9 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Knowledge Sharing Systems

knowledge_sharing_systemsAre you evaluating different knowledge sharing systems for your organization? Here are nine questions to ask.

  1. Is the tool web-based or is it something that needs to be installed on our servers? Web-based systems make life easier for everyone. All people need is access to the Internet, something they can do from their computers, tablets, or mobile devices.
  1. Does it have a strong search function? A strong, easy-to-use search function is critical to a successful knowledge sharing system. You should be able to search on keyword phrases and names, and the search algorithm should be "smart" enough to pull up exact phrases and similar phrases (e.g. plural/singular versions of the terms people enter).
  1. Is the software/system intuitive? As you're doing your research, ask for and/or watch demos whenever possible. At the very least, the system should allow people to easily do the following:

  • Create a profile that highlights their expertise
  • Find someone with the specific knowledge that they're looking for
  • Create projects
  • Create tasks for projects
  • Create learning groups
  • Create and share resources
  • Ask questions to anyone in the system

  1. How robust are profiles? A knowledge sharing system is only as good as the people who use it. You want everyone to create thorough profiles so that when people search, they can find the best match for their needs. The only way this can happen, however, is if the knowledge sharing system not only allows for robust profiles, but also requires people to fill in certain information.
  1. How much headroom does the software have? Choose software that can easily grow and adapt with your organization. For example, if you decide to use a CRM down the road, does your knowledge sharing system allow for easy integration?
  1. How customizable is the software? Every organization is different and has different needs. As such, you'll likely want to customize your knowledge sharing system so that it reflects your organization and your brand. This could be something as simple as being able to add your logo so that it appears on every screen. In other cases, this might involve changing specific words/verbiage you use throughout the system. The best systems are nimble, meaning you can easily customize it to suit your organization's needs.
  1. What sort of technical support is available? With any software system, people will inevitably have questions or run into occasional glitches. Tech support should be responsive and helpful. Make sure you understand tech support's typical office hours and the protocol for issues that crop up during off hours, such as evenings and weekends.
  1. What about security/privacy? You need a system that is secure from login to communication within the system itself. Make sure you thoroughly understand the security protocol associated with the system. Good systems will usually have thorough documentation and/or FAQs that clearly address common security concerns.
  1. How is the product priced? By user? One set price? A yearly license? Is technical support included? Do you need to pay for upgrades? When reviewing prices of different systems and tools, make sure you're comparing apples to apples.

Our knowledge sharing system, Anytime Mentoring, satisfies all of the above…and more. Interested? Request a demo!

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Topics: Mentoring Software & Tools