The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and Obie. We wrote this article for the purposes of evaluating these platforms, side by side, in as unbiased a form as we can be. This article is meant to be a helpful resource for organizations who are currently in the midst of their journey to onboarding a knowledge base software or Slack wiki.
The wiki alternative landscape
In the competitive landscape of knowledge base software, there are a number of companies providing solutions that address the demand for an internal knowledge base on Slack. In many cases, bringing knowledge to your internal communication tools, like Slack, has become mission critical because it accelerates productivity and enables self-serve support. We hope to provide clarity as to how these tools assist in capturing, accessing and sharing knowledge within the world of Slack.
We believe that Slack is becoming the operating system of the modern workplace. While offering a Slack integration is not a requirement for all knowledge base software, we believe that knowledge must be connected to the places where conversations happen. So in this analysis of alternatives, we will actively consider the strength of each product’s integration with that platform.
Here is the list of companies products that we will be comparing in this article.
With a good amount of feature parity among these products, much of the final decision in evaluating the product lies in aligning the product direction with your company or team’s needs. Some are looking for a vanilla knowledge base software. Others are looking for creativity and innovation that suits their team workflow. Yet more are looking for something that respects the complexity of their corporate structure, where departments prefer to build their own knowledge silos. The good news is, there is something for everyone.
Confluence was popularized by technical teams for authoring documentation. This true no-nonsense, full-featured collaborative knowledge base software, without extra bells and whistles, has permeated across strategic business units outside of engineering. If you’re looking for a modern or unique take on knowledge base technology that attempts to recreate the authoring or consumption experience, this isn’t it; Confluence is the Microsoft Word of the knowledge management ecosystem. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At least one company has to be the flag bearer for collaborative knowledge tools, and its Atlassian’s Confluence.
Confluence’s Slack wiki integration is fairly limited; it enables notifications on content within Slack channels, as well as link previews. Arguably the biggest drawback of Confluence is the lack of integrated Slack-based search. This creates a productivity gap for knowledge seekers. Many organizations invest in Confluence, but find this lack of search integration (on top of an already rudimentary search experience) very problematic as companies reach scale. As a result, they have to turn to “add-ons” in the Atlassian Marketplace (like this and this) that enable Slack-based search of their tools to fix the problem.
- No nonsense appeal for collaborative teams.
- Allows Cloud and Server (on-prem) workspaces.
- Everyone seems to takes issue with Confluence’s search capability, even within the app
- No Slack search integration, which makes finding things even more distant from Slack workflows.
Guru has reinvented the standard knowledge base software from the traditional document format into one that is composed on a series of “cards”. They have deep integrations with numerous third-party knowledge sources, but ultimately its all about building knowledge in the card format. That said, editing cards within the Guru browser extension is quite nice. The goal is to create a format that can be shared and embedded wherever the need arises, whether that is in Slack, a web-page or elsewhere.
Guru allows users to search, capture and share knowledge in Slack, but they tend to steer users back to their browser extension or app for full featured use. They also tend to use a “modal” user experience within their flavor of Slack wiki for knowledge search which is a little bit cumbersome.
- Card format is good for sharing and embedding.
- Confined to the card format, which can feel limiting.
- Convoluted use of modals in a Slack-based wiki workflow.
Bloomfire positions itself as an enterprise offering that uses AI-powered tools to help categorize and tag content automatically to assist in content discovery. In a lot of ways, Bloomfire is like an alternative to Sharepoint with no gimmicks beyond the smart-tagging. Another no-nonsense, no-frills knowledge base software that appeals to enterprises. Bloomfire knowledge content can be searched, accessed and shared in Slack, which is an improvement from the limitations of its closest competitor in this list: Confluence.
Bloomfire’s Slack wiki integration is limited to search and sharing of Bloomfire wiki content. When content is updated in Bloomfire, users can be optionally notified in Slack.
- Automated tagging which improves content discovery
- Limited integrations, uninspired design and collaboration tools
Notion has endeavored to improve personal and team note-taking from the heyday of Evernote. Out of this core note-keeping functionality, came team based tools for project planning and a team wiki. You could say that Notion’s philosophy is to unify knowledge, tasks and projects into a single tool. It’s considered more of a workspace than a dedicated wiki or knowledge base software. Notion has developed mobile and desktop apps to complement their web presence.
Notion is really meant to be a standalone workspace and while it has integrations with third-party tools, they are limited. For example, the Slack integration only syncs updates on projects and content – there is no search capability from the Slack message bar. This creates a productivity gap for knowledge seekers trying to connect knowledge to conversations.
While Notion’s own functionality is quite robust, their Slack integration scope is fairly narrow. It only allows an organization to pipe edits and updates on any Notion page right into the Slack channel of your choosing. There is no search, capture or sharing capability built-in.
- Standalone tool that handles team notes, knowledge and project management
- Most disparate of the Slack-wiki options
- No strong Slack integration – only syncs content updates, no search from Slack
Tettra fits most tidily in to the “Slack-first-wiki-for-small-and-growing-teams” category, if there ever was such a thing (and we think there is). It has a great combination of collaborative elements with strong Slack, Teams and other third-party integrations – but more in the wiki-format rather than that of “enterprise knowledge base software”. The distinction seems insignificant, but it isn’t. If Confluence and Bloomfire seem to stuffy for you, but Notion and Slite don’t have enough of that familiar wiki structure, its time to consider Tettra. Tettra’s biggest issue is scalability to larger team workflows.
Tettra’s Slack integration allows for search of wiki pages, authoring of wiki content and requests to author content from subject matter experts.
