knowledge loss would be a massive disadvantage to current working employees of the organization. 

With a single source of truth and one platform access using KMS, one can save assets from any source like shared filed systems. On a DMS, information can be scattered. 

With KMS, information can be backed even after deletion. Data is archived for up to 90 days and can be accessed if needed from the cloud. This information cannot be lost even after deletion.


There is a significant difference between a DMS and a KMS. The major one is a KMS allowing more accessible access to the already present DMS. If used, a KMS opens up incredible opportunities at an organization for their knowledge management. 

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