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The Definitive Guide to Internal Knowledge Base Software

In this guide we’ll be covering exactly what internal knowledge base software is, what it’s used for, the benefits of internal knowledge base software, and tips for choosing one that’s right for your business. We’ll also provide many links to further information.

20 min read</

Knowledge Base Management


McKinsey’s research estimates that the average office employee invests about 20% of his or her work time into researching internal information. 

This number can be interpreted in different ways, but to put it in perspective; it’s like having your employees show up only 4 out of the 5 days of the week. Or hiring five employees, but having only four available whilst the other one is constantly looking for stuff.

The fact of the matter is that, for a multitude of reasons, finding internal information still takes a significant amount of time out of our professional lives. 

An internal knowledge base is a great way to make information more available to your workforce, which in turn brings an array of benefits that include less research time. It’s worth noting that knowledge bases are not a new concept. That said, entrepreneurs are starting to leverage the power of these unified data repositories to improve their company’s production across the board.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about internal knowledge bases. We’ll tell you what they are, why they are helpful, and give you tips on setting up a centralised information receptacle for your business.

Without further ado, let’s jump in.

What is an Internal Knowledge Base

An internal knowledge base is a centralized database of company resources that serves as the first point of call for most, if not all employee inquiries. 

These resources can come in different formats, but they aim to help answer any question your team members may have. This can include information on objectives, requirements, internal policies, formal procedures, new product or hardware updates, release dates, promotions, troubleshooting, company values, technical specifications, Standard Operating Procedures, onboarding guides, and many more.

Internal databases are usually broken down into two categories, which are:

  • Human-Readable Internal Knowledge Bases: As the name indicates, these knowledge bases come in formats that can be read by humans. These are commonly used for internal and external-facing purposes and can employ AI and machine learning at different degrees.
  • Machine-Readable Knowledge Bases: These knowledge bases are designed for programs and bots. Just like humans, these automated users access machine-readable knowledge bases in order to retrieve instructions and other pieces of information.

This article discusses human-readable internal knowledge bases and it will cover, among other things, common uses for these platforms.

The Power of Centralised Information

Before delving into the world of internal-facing knowledge bases, it’s important to highlight the value of information. Making internal information available and easy to access, say through a centralised library-like structure, can have a very positive effect on any organisation.

The average employee can spend close to 9 hours every week simply tracking down information, which puts a significant financial burden on your company. Besides the fact that they are not producing revenue during these hours, it may also impact other performance areas.

Longer search durations often result in increased hold times. Almost 60% of consumers are only willing to be placed on hold for 5 minutes or less before hanging up, which highlights the importance of making information easily available to your employees.

Not providing the right resources to your team can also be extremely unprofitable. Large corporations lose close to 10 billion US dollars every year because their workers are busy researching information or recreating resources that already exist but can’t be found. 

Even though the loss may be smaller for startups and medium-sized companies, these ventures don’t have the same depth when it comes to financial assets.

This is where internal knowledge bases can really have a huge impact. Having a database of resources that easily accessible may help reduce research time as much as 35%, which can improve several areas of your operation.

An intuitive knowledge base software to easily add your content and integrate it with any application. Give Document360 a try!
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What Are Internal Knowledge Bases Used for?

Internal knowledge bases can vary in size and complexity. Some are basically large encyclopedias. Others are sophisticated problem-solving systems that employ innovative advancements like artificial intelligence.

Due to their flexibility, these platforms can be used to fulfil a number of tasks depending on the requirements of your business. Some signs that your company may benefit from an internal knowledge base include, but are not limited to:

  • Having low collaboration rates
  • Receiving a high volume of internal inquiries for departments like legal, financial, and HR
  • Your company being in a very technical industry
  • Processing a large number of customer-support inquiries regularly
  • Experiencing high hold times and low customer service satisfaction scores
  • Your team spending a lot of time researching information or asking peers for assistance
  • Releasing products or updates that your team haven’t mastered yet
  • Getting frequent requests for new materials or further training from your employees
  • Noticing  different methods being used to address the same issue
  • There being a small group of employees that hold most of the knowledge
  • Email still being the most common way your team shares internal information
  • Encountering the same questions over and over again

Although all knowledge bases work as an informational resource, these internal repositories can actually fulfil different purposes simultaneously. Below, we’ve listed a few common examples of how internal knowledge bases are used today.

