Extending Slack with Knowledge Management
Slack is just one of many tools organisations rely on to keep teams in touch with each other at work, whether in an office or working remotely. It’s a great tool for just-in-time communicating, but it hits a wall when it’s your only centralised knowledge source. It’s even harder when channels get so vast, that it’s too hard to stay on top of what’s being talked about. In a distributed workforce—which has become the norm in recent months, of course—Slack becomes the hub of escalation, clarification, and socialisation. As part of your overall knowledge management strategy, Slack is where tacit knowledge surfaces. Tacit knowledge is transient—it surfaces only when the related question is asked—and if we don’t capture it then and there, we forget we even know it. This is the sort of information new people need, but don’t know to ask for it, and as experts we forget to share it, because it forms part of the assumed knowledge. Thankfully, there are a few knowledge base integrations (and a few other knowledge add-ons) that extend Slack for better knowledge management (KM), making knowledge capture and reuse much easier, creating more value from your investment in Slack as a communication platform and delivering a just-in-time training tool for new hires at the same time.
*Ticketing and task management platforms have been excluded from this list.
AllAnswered is an all-in-one community knowledge management system with wiki, Q+A, workflow and AI capabilities. It works by bringing groups together into a channel to manage content within Slack. This is a strong contender for Communities of Practice managing tribal knowledge as a group.
Bloomfire is a separate content management system offering a Slack integration. It’s a robust platform that can be an intranet, a support knowledge base, and a decision-making tool for sharing customer insights. This is my pick if you’re in a large enterprise and would benefit from the power of having an employee portal.
Here’s an app with a different flavour. Bookly helps you manage physical libraries in workplaces, making it easier for team members to know what books are available, and giving you insight into where the high-demand is.
This is an expertise location addon that enables collaborative tagging to identify who has what skills. Although, with Slack’s acquisition of Rimeto, that may see Hiki struggling for attention in the near future. Directories & expertise location have been grossly underserved in the SaaS technology space, until recently. The problem with most people profiles is that the traditional systems have relied on the individual to fill out their profile and identify their own skill-sets. But often, we have skills that we don’t realise or we don’t value like others do, so I like Hiki because it allows others to tag us for those skills we don’t recognise. Let’s see what happens with this Rimeto acquisition.
This integration provides command-line interaction with what promises to be a powerful document management system. Markdown, versioning, collaborative editing, article lifecycle cues, and a series of other useful meta-attributes make this seem like a good pick for technical writing teams, though it’s not limited to that use case. Visit the link to see how it looks.
Guru offers a Slack bot and a browser extension, providing easy accessibility from wherever you spend most of your time. Guru’s schtick is trusted content, so they provide functionality for domain experts to verify knowledge articles and for search results to be prioritised by popularity score and filtered by tags, categories and collections. It brings knowledge capture, reuse and improvement directly into the workflow. This is my pick if you’re in a ChatOps environment and you need to level up your knowledge management. Integrates with a bunch of sales and support solutions.
HelpDoc is a simple knowledge base with Slack integration. The knowledge base platform provides fuzzy search, a customisable look-and-feel for a branded customer-experience, and is SEO-ready. For authors, it comes with code blocks and clips that can be written once and reused in multiple articles, reducing maintenance burden. Integrates with apps in the customer communications space.
Kipwise is a company wiki with content review flow and real-time collaboration page editor. It comes with Safari and Chrome extensions to pull in content from any sites and integrates seamlessly with existing content sources like Google Docs and Confluence, etc. More integrations on the roadmap.
Niles is a bot that lives in and logs channels to learn the answers to common questions, and can be referenced directly within Slack. Anyone that’s supplied an answer will be prompted via email to review and refresh, if needed. Bots like this rely on machine learning, natural language processing, and time, so it won’t work perfectly out of the box. However, a great thing it has going for it is that there’s no external apps or extra logins. Interaction with the knowledge is all contained within Slack. It can be hooked in to your Google Drive to search docs and into Salesforce, which is great for sales teams. It’s filed under HR in the apps directory but it serves anyone that does any kind of support.
Notion is a unified workspace, rather than a knowledge base, and it has quickly become one of the most adopted workspace platforms. It brings together your dispersed systems into one workspace that you can then customise based on your team’s processes and workflows. It integrates with Slack, but it also accesses content across Trello, Confluence, Google Drive, Basecamp and more, allowing you to move things around in a drag-and-drop fashion in a way that makes sense to how you work and what you need to know about. This is the internet’s current darling.
Nuclino’s knowledge management offering is all about visual appeal. Content blocks and a drag-and-drop editor make authoring easy and the markdown and real-time collaboration make it fast. And, in keeping with the emphasis on good-looks, I love the ability to explore knowledge domains with a graph visualisation.
Obie is similar to Niles but is a separate product with an integration into Slack and the ability to build a separate knowledge base. Obie is headquartered in Canada, hence the cute mascot/logo, and offers process flows, a Chrome extension for searching across multiple sites, and even a chatbot for enterprises without a Slack instance.
Omni has a Chrome extension to search across multiple sources, and provides for the ability to verify any docs as accurate. The Slack integration allows users to create Omni cards from within a conversation; and the integration with helpdesk platforms enables smart suggestions for replying to customers with existing knowledge.
OneBar takes its name from the iconic piece of information architecture—the single search bar. From within Slack, you can build you knowledge base, search for known answers, assign questions to people and create rich text answers. OneBar’s most powerful differentiator is their Slack Assessment. If you’re on the enterprise instance, OneBar will slurp in your historical log files and give you a thorough understanding of popular topics, top requesters, top responders, and identify where the knowledge gaps are.
Outline is an open source team wiki and knowledge base for growing teams. This one is all about speed. Fast loading, powerful search, and supports markdown.
qPod takes it up a level and hits the enterprise right where it hurts—Outlook, Office 365 and Sharepoint; plus all the cool kids. Nimeyo aims to eliminate any friction by surfacing what you need directly in whatever you’re currently using. Intended for enterprise, pricing is on an annual per user basis and the baseline config is email analysis only. Context is king when it comes to knowledge and nimeyo is all over that.
Shelf.io’s strength is advanced, contextual search. This knowledge base product’s integration can narrow down search by tag, content type, format, category, and more. The Shelf product, itself, offers a self-service interface for users, is SEO-ready, and with its built-in AI suggests content relevant to the what the requestor is looking for.
Slab is a modern wiki with smart two-way search, allowing you to search Slack messages from within Slab, as well as the other way around.
Talla leverages AI to help drive some workflow automation and knowledge base improvement from within Slack. Discover where the knowledge gaps are by analysing chat history for stranded questions and Talla can be trained to provide fast and accurate answers no matter how messy the knowledge base is. (Apparently. I’m dubious about this point, but am happy to get confirmation from Talla customers.)
Tettra is a simple wiki that bolts onto Slack. Invoked with a slash command, it’ll show you a knowledge article within Slack and provide an option to share it with the channel. You can also allow requests and assign page ownership to domain experts. You can see what it looks like just by checking out their own support page.
Please share your thoughts on any of these, or add something I’ve missed, in the comments below.