Wiki vs Knowledge Base? This is the Difference

Andy Cook
August 10, 2023
Wiki vs Knowledge Base? This is the Difference

In today’s fast-paced environment, managing knowledge has never been more important. 

As companies grow at an unprecedented pace, agility can spell the difference between keeping on top of the game, or getting pushed aside by ambitious rivals. In order to stay competitive, an accurate storage and distribution of corporate knowledge is critical.

This is where corporate / company wiki software comes in.

In this guide, we discuss what a corporate wiki is, how it differs from a knowledge base, what the short- and long-term benefits are, and how your company can set your wiki up for success.

What is a Corporate Wiki?

A corporate wiki is a central database of knowledge, where all members of the organization can create, store, and search for internal documents about processes, projects, or products they’re building. Think of it as internal Wikipedia for your company. 

This wiki software provides a platform for experts in different areas to share their knowledge for the benefit of other employees and of the corporation. Whether it’s a specific business process, product details, or internal data, the wiki allows information to be searched, shared, and updated by anyone in the organization.

Why Do You Need a Corporate Wiki?

By their nature, corporations are made up of different teams and departments, each with their own specialized knowledge. This wealth of information builds up over time, and unless it is organized into a centralized database, can lead to knowledge silos. A corporate wiki resolves this by making sure such information can be utilized by all members instead of languishing in a dusty file or drawer. 

The benefits of a corporate wiki include:

Corporate Wiki benefits and pros

Organized information

  • The wiki provides a practical schema for quickly finding information.
  • The data is organized based on relevance, and not just date.
  • Employees can conduct broad data searches, as well as more detailed, granular searches.

Higher productivity

  • The wiki software delivers instant search results, so employees don’t waste hours hunting for data.
  • This results in increased productivity and improved work satisfaction.
  • Knowledge sharing promotes collaboration and better communication.

Streamlined onboarding and training

  • New employees get up to speed faster.
  • Training and development become optimized as training materials are codified and updated.

Knowledge stays in the organization

  • Institutional knowledge is retained even when people leave or retire.
  • Permissions allow for information security. Sensitive knowledge can be accessed on a need-to-know basis based on role or corporate hierarchy.

What’s a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is a centralized and organized collection of information that can be accessed by employees, customers, or the general public.

Typical content in a knowledge base includes: 

  • Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • Troubleshooting guides
  • How-to guides
  • Company policies
  • Processes and procedures 
  • …And other useful information. 

A knowledge base can be used for a lot of different use cases, from providing customer support to training employees across every type of industry. It can also be used to store important company info such as company policies, best practices, and procedures. 

By having a centralized internal knowledge base for all this information, everyone in the organization can access it and stay informed. 

Corporate Wiki vs Knowledge Base: What’s the Difference?

A corporate wiki can be considered as a form of knowledge base, but not all knowledge bases are corporate wikis. 

The corporate wiki:

  • Uses crowd-sourced knowledge to build the knowledge base. Everyone is a direct contributor.
  • Likewise, content moderation is the responsibility of everyone.
  • This collective contributor and moderator model enables wikis to be updated faster, but at the potential expense of accuracy.

In contrast, a knowledge base:

  • Relies on a smaller group of editors to oversee content changes and approve edits.
  • This makes them more accurate, but takes longer to update.

Corporate Wiki and Knowledge Management Stats

  • Employees spend almost 20% of the workweek searching and gathering information.
corporate wiki interface
A corporate wiki can save up to 20% of the workweek per employee, while allowing them to share knowledge and collaborate more effectively.
  • Fortune 500 companies lose a combined $31.5 billion per year from employees failing to share knowledge effectively.
  • A corporate wiki has been shown to improve both personal individual performance, and net organization benefits.
  • A study of corporate wiki users found three perceived benefits:
  • Enhanced reputation
  • Work was made easier
  • Improved organizational processes
  • NBC’s corporate wiki reduced time spent searching for information from 3-5 minutes to 39 seconds. It also projected savings of approximately $100,000 for the media corporation.

See these concrete examples of how Tettra’s knowledge base has helped multiple companies scale efficiently. 

How to Select the Right Corporate Wiki or Knowledge Base

Not all corporate wikis are the same. Some may have more features than others, while others may possess extraneous functions that may not necessarily be needed by your organization.

These are the five basic features you should look for when choosing a corporate wiki.

1. Good search functionality

  • Must be easy to use
  • Supports both macro and granular search
  • Ability to do contextual searches, where search results can be displayed by relevance and not just date 
corporate wiki search

2. Intuitive navigation

  • The interface should be easy to navigate for new users
  • There must be a content hierarchy for convenience and quick switching between topics

3. Easy editing

  • The corporate wiki relies on crowdsourced input and moderation. As such, content creation and editing should be easy to use and reflect in real-time.
  • A WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface is essential for non-technical users wishing to add or update entries.

4. Access rights management

  • The software should support permissions
  • There must be dynamic access roles including admin, editor, contributor, or guest.

5. Integration support

  • Ideally, the corporate wiki can be integrated with other enterprise tools like Google Suite, Slack, etc. used by the organization.
  • This allows users to access the wiki from within commonly used tools instead of having to open another app.
  • The average 500-person company has approximately 123 SaaS applications. A corporate wiki can blend these disparate apps together with ease.

How Tettra Helps Your Team with Knowledge Management

tettra feature image

Tettra is an AI-powered knowledge management system that helps you curate important company information into a knowledge base, use it to answer repetitive questions in Slack and MS Teams and keep it up-to-date, organized, and complete with automation.

Tettra offers a full suite of tools for sharing knowledge. With Tettra, you’ll get: 

  • AI-powered knowledge base software to document answers
  • Q&A workflow to capture questions
  • Knowledge management features to keep content up to date.
  • Integrations with Slack, MS Teams, Google Docs, Github and Zapier to help your team answer and capture knowledge quickly