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Today, as work cultures and organizational structures evolve, collaboration has become the norm of getting things done and knowledge management systems (KMS) are designed for just that. KMS is short for a whole bouquet of software products and enterprise services that help people work together with ease.
According to research and advisory firm Forrester, KMS includes initiatives that:
Microsoft, the key player
The two main key players in the KMS market has been the Microsoft products–Office 365 and SharePoint Online.
The Office 365 productivity suite brings together many business tools that companies have been using separately under a single umbrella, along with added features and capabilities. The Office desktop series is now embellished with cloud-based versions of collaboration services like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online. This allows companies and teams to access emails, documents, contacts and calendars from practically anywhere. It also facilitates seamless work possibilities with Microsoft Office and other programs that are in use on a daily basis.
SharePoint Online is the service that leverages the mettle of cloud computing for your team. The service allows you to create sites through which you can share documents and information with clients, colleagues and customers. More than 78 per cent of Fortune 500 companies have been known to use SharePoint for collaboration. However, this service can be adapted for use by organizations of any size–big or small.
Such cloud-based knowledge management systems ensure that information and data can be accessed from any device, from anywhere, at any time, thus improving productivity of your employees and maintaining a healthy workflow.
Why Office 365 and Sharepoint Online is way ahead in the game
While there are many other options of KMS to choose from, like Google’s CloudConnect, OneWindow, Salesforce and so on, a majority of companies opt for the combined use of SharePoint Online and features from Office 365 productivity suite for managing their documents and data. Let’s find out what sets these Microsoft products apart from their competitors:
Effective, streamlined document management: Today, knowledge management goes far beyond that just sharing documents and files. Office 365 comes with a user-friendly interface that enables enterprise-wide collaboration. It not only deals with internal data sharing, but the Business Connectivity Services (BCS) in SharePoint allows connectivity to external data. BCS connects to several other enterprise applications like SAP, Seibel, Cognos, and also other cloud-based offerings like SQL Azure, thus making meaningful collaboration possible. This also facilitates knowledge sharing between different teams in the same organization or with clients and customers outside the company.
Efficient workflow management: An efficient knowledge management system can operate seamlessly only if roles and responsibilities of every person involved in the workflow is clearly defined. The workflow engine in SharePoint helps companies achieve this effortlessly. Preset workflow templates like Approval, Approval Review, Verification, Feedback and so on saves time and ensures ease of operation. By syncing these workflows with enterprise directories, it sets out a clear path for employees to follow while they function as part of a collaborative process.
Undisturbed and unified communication: Organizations, today, are spread across the world with remote employees and teams working from different continents across various time zones. Services like Lync Online provide effective communication capabilities like instant messaging and audio/video conferencing, thus bridging the gap that distance creates within your team. With features like screen sharing and virtual whiteboards, collaboration with a global team has become easier than ever.
The Microsoft KMS arsenal
Now that we know why the Office 365 productivity suite and SharePoint Online are way ahead in this race, here are the other programs, plugins and extensions that you can use with these to build the most efficient KMS for your company:
A sound knowledge management system is key to the success and smooth functioning of any business today. It facilitates better decision-making, encourages innovation and fosters a culture of collaboration and learning.
So what are your favorite knowledge management tools? Let us know in the comments section below.
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