Knowledge management


This page is on apps & tools for structuring and sharing knowledge and collaborate on work. 
o means a point that is neutral or just information
+ is a plus point
– is a negative point
Different kinds of tools:
  • Wikis
  • To do Lists / Notes / Link collecting
    i. e. Evernote
  • Collaboration-Tools
My personal requirements  for a knowledge-management tool:  
(these will be different in a corporate context)
Must have:
  • online-access (alternatively inside companies: intranet)
  • independent of an own server, that means: cloud-hosted
  • free
  • featuring a “personal page”
  • WYSIWYG editor for the contents
    with the usual formatting options
  • needs to be able to include pictures, graphics and “pretty” tables
  • comfortable assignment of see/read/write rights on specific posts, files and regions/categories; for individuals, group and public
  • files must be able to be attached to categories hierarchically (folder structure)
  • approved users must be able to edit and comment the content
Should have/Can have:
  • German interface
  • simple, intuitive and appealing modern interface and useability
  • graphical collaboration with whiteboards, notes etc.
Nice to have:
  • workflow management, “real” processes with approvals/clearance, roles, due-dates …
  • task-/notification function
  • project management support (requirements, resources,  estimates, reporting, …)
What arguments speak in favour of an online-accessible collaboration solution vs. a well-structured shared computer drive repository? 
  • access of external service providers often unwanted for security reasons
  • cross-linking and -tagging of content
  • better and much faster search  through all of the content
  • online/intranet systems often are faster than VPN tunnels

Systems: 

Wikis: 

  • see my own comparison table for that (Excel, German)
Interesting for me personally would be a wiki that is cloud based and for free; which would eliminate the necessity of a server.
Online-Wikis: 
  • Confluence – which is more than a wiki; very comprehensive collaboration; only commercial, cloud or hosted
  • Drupal wiki – very clean and interesting wiki and team collaboration solution; only commercial; cloud or hosted
  • BlueSpice for MediaWiki – Community or commercial; when commercial self-hosted or cloud
  • Zoho-Wiki – free for 1 Wiki with 3 users
  • http://www.wikia.com/ – free wiki with categories
  • Wiki Plugin for WordPress: only available for hosted wordpress installations, not cloud

Test Online-Wikis: 

WordPress.com 
All in all I think I will go with wordpress
o “Beginner” version, free
o  tried it out for about 5h:
+ I guess this would work with my requirements; not all, but the mandatory.
The online-version does not allow for extra plugins, but the built-in features are satisfactory; if you build a “private” wordpress blog, you can invite others with different roles – i. e. editors or authors, viewers, … plus you can password-protect individual posts.
o it is helpful to have already worked with WordPress; otherwise, it may take a few hours longer to understand the administration
+ files can be uploaded to specified areas; there is no file-explorer though
– searches do not extend to the contents of files
o not all file types are uploadable, but the most regular;
if other files need to be uploaded, it would work together with a link to the file on i. e. Google Drive or Dropbox etc.
+ including pictures is easy
o including tables is rudimentary; copy & paste from other software works and produces an “ok-looking” table; basic, but may suffice
– no tasks or whiteboards
ZohoWiki:

o chat is availableZoho Wiki
o access via the Chrome Zoho Wiki app
+ tried it out about 1h, which gave me a good impression
+ is part of the very extensive Zoho online suite
which includes among others project management, discussions etc. – pretty much everything
o free use is rather limited – only up to 3 users of the wiki and 50 MB file storage;
the suite is not very expensive though
+ I was positively surprised about the wealth of features
+ there are some really nice features to show the page and article hierarchy
+ navigation is really good
o optically it’s a little “dusted” and smallscaled
+ very good import for files
+ supports images and rudimentary tables
+ permission system seems to be well-made

Wikia (now Fandom): 
o tried it out for about 3h;
– it fulfilled several of my criteria very well, but others not at all, so I ditched the project
– no access restriction for pages or categories for specific users (rights management)
  this means that every information/page is visible to every visitor of wikia! You cannot make anything private!

+ was very intuitive, good help structure, easily understandable and editable.
+ different languages
+ very good picture- and even video integration
+ quite a few functions: wiki, forums, chat, … no tasks if I see correctly
+ has categories and sub-categories (hierarchy) – very good!
+ personal page
+ good wysiwyg editor
– no file/documents upload
– no tasks
o the platform itself is very heavily games-and-trivia wiki oriented
o ads/banners on the wiki

To do Lists / Note taking / Link collecting

  • Microsoft One Note
  • Evernote
  • Google Keep
  • Microsoft To-do
  • Zenkit
  • Todoist
 Microsoft One Note

Update: 18.12.19 – This is pretty impressive! Note books with sections, groups of sections, and pages. Each page is an “endless canvass”. i. E. placing elements of text, graphic etc. anywhere on the screen.  Works very well with a touch pen for handwriting or drawing. Task lists and other tag-categories; custom tags. Very elaborate, once you get the first hang of it. Much more functions than Evernote (at least Evernote free, don’t know about premium).

Evernote

Also an article on Evernote is still missing;
though Evernote for me is more for personal knowledge management – it is simple and powerful, but the functionality is limited.