Legal Questions and Human Resources Inquiries

Giving your employees the ability to answer common questions on their own or instructions on how to file applications can help save your HR, financial, and legal departments a significant amount of repetitive work.

Troubleshooting Instructions

Troubleshooting is among the most frequent customer inquiries in technical and SaaS companies. Easy access to troubleshooting instructions will help improve the quality and speed of your service, thus enhancing customer experience.

Step-by-Step Guides and FAQs

A large percentage of end-users are not tech-savvy. Having intricate step-by-step guides, FAQs, and even terminology definitions will help usher your customers through the different features your product has to offer.

Information About New Products, Upcoming Launches, and Promotions

New products, promotions, and upcoming releases tend to create a buzz. A knowledge base can help ensure your team has the details of all of these available whenever they need them. Plus, you’ll make sure your clients receive uniform information each time they call in because your team will be singing off the same hymn sheet, regardless of their shift or department.

Summaries of Training Materials

Not all of your employees may have a smooth onboarding process or new product training experience. By giving them additional resources you can help polish their skills and cultivate their ability to become great at their job.

A Creatives Hub

Your marketing, sales, management, and design teams can create an internal knowledge base as a creative hub that helps them find and organise their resources, brainstorm ideas, and develop their projects.

Onboarding Materials

New employees can benefit from a robust internal knowledge base. Instead of wasting time asking managers for information related to how they do their job, they can consult your knowledge base for onboarding materials and get up to speed faster.

Standard Operating Procedures

Every organization has processes that need to be documented. You can use your internal knowledge base as a central repository for Standard Operating Procedures that employees can consult for how to do their jobs.

An intuitive knowledge base software to easily add your content and integrate it with any application. Give Document360 a try!
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The Benefits of Internal Knowledge Base

The main benefit of implementing an internal knowledge base is that you’re furnishing your team with a brand new set of sparkling tools.

Resources stored by an internal-facing knowledge base can include materials such as technical information, discount codes, and even links to internal forms that can be submitted without any assistance. 

In other words, deploying a knowledge base for your employees may potentially result in a series of different advantages. These include:

Improve Internal Communications

Efficient knowledge bases will allow collaborations in different ways. For example, they can allow communication via chats, comments, forums, discussion rooms, and other methods. 

Besides encouraging your team to maintain open communication lines, many commercial knowledge bases can also be integrated to other platforms for easy collaboration. What’s more, the best platform will send notifications via your team’s preferred communication channel so they never skip a beat.

Increase Productivity

Having information readily available usually results in faster service and a knowledgeable team. Both of these elements influence the way your business operates both internally and externally. As a result, deploying an internal knowledge base can boost productivity across different sectors.

At the same time, a swift team that always seems to have solutions at hand will make you an authority in your industry!

Deliver Superior Customer Service

Maintaining great customer service standards is critical to the success of any company. Besides keeping your client base coming back for more, it will earn your company a good reputation. 

A lot of entrepreneurs also overlook the fact that customers appreciate being treated well, which could veer them to spending more money on your products. 

According to a survey conducted in 2017, 15% of people in the UK report the will to spend more money on a company that offers great customer service, which translates to higher profit margins.

Higher Retention Rates

The key to keeping any company afloat is, well, making it profitable. When you mention increasing revenue, most owners and marketers will immediately suggest an aggressive marketing campaign. Or maybe different sales strategies.

The bottom line is that keeping your current clients can be a lot more profitable than converting new prospects. Some estimates suggest that it’s five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep one of your existing clients.

An internal knowledge base can be used as a great retention tool because it can give your team the information they need to keep clients happy. Besides walkthroughs and technical details, a knowledge base can also feature different retention resources like discount codes or effective rebuttals.

