Choosing Between Open Source Knowledge Base and SaaS

A knowledge base lets your customers access all the information they need, and it is available in the same place. The same can be said about employees. Having everyone on the same page helps with efficiency a ton.

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A knowledge base is a great asset to have, but those who are starting out may find themselves wondering what is better – open source or software as a service (SaaS).


The Definitions

SaaS is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on the model of subscription and is hosted centrally. Some people refer to SaaS as on-demand software.

Meanwhile, an open source knowledge base is based on another model. Open source software is when the original source code is available to the public. Everybody can access the code and make changes to it the way they see fit. HeroThemes explains open source knowledge base using WordPress as an example, emphasizing its advantages. But the answer to the question of which of the two is better remains to be.


Comparing Open Source and SaaS

Looking at the pros and cons of both options will help determine which is the best for your business. Take your time and weigh all the advantages and disadvantages and make the right decision. And to start, let us take a look at what SaaS has to offer.


Benefit #1 – Easy to Use

Perhaps the biggest advantage of SaaS is that it is relatively easy to use. This is because most things are already prepared for you. It does not take too long to figure everything out. Nor are there any worries about having to develop features on your own. A dedicated software developer is in charge of making things as simple as possible.


Benefit #2 – Access to Customer Support

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Given that the SaaS knowledge base is already created and has a dedicated developer, there should be customer support services. On the other hand, customer support is more or less non-existent in open source.


Drawback #1 – Limitations

One of the most noticeable drawbacks of SaaS is the fact that you are quite limited with customization options on your own. The code is not open, so it is impossible to make changes.

Some users find limitations like that quite annoying and would rather look for an alternative where they can have freedom.


Drawback #2 – Pricing

SaaS systems are more expensive and they can cost 1000 dollars per year and more. Not to mention the fact that plans with more features will require even more money.


Drawback #3 – Uncertainty

When you are not in charge of matters yourself, there is a feeling of anxiety. You can never be certain when something happens. Leaving important matters in the hands of others can cause a headache. There is always a threat to cybersecurity, and when you are not sure what the inside of the security system is like, it can be off-putting to consider SaaS.

Now that you have a better understanding of what SaaS is like, let us take a look at open source and see how it holds up.

Benefit #1 – Cheaper

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You do not have to pay hefty sums of money to start an open source knowledge base. WordPress is a fine platform to build a website, and you can develop a knowledge base on it as well. Hosting and domain name are the two things you need.


Benefit #2 – Being in Control

Users get to develop everything themselves because the source code is open to the public. This means that there is no need to worry about the extra increase in price for features or a sudden removal from the system. You get to decide the rules.


Benefit #3 – Additional Extensions and Features

Once again, if you look at WordPress, there is a plethora of available plugins and themes. Plenty of them are free. And since WP is so popular, there is a consistent increase in the number of available plugins, even on third-party markets.

Benefit #4 – Scaling

A business that starts small does not necessarily stay that way for long. You will need to add new features as the business grows, and relying on SaaS for scaling is not a good idea. Paying extra money for an upgrade or access for more people is not a problem you would face in open source.


Drawback #1 – High Learning Curve

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The only real disadvantage of open source is that you will have to create everything yourself from scratch. Therefore, some users will find it easier to work on a SaaS platform that already has the basic structure and is more newbie-friendly.


Closing Thoughts

Looking at all the advantages and disadvantages, open source comes out on top thanks to its affordability, freedom and unlimited customization. So if you are looking to create a knowledge base, open source is the way to go.

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