Google Keep

Update: 18.12.19 – Nice browser- and smartphone app for notes, “tick-off lists”, voice memos and sketches. I like to use it.
I find powerful that you can take and include pictures directly into a note, draw on a picture (!), extract text from a picture (!), add a voice memo, …
It also features tagging, sharing lists, indenting subtasks. Also, the archive-function may be interesting.
The app is not doing “more” than that, but for everyday lists, that is really good.

Microsoft To-do

Update: 18.12.19

MS To-do is aimed at google keep; I tried out the browser version and didn’t like it. I also tried the Windows PC app, but I didn’t like it as much as Google keep, either.

On the plus side:
+ One nice feature is, that you can add notes to any task. Sub-Steps (like a checklist) work, too. In Google keep, you can do this just by indenting subtasks.
+ It has built-in categories for today, important, planned, my tasks
+ tags: work by using “#” hastags; Google keep also has tagging
+ you can follow up flagged e-mails from your mail system; this might be nice
+ you can group lists of notes

So,it does have some good functions that Google keep doesn’t, but so does Google keep in return, and I found those more important for me. Would like to have all the functions though, of course :-).
Meistertask goes a long way towards this. And OneNote – I don’t really know why to use MS To-do when you could also use OneNote.

Zenkit

Todoist

… the two above, I’ll have to try out yet.

Task Management

Meistertask (+ Mindmeister)

+ Meistertask is the best Kanban-Tool that I know so far
+ several companies and consultants that I know chose Meistertask
+ the design, functionality and useability are excellently solved
+ tasks are fully two-sidedly integrated between Meistertask and Mindmeister – Mindmeister is a very user friendly and functional mind mapping tool
+ both tools are German-made and hosted in D and AT

Trello

Trello is a very wide-spread kanban-tool. I don’t understand the “hype”, though – it is well useable, but the functionality is somewhat limited. I find Meistertask makes several things better.

Jira

OK – Jira is extremely wide-spread in ticketing and development.
There are a ton of plugins and 3rd party apps. The excellent integration with confluence as the “best” wiki-system is another strong point.
I’ll have to look into that more.
On the negative side: there is no free version of Jira. The licence model of Jira is pretty expensive.

Collaboration:

I haven’t looked into the following (12/19):

  • Flock: https://flock.com
  • Facebook Workplace (!): https://www.facebook.com/workplace
    free standard version
  • Bria Teams by CounterPath
  • IBM Watson Workspace – this could be a really intersting solution; through the Watson KI it is constantly improving on learning how the individual worker is doing his or her work.
  • Slack – has too limited functionality for a comprehensive collab-solution
  • Google Hangout also has too few functions, and the different google apps are not integrated with each other
Microsoft Teams

Does anyone find that there’s a better collab platform than MS Teams?

In itself it is already pretty nice, with the channels, comments and the good conference call feature. Of course, the Office 365 integration is great.

A very strong point is the integration of hundreds of other tools into Teams, making it a “perfect” hub.

Samepage
o https://samepage.io  
+ Samepage is awesome! The functions are innovative and very well realized.
+ the way of structuring a page with areas and different kinds of information like text, tables, graphics, files etc. is great
+ Comments are built-in everywhere; same is sharing or downloading contents.
+ files can be uploaded individually or placed into folders. Neat.
+ tables are pretty powerful; they can even do formula.
+ Big plus: samepage’s search also includes the attached files!
+ hierarchical pages are easily made.
+ integration of tasks and dates/appointments
Stackfield

This looks solid. Also has 3rd party integration
+ Interesting could be that it is a German product, also hosted in Germany
If it has any advantages or disadvantages over i. e. MS Teams I cannot say.

Redbooth:

o access via the Chrome Redbooth app
o I didn’t see anything in Redbooth that Samepage couldn’t do and do nicer.
o Redbooth can do tasks, conversations, notes (no hierarchy), document attachments and some more.
You can have several different projects.

Test Open Atrium:
o the online version is english only
o it would be well worth a look, since it most probably can do anything I need and much more
o it appeared pretty complicated to me though. Too complicated probably. I felt like I need to be an IT admin.
o self host or cloud
o open atrium is based on the widespread free open-source CMS Drupal
o it focuses on distributed teams
+ comes in 30 languages
+ 6 basic functions already preconfigured: blog, wiki, calender, task lists, chat and overview page
o look, feel and functionality can be changed as desired; especially with existing drupal modules.
o support via community or commercially
o tables are the usual pretty rudimentary kind
Mixxt:

http://www.mixxt.de/ – builds an own social community; features are blog, wiki, forums, files, media, …

+ tried it out about 1h, which gave me a good impression
– the wiki itself is not really useable: no inclusion/attachment of files, no tables, …
– no hierarchy/categories of articles!
+ blog is well-made and has more features than the wiki: files, tables etc.; no hierarchy though
+ the forums are structured and have about the same functions as the blog
+ file support is pretty good: folders, but no subfolders
+ sharing/privacy permission system is well-made
+ there are “groups” that have their own page and their own forum
+ chat and news/articles with rating etc. are interesting

 

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