Smoother On-Boarding and Internal Transitions

Training your new employees adequately is pivotal to the success of your operation. New team members need to be brought up to speed quickly so they can start engaging in revenue-generating tasks. Likewise, employees receiving training for novel products or about to take on different responsibilities need the right coaching to flourish in their new roles.

You can lay the groundwork and cultivate a quick learning environment by giving your team the safety net of an internal knowledge base. Serving as their first point of call, your team can have immediate access to all previous training materials in case they need to review an old lesson.

Some knowledge bases even allow your employees to take internal educational courses that help establish a smooth transition and upskilling opportunities even after they enter production.

How to Set Up an Internal Knowledge Base?

Right! Now that we’ve covered the basics of internal-facing knowledge bases, it’s time to dive a bit deeper. 

Setting up a centralised collection of resources may sound relatively easy, but it can become a complex process. There are dozens of sources you need to take into consideration and hundreds of pieces to sieve through. 

And, before you even start to compile content, you have to look at areas of improvement and elements that could benefit your company. 

All businesses have unique requirements so the definition of a perfect knowledge base will depend on your company’s requisites. That said, reliable internal information databases tend to share similar qualities. Below are some tips on creating an awesome internal knowledge base for your business.

Evaluate Your Current Performance

Besides figuring out what features you need, evaluating your current performance will verify the need for an internal knowledge base. You’ll identify areas of improvement, which can help push your knowledge base in the right direction.

You’ll want to thoroughly analyse all of your company’s processes. From recruiting right down to order processing, all areas of your business may be improved by an internal knowledge base.

Set up an Internal Knowledge Base Team

Internal knowledge bases are not one-time projects but ongoing endeavours. Set up a model where your database is updated regularly, preferably by a consistent team that will set and follow the necessary guidelines.

Your dedicated team will be in charge of writing articles, coordinating the development of additional content, updating your knowledge base, and conducting all related research. This includes employee and customer surveys as well as any other creative methods you deem suitable.

Determine the Style and Content Guidelines

Standardisation is a key part of the success of your internal knowledge base. Presenting content in different styles will deter your employees from recurring to your database. This is mainly because they have to search all over the page for information every time they open a new post.

Presenting all of your pages in a similar, systematic manner will simplify the task at hand. Choosing a simple layout with a good use of white space will instinctively tell them where to look. 

At the same time, you’ll reduce labour for your content development team because they can create a large set of editable templates that can then be stored in the knowledge base itself.

Decide What Information Will Be Prioritised

This point will vary tremendously depending on the size and age of your organisation. Small startups that have just landed their first sales usually have a finite amount of information which simplifies the process.

Stable small and medium-sized companies that offer several products usually have a lot more internal data. In these cases, you can start by looking at the most common inquiries or internal discussion topics and work from there. 

You can also conduct creative research like polls or checking the most popular keywords in your company email box. This will give you insights on the first topics you want to develop and help you establish an order for the creation funnel.

Find a Reliable Internal Knowledge Base Provider

Internal knowledge bases are part of a larger business structure, but they should not be half-heartedly put together or bundled with another platform. 

Internal repositories that are bundled with other platforms have obvious limitations like a weak search engine or lack of analytics features. Having an unreliable knowledge base often results in poor user experience, so your workforce will never exploit its full potential.

An internal knowledge base should be a standalone tool that can independently be used to optimise, organise, or retrieve information. 

That said, this software also plays a key role in your company’s overall knowledge management ecosystem. Find a provider that allows easy integration with your other business tools and the flexibility to meet your other demands.

An intuitive knowledge base software to easily add your content and integrate it with any application. Give Document360 a try!
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knowledge base software

Define a Flexible Base Structure

In addition to developing a set of guidelines for the content, you also have to define the structure of the actual knowledge base. This is extremely important, especially because it can improve the efficiency of your knowledge base search engine. 

Remember that you’ll be updating content on regular basis, so you’ll also want to find a flexible platform that allows easy restructuring.

