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How can Microsoft Office 365 be used as a knowledge portal?

22 March 2023

When it comes to streamlining and enhancing day-to-day operations in your company, there's nothing more cost-effective nor simpler to use than a knowledge portal.

The same applies to choosing a knowledge portal - most organizations want to build a knowledge portal using software that isn't too complicated or difficult for employees to understand; this is where Microsoft 365 comes in.

Organizations, from small to large, can take advantage of Microsoft 365's extensive range of information management features, such as integration, document storage and sharing, discussion forums, task management tools and more.

But how do you create an effective knowledge portal with Microsoft 365? In the following blog, we're going to show you how you can use Microsoft 365 to create a comprehensive, functional knowledge portal that suits the needs of your organization and enhances company-wide workflow. Let's take a look.

In this blog:

What is a knowledge portal?

A knowledge portal provides a single digital point of access to organizational knowledge and integrates repositories of information, directories of experts, collaborative tools, and other applications that facilitate the sharing and exchange of knowledge.

It is not a single technology solution, but rather an integrated suite, typically comprised of a front-end interface, content management, enterprise search, and knowledge graph.

What is the importance of a knowledge portal?

At its core, a knowledge portal is designed to enhance and improve the collective intelligence of your organization; yet in practice, knowledge management can improve productivity, enhance collaboration, and up-skill employees, all while reducing the sky-high costs of expert consulting, training courses, and employee onboarding.

Graphic illustration of Knowledge Portal on SharePoint












Source: Knowledge Portals Revisited - Enterprise Knowledge

Data, information and knowledge management

Before we get into the technical side of things, what actually is knowledge management (km)? And how does this differ from data and information management?

The term ‘information' is not simple to define but one can generally view data as fact which are typically not useful on their own, while information puts those facts or details into context.

Theirauf (1999) defines the three components as follows: data is the foundation level, an unstructured collection of facts and figures; information is the next level, and it is regarded as structured data; finally, knowledge is "information about information".

Information management is about data and information. Its focus is on collecting, organizing, protecting, storing and retrieving information.

Knowledge Management is therefore about knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Its focus is on finding, gathering, assessing, and sharing information and knowledge.

> Read more about the difference between information management vs knowledge management.

In short, the goal of knowledge management is to provide a one-stop-shop for employees to use as they go about their day-to-day tasks and duties. For example, rather than having to communicate across departments about a simple compliance or policy question, an employee can simply head to their knowledge portal, log in with their credentials, and use the KM portal as if they were the company's own Google search bar.

Can Microsoft Office 365 be used as a knowledge portal?

Yes! Microsoft Office 365 - and SharePoint in particular - are both two of the best user-friendly KM tools and are suitable for use by organizations of all sizes.

SharePoint features that are useful in a knowledge portal

SharePoint can be used to store, manage, and share information and documents; it makes working with others easier, faster and more efficient, and is ideal as a knowledge portal. Just like PowerPoint or Word, SharePoint is a part of Microsoft's 365 suite, making it an easy and seamless choice for organizations looking to integrate their teams onto a KM system, without the costs of re-training employees on a new platform. Here's what SharePoint offers:

Content aggregation

SharePoint can be used to store documents, files and other important information in one location and easily share them between teams; it also has powerful search capabilities that make finding the right resource quick and easy. With easy editing features available across departments and employees, it's also incredibly easy to keep information up-to-date and relevant in your KM portal.


With the rise in scattered workforces and remote working, real-time collaboration across time-zones and continents is more important than ever. With features such as workflow automation, task management tools and discussions forums, SharePoint can be used to support the day-to-day operations of a digital or hybrid workplace; it can also be used to collaborate on projects in real-time, assign tasks, send and receive updates, and more.

Access permissions and security

When it comes to data protection and security, SharePoint is fully secured with some of the best data encryption in the world. SharePoint also allows administrators to set permission levels in your KM portal so that only certain employees have access to sensitive information, ensuring that all data remains secure at all times - this is ideal for those working in law, security, or handling private and confidential information (for example, medical records).

Mobile access

Another benefit of using SharePoint as a knowledge portal is that it can be accessed via mobile - either via a URL site or by accessing the SharePoint app itself, which is supported by both iOS and Android technology. Mobile access means that employees can get hold of important information on the go, whether it be answering a question during a meeting with a client, or receiving important updates while working remotely or taking time off.


Scalability is key when it comes to creating any effective knowledge portal;  with SharePoint, organizations can easily scale their teams and operations as they grow - with large volumes of data storage (as well as upgrade options for growing organizations) there's no need to re-invest in additional resources or a new platform.

Creating an effective knowledge portal with Microsoft Office 365

To begin building your knowledge portal using Microsoft Office 365, you'll first need to make sure your workplace already has SharePoint included.

Keys to a successful knowledge portal

Here are some key factors to consider for a successful knowledge portal:

  • Identify objectives and your business model - What is the aim of the KM portal? How does your business model translate into how you display information?
  • Understand your users and what problems you’re trying to solve for them.
  • Consistent structure through the application of user-centered taxonomies, content types, and overall information architecture,
  • Consider how often will the KM portal be updated - A knowledge portal has to be regularly updated in order for it to achieve its objectives.
  • Assign roles - Knowledge management works best when everyone - and every department - gets involved, so enlist the help of at least one person from every department as you begin pooling knowledge.
  • Set up permissions. If you deal in private or confidential data, make sure sensitive data is well-considered.
  • Integration strategy is also important to ensure the KM portal actually delivers integrated content.

The bottom line

Knowledge Portals offer significant promise but they also present a technical challenge. Overall, Microsoft Office 365 - and SharePoint in particular - are good as a starting point for creating a knowledge portal; with a range of powerful features.

The full promise of knowledge portals, however, is only realized when knowledge, information, and data repositories are connected in such a way that appropriate content can be accessed and interacted with in an intuitive and easy manner.

This is where the Atlas platform comes into play.

Atlas: The most advanced Knowledge Portal for Microsoft 365

Nothing else comes close to the power and flexibility of Atlas Knowledge Portal.

  • Platform of choice for organizations using Microsoft 365.
  • Delivers quick access to expert knowledge and a frictionless route to answers.
  • Bridges the gap between people, processes and technology to maximize return on knowledge.
  • Enterprise grade security, smart tools for provisioning and governance of Microsoft Teams that your IT team will love.

Read more about why Atlas stands out as a Knowledge Portal.




Knowledge Management eBook

A comprehensive guide on knowledge productivity including:

  • Introduction to knowledge and usefulKnowledgeManagement-3Dcover terms
  • Knowledge management challenges and how to overcome them
  • Measuring and sustaining progress
  • What it takes to create high performing knowledge teams


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