A phrase that gets used frequently on our blog is “knowledge base.” It sounds nice and official, and gives off an air of high-tech importance, but it’s actually a very functional and basic concept. A knowledge base, at its core, is simply a place to store information that can be easily accessed later on.
The fact that “knowledge base” is so simply defined means that it can actually have many uses… especially in the software world. I mean, you know we’re going to talk about software documentation, but we’re definitely not going to stop there. A knowledge base can enhance your software business in many different ways and at several levels.
Let’s just start off with this doozie, because it’s an important one.
Software documentation is a form of knowledge base that saves time for both you and your customers. Taking the time to create a thorough and effective piece of software documentation will empower your customers to solve technical problems themselves, rather than take up your time and manpower filing support tickets.
Easily Accessible Manuals and Guides
Remember the user manual “olden days” of storing product guides in overstuffed totes and shoeboxes? You can use a knowledge base to join the 21st century by putting your basic product guides and manuals online. From here, you’ll be able to update information as needed to keep customers as up-to-speed as possible.
Help Sites and Frequently Asked Questions
Information and instruction are, of course, necessary parts of a knowledge base. If you move some of your focus to the user experience, however, you can turn your knowledge base into a highly utilized help site. Providing a search engine within the site and compiling a list of FAQs will make your knowledge base approachable and user-friendly.
A knowledge base isn’t just helpful for your customers; your business can benefit greatly from a thorough internal knowledge base. Integral company information can be quickly updated and maintained in a central location so that each person on your team is in the know.
Company policies are imperative to heed, but are also constantly evolving. An easily accessible online employee handbook will keep each employee up-to-speed on expectations, regardless of any changes.
Employee Training Manuals and Portals:
The employee on-boarding process can be tedious for management and the new members of your company. Creating training portals via a knowledge base and providing online training manuals will make the process faster and more efficient, and will help your team get to work with the information they need.
A knowledge base is an essential (and extremely versatile) tool in the software development world. If you’d like to learn more about ways to make your business processes more efficient and hands-off, please check out the new book, Systematize. This book touches on knowledge bases and other techniques that will help you run your business so that it’s not running you.