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ClickUp wants to take on Notion and Confluence with its new AI-based Knowledge Base

Since its launch in 2017, ClickUp has become a popular and well-funded productivity tool. And like all productivity tools, the ClickUp team has also heard the siren song of artificial intelligence. The company has now launched what it calls "ClickUp Knowledge Management," which combines a new wiki-like editor with a new AI system that can also bring in data from Google Drive, Dropbox, Confluence, Figma and other sources. With that, the company aims to build a tool that can rival other popular services like Notion and Atlassian's Confluence.

ClickUp co-founder and CEO Zeb Evans told me that he believes AI is critical for knowledge management, but to get the most out of that, businesses need a central repository for all of that knowledge.

"In the majority of companies, you have your actual knowledge, that's written in a certain place like a Confluence [wiki] or Notion," he said. "And then you have a lot of knowledge in different places. There are some startups like Glean that are starting to connect the dots between that, but the real problem that exists now is that you can go to one tool and kind of connect the dots, but you can't actually edit and manage those dots and do the work about the work on that same platform."


That's a problem the ClickUp team itself faced over the years. And while you could already author documents on the platform, the team decided to build a new product from the ground up that starts with a wiki at its core (and one that feels more like Notion than Confluence) but then also integrates with a new AI system that can pull in data from all of these other sources.

"You can build wikis in ClickUp, but we also now connect to all of your other work tools and aggregate the knowledge in one central company brain, so to speak, where you can write wikis based on all of the context that's available to you today," Evans said.

The result, ClickUp argues, is a system that brings together the best of Notion, Confluence and Glean to allow users to quickly create documents. For texts like project reports, team updates, summaries and standups, the team created prebuilt templates. Users can also utilize the system to automatically assign tasks, populate task data and find duplicate tasks.

There is, of course, also a chatbot that people can use to query their documents. What's nifty here, though, is that ClickUp has built the system in a way that not only cites all of its sources but also proactively asks the user if it should create relevant documents for them based on the query results.

Evans stressed that the system takes an employee's existing access permissions into account, so the AI will only surface information that a given user is allowed to work with.

About two years ago, ClickUp acquired Slapdash, a universal search tool that brought together data from what are traditionally siloed SaaS apps. Since then, ClickUp worked on rebuilding the Slapdash architecture so that it could work with AI. This now enables the ClickUp Knowledge Management to perform retrieval augmented generation (RAG) — which has quickly become the industry standard for augmenting large language models (LLMs) with additional and up-to-date information.

"It's not a surface-level integration, where with a lot of these things, they use an API to go search all the things. Instead, we are actually digesting all of your databases from your connected applications so we can do a lot of cool stuff with that," Evans said.

Looking ahead, ClickUp aims to use this new system to reduce the amount of work about work even more.

"Our big thing for this next release is killing work about work. I hate work about work. I hate having to go ask a bunch of questions and figure out where things are and figure out what people are working on. Every company right now, if you calculate how much time is spent on just writing a standup every single day. 'This is what I did today. This is what I did yesterday.' It's insane," said Evans.