Well, I visited the Liferay web-site and almost stopped when I read this:
Liferay Portal is an enterprise web platform for building business solutions that deliver immediate results and long-term value.
But if I may hazard my own general (and probably incorrect) opinion, while a KM system can be used as a collaborative platform, it is really designed for organizations where people serve more specialized roles w.r.t. the production of information -- like writers, editors, illustrators, curators, reviewers/approvers, graphic designers, or navigation/UX designers. KM databases are more deliberately constructed, with project-management, production managers, etc., and as such requires more dedicated human resources.
By contrast, a true collaboration platform, like Confluence, instead evolved from the wiki concept, where everybody is not only allowed, but encouraged to contribute to the creation of a general knowledge base. There are few divisions as far as roles in the contribution of information – everybody is a potential writer, editor, illustrator, etc. The resulting Knowledge Base (if that is what is being constructed) grows more organically, as almost an outgrowth of the other functions being performed by its participants.
But I don't believe there is a hard distinction. A collaborative platform like Confluence can certainly be used as a KM platform ... and a KM portal like Liferay can certainly be used as a collaboration platform.
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