Enterprise Q&A for Knowledge Management
Quora and Stack Overflow are the two most popular Questions & Answers (Q&A) websites. People from all over the world can ask questions and get answers from others. More importantly, all the questions and answers become a repository of knowledge that can be used as references for millions of people.
But what about people in the enterprise space who cannot post their work-related questions on a public site? Is it worthwhile to add Enterprise Questions and Answers to the list of collaboration tools?
Our take is that every team should have a knowledge management system for their team members to capture and share knowledge. And questions and answers should be a key component of it.
Get the ultimate guide on what knowledge management is.
Explicit and Tacit Knowledge
Generally speaking, there are two types of knowledge - explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge.
Explicit knowledge is easier to capture through documentation. Most companies have a lot of content in applications such as company wikis, Intranets, document management tools, etc.
But tacit knowledge, the "know-how" that your employees possess, is much harder to manage. Tacit knowledge is personal, context-specific, and constantly evolving. It is difficult to document and share. Examples of tacit knowledge include hands-on skills, special know-how, and employee experience.
Tacit knowledge accounts for 80% of your total team knowledge. Q&A is the most effective way to capture and share tacit knowledge, which has been proven by Quora and Stack Overflow.
Using document management tools such as a wiki to manage tacit knowledge is highly ineffective.
Good documents take a lot of time and resources to create. In today’s fast-changing world, documents go outdated really really quickly. Today, many companies struggle to keep their team wiki updated with new changes. Over time, the system will be cluttered with outdated materials and content.
Finding information for a specific issue in the sea of documents is virtually impossible. Furthermore, even if you find the information, you cannot trust it because it may not be accurate or relevant anymore.
See Document Management vs. Knowledge Management for more discussion on this topic.
How about existing tools such as emails and chats?
Yes, people are already collaborating by asking questions using existing channels like email and communication tools such as Slack. It requires no extra setup. But the issues with it are quite obvious. The knowledge is deeply buried in all the email threads and chat conversations. It is not organized, searchable, or reusable.
It makes a huge difference when using a knowledge base software to capture and share such Q&As. It puts institutional knowledge in a central place where all team members can access from anywhere, at any time.
Why Enterprise Q&A?
- Natural way to collaborate – Questions and answers is the most natural way to collaborate with your peers. Questions are asked and answers are provided. Answers can be accepted as the correct answers and voted up or down by peers.
- Break knowledge silos – Questions can be posted to a community that consists of users from different groups and departments. Answers from different users often provide unique perspectives that would otherwise be missed.
- Complement other content – Q&A is the best way to capture tacit knowledge and it complements other content such as wiki pages which are used for documentation purposes.
- Key component of a knowledge base – Many companies consider a company Q&A part of communication. We at AllAnswered, on the other hand, consider it an integral part of your knowledge management system.
- Secure and scalable – An enterprise-grade Q&A system is secure so your knowledge can stay safe and only be accessed by the right users. It is also scalable, capable of supporting teams of all sizes, from 50 to more than 5000 users.
- Searchable – All the questions and answers are constantly indexed by the knowledge management system so they can be easily queried for information.
Forums are not Q&As
A forum may look like a Q&A board but there is a key difference. Forums, also known as discussion boards, are designed for people expressing their opinions rather than capturing knowledge. The content from different users is organized as a chronological list. There is no clear indication which post has the correct information. You have to read through lengthy posts to find what you are looking for. On the other hand, a well-designed company Q&A supports features such as accepted answers and a voting system, making finding the right information a breeze.
AllAnswered is a comprehensive knowledge management system that is designed to capture and share both explicit and tacit knowledge in the most effective way. It supports an advanced Wiki system to capture the explicit knowledge and uses posts such as Q&As, ideas, and polls to capture tacit knowledge. Each post is a bite-sized information that is highly targeted and easy to find.
Questions? All Answered!
Enterprise Q&A is a key feature of AllAnswered Knowledge Management System. It boosts your employee productivity by giving everyone the power to ask and answer questions. It extracts the valuable knowledge from emails, chats, wikis, help desk ticket systems, discussion boards, etc.
AllAnswered is a comprehensive knowledge management system that is designed to capture and share both explicit and tacit knowledge in the most effective way. It supports an advanced Wiki system to capture the explicit knowledge and uses posts such as Q&As, ideas, and polls to capture tacit knowledge. Each post is a piece of bite-sized information that is highly targeted and easy to find.
You can try out AllAnswered Knowledge Management System absolutely free for 14 days and no credit card is required.