1. Document library
A document library is a cloud-based software where you can store and share your documents. Like a knowledge base, a document library helps centralize your company resources so that you can share files across your organization. Another name for a document library is a document repository.
The purpose of a document library is to store your company’s documents in one location.
The main differences between a document library and a knowledge base are two-fold.
First, a document library doesn’t typically have an opportunity for creating your documents. That means you need an external drafting program (like Google Sheets, Microsoft Word, or another system), to author your policies and procedures.
Second, the search function is less robust. It works more like desktop folders where you can organize your documents in multiple sub-folders. The danger with this is it is easy to lose files as they get nestled in your organization system.
One way to look at a document library is it is the training wheels to getting a knowledge base — it gets you in the habit of centralizing your knowledge, but doesn’t support employees or help them improve their performance.
For a more comprehensive comparison, read about the differences between a document library and a knowledge base here.
2. Learning management system (LMS)
A learning management system (LMS) is a collection of self-paced training courses for your employees. Companies use an LMS to organize e-learning, create custom courses, and build upon classroom learning.
The purpose of an LMS is to teach employees new skills by filling in the gaps that were missed in classroom training as well as build on the knowledge employees gained during onboarding.
While an LMS and knowledge base can both help with training employees, their roles in training are different. An LMS is a tool for independent learning that provides employees with a background education on skills and company information.
Alternatively, a knowledge base is used in training as a hands-on learning tool. Because your employees will use a knowledge base in their day-to-day job, you use a knowledge base in onboarding as part of scenario-based training.
Then they can learn in the workflow as they encounter new situations and use the knowledge base to complete tasks.
See when it’s best to use an LMS, when to use a knowledge base, and when to use both to improve employee performance here.
An intranet is an internal company website. It is a private online network that centralizes company operational information and allows companies to communicate with employees.
The purpose of an intranet is to increase communication and connection between the company and employees as well as employees across the organization.
The main difference between an intranet and a knowledge base is the information that you store on each site.
Typically, an intranet is used to share company announcements, upload files, send messages, view organizational charts, and other company communications and organizational information. While you can store policies and procedures in an intranet, that isn’t the purpose of an intranet.
Comparatively, you store policies, procedures, how-to guides, call flows, and other employee support materials that help your employees perform their jobs in a knowledge base.
Dive into a more detailed comparison of the role of an intranet vs. a knowledge base here.
4. Corporate wiki
A corporate wiki is a website — either private or public — that is created through collaboration. Think of it as Wikipedia for your company information. It is a centralized repository to store, share, and collaborate on content.
The purpose of a wiki is to provide an opportunity for employees to crowdsource information and share their knowledge.
In many ways, a wiki is a cross between a knowledge base and an intranet. The main difference between a wiki and a knowledge base is its collaborative nature. Wikis rely on tribal knowledge and are less controlled. A knowledge base relies on expert knowledge.
Understand more of the differences between a wiki and a knowledge base here.
5. Flowchart diagram tool
A flowchart diagram tool is a visual representation of a decision tree.
The purpose of a flowchart diagram is to present processes and procedures in a visual manner. They walk end-users through a procedure step-by-step by presenting choices with outcomes.
While a knowledge base hosts processes and procedures, it typically presents decision trees differently. Often, a knowledge base uses a standard word article or interactive workflow articles to walk an end-user through a procedure.
However, some knowledge base software services have a flowchart diagram tool as part of their knowledge base.