Question

What product (s) do you recommend for building a client-facing knowledge base/product documentation?

We're a primarily an Atlassian shop using Confluence and JIRA for product development. So we prefer something that will allow us to integrate our existing processes into product documentation.

On the Support front, we use Salesforce Service Cloud but are open to exploring Zendesk/Freshdesk or other Support tools.

Lastly, we use https://paligo.net/ for technical writing and templates.

Thanks in advance!

Mentioned
#Documents #Zendesk #Confluence #Intercom #Salesforce #Guru
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MrDisinterested's avatar
2 years ago

Two products that I have seen rising in Knowledge management domain (Personal and Team ) are

Notion : https://www.notion.so/
Notion is something that I use on a Daily basis and within a month we have replaced more than 6 saas offerings with just Notion.

Guru : https://www.getguru.com/
The traditional concept of a knowledge base or “wiki” is becoming obsolete. Next-generation products unify information and contextually deliver knowledge directly into existing workflows. Guru is one company that has emerged as an early leader in this space.

9 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @MrDisinterested )
2 years ago

Guru looks really cool. It does definitely seem like one of those tools that's incredibly powerful if you commit to using it very actively (which probably would be the case for a client-facing knowledge base). Notion has worked really well for us internally.

1 point
TheRealSergio91's avatar
2 years ago

I guess why choose Notion over Confluence & JIRA when its a proven solution for documentation and widely used in the tech world? Not saying that Notion is bad for documentation but I think having proven tools like the Atlassian stack.

1 point
aparnavemuri's avatar
2 years ago

I've been toying with Notion and LOVE IT! But ... our product dev processes are on Confluence and JIRA so seems like a duplicate cost to introduce Notion.

We're Guru users internally but this is for externla/client facing knowledge base.

1 point
bludrop's avatar
@bludrop (replying to @aparnavemuri )
2 years ago

Have you looked into JIRA Service Desk? It has a built-in knowledge base feature that is basically linked to Confluence . It might be duplicative of Salesforce Service Cloud, but could be worth it to take a look...?

2 points
maguay's avatar
2 years ago

There are a few things to balance with documentation:

  • Making the content easily reusable by support teams to speed up replying to tickets
  • Publishing the content online to anyone searching for the product plus the issue online
  • Letting anyone in the company add/update/edit documentation to keep it generally fresh

The easiest way to accomplish the first is to use the documentation tool built into your help desk or customer support tool. So if you’re already using Salesforce Service Cloud, Salesforce Knowledge might make the most sense. If it’s anything like what Desk’s documentation tools were like before it was acquired by Salesforce, it should get the job done.

Otherwise, you can publish Confluence wikis publicly, either as read only or as an actual wiki that your customers could help edit (though that seems like it could get messy fast). If you already are writing internal documentation in Confluence, that may be your easiest route. One downside here though is that you can’t use custom domains with Confluence’s cloud app yet, so you would need to have your documentation on a separate domain (which works fine from an access perspective, though doesn’t help your company’s SEO rankings as much as having documentation on your domain could). Or, in the same way, you could expand your use of Paligo to cover non-technical documentation.

Essentially, if not adding new steps and tools to your team’s workflow is most important, any of those options would keep documentation inside stuff your team is already using. There’s no perfect solution, and frankly any CMS could be used to publish documentation (including a WordPress or Ghost blog, if you wanted, or any of the many documentation-specific tools), but using something you already are using and just adding extra processes around publishing could be the fastest way to get started.

4 points
aparnavemuri's avatar
@aparnavemuri (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

"if not adding new steps and tools to your team’s workflow is most important" Truth.

I like the workflow of maintaining knowledge base within the help desk tool to keep it accessible to the support team and clients. I think we can build some cool feedback loops in the process to update docs and accelerate support resolution. Thank you!

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @aparnavemuri )
2 years ago

Would love to hear more about the process your team ends up building when you get everything working well!

1 point
pordede's avatar
2 years ago

If we're talking public/client facing I'd go with docusaurus or something else that lives as close to code as possible. Versioning is also a must for rapidly changing projects, and keeping the docs up to date.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @pordede )
2 years ago

Do you typically keep old versions of your documentation around—and if so, does docusaurus have tools to make that easy? I know that was a struggle for a technical documentation team I was on, where we basically ended up keeping an archive of the site around for legacy reference docs, and spinning up new docs in their place for the new version.

1 point
aparnavemuri's avatar
@aparnavemuri (replying to @pordede )
2 years ago

I'll checkout docusaurus. Not sure how relevant it is given that our product is is mostly for business audience with very little technical docs.

1 point
sonix15's avatar
2 years ago

For our internal project documentation, we use Confluence (https://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence). For customer facing Knowledge Base, we have been using Zendesk (www.zendesk.com) for quite some time. We were looking at switching to Intercom (www.intercom), but the articles seemed more organized at Zendesk. While Intercom is great for client conversations and chat, their knowledge base seemed very blog-like. So we have decided to stay with Zendesk for Product Documentation & Knowledge Base.

3 points
Sean's avatar
@Sean (replying to @sonix15 )
2 years ago

We switched from Zendesk to Intercom, and while you can do enough organization that I wouldn't call it "blog like" it was certainly a step backwards from Zendesk. On the plus side the integration is nice as intercoms bots and our support people can pull from those articles, which we wouldn't have had if we left the help center in Zendesk.

1 point
aparnavemuri's avatar
@aparnavemuri (replying to @sonix15 )
2 years ago

Thank you! Intercom vs Zendesk comparison is super helpful.

1 point
sonix15's avatar
@sonix15 (replying to @aparnavemuri )
2 years ago

Glad to be of help.

Having shared the above, a lot of companies have switched to Intercom now and when you're taking a call, I would urge you try both the types. One big benefit of having the KB on Intercom is that when you're speaking to customers over chat, sending articles is super easy and you can also run bots with it. We weren't planning to do that so hence it didn't count as an added benefit for us!

3 points
rafa_atlantica's avatar
2 years ago

We have been using https://www.gitbook.com/. You can hook it up to your domain in the free plan (we are serving ours at https://docs.atlantica-app.com/ for example). Simple and clean interface with some cool versioning features (git-like as the name implies).

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @rafa_atlantica )
2 years ago

Ohh I'd almost forgotten about Gitbook; had looked into using that at a previous project. How has the commenting system worked out for your team? Does it have Google Docs-style comments and suggested changes? That'd be huge if so.

1 point
siddxxvii's avatar
2 years ago

We as well are using Zendesk for providing knowledge base to our consumers. Super happy about it.

2 points
Brucetm's avatar
a year ago

Archbee and Clickup are both used by small companies for public-facing docs, in addition to internal notes, collaboration, and formal docs. I don't think either of them would scale at all though.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Brucetm )
a year ago

I don't think I'd come across Archbee previously! What is your favorite feature in it?

1 point
Brucetm's avatar
@Brucetm (replying to @maguay )
a year ago

Whole product built and marketed by a single human being. Also nice: responsive developer. Usable for internal notes, collaboration, and public facing product docs. Lots of integrations. Cheap.

3 points
AndyBauch's avatar
2 years ago

Helpjuice (https://helpjuice.com/) was great and very feature rich when I used it. It's not cheap if you're just starting out though. If you wanna go cheap, Notion, like many others have already said, is stupid simple.

1 point
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