Try to break down your centralised information repository into broad categories and narrow them by using subsections. For instance, you can start with a broad group like Technical Support, then go into specifications like Troubleshooting, Ticketing, and Escalating.

Establish a Project Calendar

Lastly, start working out the creation and implementation of content. The best way to do so is by establishing a calendar for your internal knowledge base and treating it like an additional project. 

You should determine the initial launch date, assign team members with their responsibilities, and collaborate with them to figure out the updating frequency. Also, make the right preparations like informing the rest of your employees about the work in progress and providing adequate training.

Top Internal Knowledge Base Software

In order to properly implement your internal knowledge base, you need to choose the right software to facilitate your needs. We’ve got a list of top tools that you can consider to start creating your internal knowledge base right away.


First of all, we can highly recommend Document360. Document360 offers all the features you need to create a successful internal knowledge base. This platform is known for its highly intuitive editor which allows you to create content in Markdown or using the WYSIWYG editor.

Document360 benefits from the ability to create a private knowledge base through your business that is accessible only through a login. For larger businesses, Document360 offers enterprise-grade security that keeps your documents secure and protected from attack. You’ll be able to follow an audit log which provides a detailed account of team activity in the knowledge base.

Need more than one knowledge base to serve your users? Document360 makes that easy, with the ability to manage multiple knowledge bases from the same account. Simply upgrade your plan to access extra knowledge bases. Advanced analytics tell you how users are interacting with your content and help you stay abreast of potential updates.

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Zendesk is a popular help desk tool that also comes with a robust knowledge base add-on feature called Guide. The advantage of Guide is that it integrates with the Zendesk ticketing system so you can easily find or create articles while you are helping customers.

Zendesk allows you to restrict content to certain groups so it’s simple to manage permissions for your articles. Articles save as you write them so you never risk losing your work. Zendesk Guide tracks the changes that are made to your knowledge base so you can always stay abreast of recent updates.

You can translate your articles into more than 40 different languages so it’s straightforward to cater to an international team. The main drawback of Guide is that it must be used with your Zendesk ticketing system, so if you already have a help desk you’re happy with, this can end up being a very expensive option.



Notion is a tool that is more like a wiki, enabling you to bring your internal knowledge together in one interactive platform. You can organize your work into Teamspaces which makes it easy to find documents relating to different departments. Notion has the advantage of offering features that are normally supplied by multiple different collaboration tools, such as the ability to create tasks or assign labels.

Notion is popular because it is very easy to use and has an appealing user interface. Instead of clunky outdated technology, Notion makes content creation a breeze with the ability to organize information in many different formats.

Notion comes with a vast number of templates that help you create beautiful looking documents to present your work. The limitation of Notion is that it is more of a team collaboration tool than just simple knowledge base software, so you may end up paying for features you don’t need.



Confluence is popular wiki software that allows you to create spaces populated with content that is relevant to each team. Confluence was designed with remote workers in mind and comes with a library of templates that allow you to create informative documents that also look good. Documents are organized as pages, making it easy to navigate around to find the information you need.

Confluence is mainly intended for teams who want to collaborate more effectively and need a place to store their knowledge. Confluence benefits from many powerful integrations with the tools you love, including Google Docs and Trello. One other great thing about Confluence is it is free for up to ten users, making this a strong option for smaller teams.

You can track the history of every version of a page so you’ll always be able to manage your knowledge. It’s possible to manage permissions of who can access every space or page, so your private knowledge is protected. While offering a robust company wiki, Confluence also has collaboration features to make your knowledge actionable.

Help Scout

Help Scout

Help Scout is another help desk ticketing system that comes with internal knowledge base software attached. Help Scout is particularly targeted at smaller businesses who want to use their software to help customers and also to organize their knowledge. It offers all the features you would expect such as the ability to create articles, optimize for SEO, and serve contextual articles in your website or app.

The limitation of Help Scout is that its knowledge base software is primarily intended for customer-facing teams, so you may be paying for features you don’t need such as the ability to contact support in the widget. Creating and sharing internal knowledge won’t be as smooth in a tool that has not been designed for the purpose.

