Growth 101: as your business grows, your digital infrastructure needs to scale with you. Many companies diligently apply this rule to their most important work tools, but few consider the wider web of company knowledge and informational sprawl that comes with them. It’s lead to a situation where 19.8% of total business time is now spent on searching for information – that’s 2.5 hours lost by each employee each day simply looking for the information required to do their job effectively. Clearly, to become more efficient, workplaces need to help people seamlessly access and share company knowledge – from protocols and contracts, to documents, templates and guidelines. This is becoming even more pressing as more companies move to offer remote working opportunities, but it’s arguably just as important for productive in-office collaboration. From onboarding employees and communicating effectively, to resolving issues quicker and helping people do more of the important work that matters, every business needs an effective system for cataloguing, sharing and updating information. Here are just six tools that can be used together – or independently – to create a solid company knowledge base.
Designed for the G Suite, Happeo defines itself as an all-in-one intranet, enterprise social network and collaboration platform for company-wide communication. By integrating seamlessly with Gmail, Docs, Drive, Chat and Calendar, there’s no set-up faff – everything is then thoughtfully tied together via its Channels, Pages, and People tabs. From Channels, you can easily create documents, share files and post ideas for your projects. Pages lets you centralize all your global forms and guidelines, like HR materials, policies and company presentations. People then provides profiles for each employee, with contact details, skill sets and department information, keeping your whole workforce transparent and connected.
Primarily built as a project management tool, Basecamp provides an ideal framework for organizing and structuring company information. You can create as many groups as you need – at Memory, we have one global group for all company-wide information, and individual groups for each active project. Just tag the colleagues working on each project to keep them in the loop. Basecamp’s message board feature is particularly useful for managing living documents, creating a thread of document updates, improvements and ideas. By integrating it with Google or Outlook, you can ensure everyone stays up-to-date with any changes.
Documents and spreadsheets are the basic stuff of business, but a lack of structure and uniformity can quickly make them difficult to navigate. Coda aims to completely redefine how these documents are created, organized and managed, to keep information sharing simple. Coda's developers treat each new document as an individual app with its own particular operation and function – from product pitches and tool inventories, to editorial resources and design style guides. By offering template building blocks – like dashboards, tables, graphs and articles – Coda effectively provides a way to combine all your company’s documents into one intelligent space.
Seamless file management and sharing starts with Box. It provides one secure cloud-hosted space for centralizing all your business’ content. Powerful search navigation helps teams quickly locate specific documents, and remote access ensures everyone can find company knowledge wherever they’re based. Box also provides a space for live collaboration, allowing users to create, share and edit content in real-time. Comment and note-taking functionality enable colleagues to swap ideas and keep up-to-date with any document changes – ensuring everyone stays on the same page.
Airtable manages to combine spreadsheets, documents and databases into one harmonious space. Particularly beloved among developer teams, Airtable offers a flexible variety of different “views” that allow teams to arrange and group work in a way that makes sense to them. Choose from a grid, calendar, gallery or Kanban view and connect almost any information type to your fields – from long text notes, images and checkboxes, to external links and barcodes. The whole thing comes with powerful filtering, sorting and grouping, and you can quickly link records between tables to aid navigation. Airtable also offers handy templates for project management, to-do lists, CRM, expense tracking, cataloging, communications and more – making it easy to create new information entries.
Billed as a document management system for invoice processing, employee management and sales, DocuWare promises to dramatically simplify the basic processes powering your business. Its biggest sell lies in workflow automation – digitizing and streamlining the back and forth of daily form management. It can scan documents, approve requests and invoices, and sign forms digitally for you to cut down the manual slog involved in running your business. As a completely cloud-based solution, all information can be remotely accessed from anywhere, at any time.