Personal tools

Contact Us 24/7 > 1 866.SIX FEET

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Home > Blog > KMS vs CMS: What Are The Differences?


KMS vs CMS: What Are The Differences?

written by Gabrielle Hendryx-Parker on Monday November 1, 2010
Comments | Filed under: ,

We often get asked the question "What is the difference between Plone and KARL". In other words: what is the difference between a Content Management System (CMS), like Plone, and a Knowledge Management System (KMS), such as KARL?

While KMS and CMS both offer tools to manage and share information, they differ in many ways.

Information vs. Knowledge

A CMS is a system that allows contributors to manage information, defined as factual data that does not necessarily engage consumers. A knowledge management product aims at managing content, content interpretation, and relationships (e.g. “Fred also worked on these projects...”) KMS are by nature highly collaborative and participative.

Push vs Exchange

Traditionally, CMS are based on a push strategy to disseminate information. In contrast, KMS aim at providing an exchange platform for the critical knowledge that people need in order to perform their jobs.

Editing Tools

In CMS, control over the display of the content is key, therefore CMS offer a wide array of editing tools. In KMS, the message is key. The open source KARL KMS strives to get out of the way and offer simple and straight-forward editing tools.


In CMS, authors are limited to specific groups of content contributors and content reviewers. In contrast, KMS engage all members of an organization, as well as external members and partners.

Frequency of Updates

A CMS-based website or intranet is updated periodically as part of a dedicated process (create/manage/publish flow). Business-critical knowledge is constantly captured in a KMS as a by-product of daily work interactions (KARL users can post blog content via email).


CMS tend to power public websites. KARL instances are all private with invitation-based access.

At Six Feet Up, we use the open source CMS Plone to power our website, the open source KMS KARL to manage our collective knowledge, and the open source issue tracking system Trac to manage our projects. What do you use and how is that working for you?

Posted by FANELLI on Nov 01, 2010 12:36 PM
Thank you for this! I agree with all the content of the post BUT in my point of view, witch is a consulting company point of view, the question is : I know what I can sell around Plone, I don't see yet what I can sell around Karl. So what ? Best regards Virginio Fanelli
Add comment

You can add a comment by filling out the form below. Plain text formatting.


Next Steps

Select a type of support:

Contact our sales team

First name:
Last name:
Phone Number:
Fight spam:
What is + ?
Call Us 1 866.SIX FEET