The advantage of Help Scout is you can very quickly create new articles when you detect a gap in your knowledge. You can then surface relevant articles using the Beacon help widget, so users can find information without leaving the app.



Nuclino allows you to organize your knowledge and manage projects all in one place. It’s intended for internal teams who want to enhance their productivity and ensure that information never gets lost. Nuclino emphasizes connectivity for those who want to use a single productivity tool instead of working with multiple apps. It’s simple and intuitive to use, so teams can get up and running right away.

Nuclino is designed for you to create beautiful content and you can even write in Markdown, which will significantly accelerate the speed of some of your document creation. With Nuclino, you can benefit from real-time collaboration so none of your changes are overwritten if someone else is working on the same document. For teams who are interested in Nuclino for project management, you can change the view of your workflow to be able to manage your tasks in your preferred way.

Your changes are automatically saved and synced across all devices, opening up the doorway for more effective remote working. Nuclino allows you to easily link to different pages from your content, ensuring that all of your work is inter-connected. Nuclino also integrates with apps like Slack and Teams so you can create knowledge from anywhere.



Unlike other tools on this list, MediaWiki is open source wiki software that allows you to create a knowledge base for your users. You may well have used MediaWiki since it powers Wikipedia as well as many other popular wikis. The advantage of MediaWiki is that you can open it up to a large pool of users who are all interested in creating content for your business.

MediaWiki is not only free of charge, but it is also extensible and customizable so you can create a version of MediaWiki that meets your needs. If you host the wiki on your own internal servers, you can restrict access to the wiki from unwanted visitors but there’s no way to deny access at the page level. Since MediaWiki is free, you’ll have to pay for your own maintenance, hosting and updates, so there are plenty of hidden costs associated with open source software.

MediaWiki also takes up a lot of disk space since it has been designed to serve high-traffic sites, so it may not be appropriate if memory is a problem.

What You Need to Look for in an Internal Knowledge Base Provider

There are many companies that provide knowledge base solutions, albeit not all of them are standalone platforms. Take the time to research the different providers until you find one that fits your budget and capacity requirements.

Some elements you want to take into consideration when choosing a provider include:

The Ability to Collaborate and Interact

We’ve said it again and again, but allowing collaboration is a key part of any robust knowledge base.

A Powerful Search Engine

Your employees don’t always have time to navigate through your knowledge base. Find a platform that allows searches based on keywords and other filters.

Tags, Keywords and Other Labeling Methods

Allowing tags, keywords, and other labelling methods is a great way to make searching and structuring easier.

Multimedia and Multi-Format Libraries

Company resources can range from simple texts to videos and complex forms. Verify your internal knowledge base provider allows you to different media formats for a complete experience.

Versioning, Rollback and Other Editing Features

Some pieces of content may require curating, so having the ability to create and save different versions will help produce better content. Additionally, a great knowledge base will let you see the updates that you make to each version by highlighting them in a side-by-side view.

Updating a business’ knowledge base can also mean accidentally changing a file at the wrong time. Your internal database should also have rollback features that help you restore previous versions and other editing features to prevent the loss of content once and for all.

A Flexible and Intuitive Structure

Contrary to popular belief, not all office employees are good with computers. Make sure the platform you choose is intuitive and easily edited so your knowledge base team can make adjustments as soon as they get feedback.

Tips for Optimising Your Internal Knowledge Base

Optimising your internal knowledge base will help keep the content fresh and up to date. And, as long as you update it frequently, your employees will see it as a reliable source. 

Below, we’ve compiled some quick tips on optimising your internal knowledge base after its initial launch.

Perfect the User Experience

Use a combination of employee surveys and digital statistics to help find ways to hone the user experience.

Deploy a More Efficient Search Engine

Search engine technology is constantly evolving, so make sure you have a potent browser powering your internal knowledge base.

Rewrite or Optimise Old Content

The drill is similar to SEO optimisation. If you find tags or keywords that are getting a lot of searches, but the current posts don’t seem to meet the demand, think about rewriting or recreating the content.