- A great small team Slack wiki option that is beautiful and is built with a Slack-first mentality
- Scalability – but otherwise great for small teams
Slab’s core philosophy is to deeply integrate third-party technologies directly into the wiki to limit transfer of technology. For example, if your team uses Github, you can embed readmes or issues directly into Slab. Content is synced with that third party source to increase its accuracy.
Also, Slab allows for federated search from within their app, which reduces bias and increases the scope of their knowledge base software to other unrelated silos. The only limitation is that these searches cannot be executed directly from Slack—creating yet another destination for knowledge.
As mentioned above, Slab does offer federated search from their app, but it is not available within Slack workspaces. Aside from this feature gap, their Slack integration is quite robust. It even includes the ability to search Slack messages from their own app, which is helpful for sourcing knowledge shared in conversations.
- Deep wiki integrations with numerous third party tools
- Federated search (across multiple silos)
- Federated search is not available in Slack.
Slite has found a niche for those looking to compile meeting notes or minutes and capture that body of knowledge with a massive template library. It compares most closely to Notion with its philosophy, and places an emphasis on building a knowledge base software with workflows that are familiar to modern knowledge workers.
The experience is designed to be like building a knowledge base in Slack. For example, knowledge is compiled in Channels rather than Folders, and content updates are communicated with, which is how conversations flow within the world of Slack or Teams.
Like Notion, Slite has desktop and mobile apps to accompany their web app. Their browser extension helps users capture drafts of knowledge, notes and lists.
Slite’s Slack integration enables wiki article sharing to Slack channels, search for Slite wikis directly from Slack, and notifications where wikis are created or edited.
- If you like Slack’s look/feel/flow and you think that it would be awesome that a wiki would look/feel/flow the same way, there’s a good chance you’ll like Slite
- Lots of templates for creating documentation
- Much like its cousin, Notion, Slite feels much like knowledge silos of the past—lacking federated search and integrations with 3rd party knowledge sources.
Obie delineates knowledge format into two types:
- FAQs – A dedicated snippet format for storing unstyled content for rapid access and upkeep
- Knowledge Base – A traditional long-form, rich-text format with the ability to embed anything including video, GIFs, code snippets, images and even web pages (via iframe)
The unique direction that Obie takes in with its entire knowledge base software philosophy is to remain unbiased. If you’ve already built some base of knowledge in Confluence; partially in Google Drive; the remainder in Evernote – Obie respects that investment in time and effort and simply connects knowledge seekers to all of it simultaneously without compromising security. So, you can choose to build your knowledge base entirely in Obie, or it can be used to enhance existing stores of knowledge without the requirement to migrate existing knowledge to a new platform.
The reason for the emphasis on removing bias from the product is because Obie’s philosophy is that it connects all silos of knowledge, whether native to Obie or in a third-party technology, to the places where people do work, like Slack or the browser (via extension). While all of the other technologies listed in this article force you to commit to a single technology, Obie lets Engineering keep their Confluence, Marketing to keep Dropbox, IT to use Obie FAQs and HR to use Obie Knowledge Base without issue.
Obie’s Slack integration is arguably the most powerful of those listed here. There are three notable reasons why.
Obie brings federated search to Slack, unlike any of the other Slack wiki options, to give comprehensive knowledge search results without leaving the Slack workspace.
When people ask questions in Slack, they’re often looking for knowledge to complete a task. In channels where he is invited, Obie recognizes questions in the flow of conversations, and executes a real-time federated search across all knowledge silos for a relevant result. If nothing is found, Obie stays silent, but if he does, he’ll privately suggest answers to the knowledge seeker.
When a user executes a search and no adequate results are found, the user can be prompted to create a support ticket to escalate the issue for resolution. This limits context switching and can assist in building out the knowledge base further where knowledge gaps are found.
- Most powerful Slack integration
- Bias-free silo-search functionality
- Dedicated snippet format
- Scalable bucket pricing (in lieu of per-user pricing)
- Native authoring tools are designed for static documentation (not live collaborative knowledge)
Everyone likes to put things in buckets, so let’s do that now. Not surprisingly, there is a bit of bucket overlap for some products.
Confluence and Bloomfire fit into the same plain, vanilla-colored bucket. The big differentiator is Bloomfire’s AI-powered tagging and Slack-based search vs. Confluence’s integration with the rest of the ubiquitous Atlassian Suite. Obie’s Knowledge Base and FAQ products are similarly vanilla in terms of their design, but the hope is to not over-complicate authoring of static knowledge.
Guru’s card format and Slite’s Slack-doppelganger wiki get points for creativity. If you’re looking for mediums that to try and inspire your team to capture and share knowledge though a novel experience, consider these options.
All Slack, all the time
While they tend to stand on their own mertits, the real Slack-first alternatives are Obie, Slab, Tettra, Slite and Bloomfire. These products merge knowledge-centric workflows directly into Slack. Guru encroaches on this category as well although they do tend to have a strong emphasis on accessing knowledge through their browser extension.
Notion is like a public diary on steroids. Do all your planning, note taking and task management in one place and share it with your team. It is unique from all the other offerings in its standalone philosophy and broad appeal. But if bringing Slack into the knowledge-centric workflow is your goal, this diary is locked away and hidden from prying eyes.
Obie and Slab are the sole options that provide bias free access to knowledge, whether in native tools or third party silos. While Slab’s federated search functionality is restricted to their app, Obie enables silo-search directly from Slack or the browser extension.
Summary of Slack Wiki Integrations
Given the importance of merging knowledge with communication in Slack, we compiled a side-by-side comparison of each company’s Slack-wiki Integration offering.
At Obie, we are truly fans of all of these companies paving the way for the future of work and how collective knowledge is made more accessible. There is a tool for every team and workflow, and if you feel like Obie might be a fit for you, reach out!