Make All Types of Resources Accessible Through Your Knowledge Base

Internal knowledge bases cultivate an environment of shared information and transparency. You can use this to your advantage and make it a dissemination channel for all types of resources and announcements.

Collect Feedback from Employees and Your Clients

You can always find new areas of improvement by constantly collecting feedback from your employees and your clients. This practice can help develop new topics and discover opportunities for future improvements.

If you choose knowledge base software like Document360, you can integrate with other software like Slack and Microsoft Teams. With Slack, your employees can author documentation directly from the workspace and write in markdown for any version of your knowledge base. In Teams, you can seamlessly search for and share articles directly in the Teams interface.

Choosing the Best Internal Knowledge Base

There are dozens of companies that provide knowledge base capacities. Many of these are bundled with flagship products, like Zendesk’s knowledge base, for instance. But, choosing a standalone internal knowledge base tends to provide the best results as far as user experience and overall quality.

Even though it may not be the case for all, bundled knowledge bases tend to present fundamental flaws or limitations that spring from unsuitable designs. 

Standalone internal knowledge bases, on the other hand, serve a series of specialized purposes. Therefore, their developers focus on perfecting the capacities and features that help solve these issues.

A Comparison of Paid and Free Internal Knowledge Bases

Startups and small companies are no strangers to financial constraints, which may skew them towards free internal knowledge bases. 

Like most other business software, free knowledge base technology usually comes with certain drawbacks when compared to their paid counterparts. These may include a cap on the number of users that can access the database or a sparse set of features.

In some cases, internal knowledge bases are used as a lead strategy to get companies to sign up for a provider’s flagship product, which is usually a CRM or customer support tool.

Choosing a paid knowledge base will give you access to premium features and benefits. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a solid free option. That said, you’ll need to invest time in researching and reading reviews about the best free internal knowledge bases available!

Should You Use a Wiki Page as a Knowledge Base?

Wiki pages and Wiki databases are collaborative platforms where a community of users add and edit content as they see fit. While they make fantastic public collaborative encyclopedias, Wiki pages have elemental flaws that don’t make them the best choice as a business knowledge base.

Security is a major concern when it comes to using a Wiki page as a company’s knowledge base. Knowledge bases are meant to be comprehensive, but Wikis are accessible by people outside of the organisation. Wiki knowledge bases tend to be incomplete or may they risk sharing internal information with your clients and competitors.

Internal knowledge bases offer the ability to create and enforce a hierarchy of select users that can change and update the resources. Collaboration is key, but not all users in an internal knowledge base should be able to edit the base content in a document. 

Plus, internal centralised repositories allow you to track statistics so you can deduce what content needs to be developed, which employees should join the knowledge base team, and what user interface upgrades can take place, among other improvements.

Get the Best Internal Knowledge Base for Your Company

Finding a reliable knowledge base takes time, but it can bring tremendous benefits to your company. You should always identify the features that will help your organization the most in order to find a provider that can meet your current and future demands.

Document360 offers a robust, standalone knowledge base that’s a great fit for companies of all sizes. Our platform was developed as a customer-facing repository, but we took the time to implement features that also make it a superb choice as an internal database.

Our development team is constantly working to enhance our features, which already include versioning, user hierarchy, rich-media support, and rollback capacities, just to name a few.

We strive to provide an intuitive, collaboration-friendly platform that’s backed by a powerful search engine in order to deliver the best internal database you can hope for. If you want to learn more about our platform, get in touch with us today and our team will be glad to help.

Questions & answers

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  • What is an employee knowledge base?

    An employee knowledge base also known as internal knowledge base is built by a corporation solely for internal usage. Consider it an internal help desk where your staff can access the information they need, when they need it.

  • Aside from increasing staff morale and engagement, good internal knowledge base software provides other major advantages, including centralised information, reduced training costs, increased productivity and more.

  • Company information like employee handbooks, organizational charts, Standard operating procedures, training manual, contact lists, and other confidential policies, Documentation for training and sales collateral, Marketing materials, Press and media files, Files for design and Documents of legal significance.