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Why are Knowledge Managers like Restaurant Owners?

Every person in every company is hungry for knowledge. Like a gourmet chef, it is the knowledge manager’s job to artfully prepare that information to the organization’s taste. The knowledge manager is not a farmer; they do not produce the food. They only sort it out, arrange it in ways that are palatable. A post at Ryan Ogilvie’s Service Management Journey blog gives us a tour of the knowledge manager’s job.

Storing Knowledge

Before any of this knowledge consumption occurs, it must be stored somewhere. At a restaurant, the food may be stored in a giant freezer under lock and key. Similarly, data must be housed in a repository with the necessary permissions and security.

Choosing Knowledge

The scope of information being retained is like the ingredients on a menu. Every restaurant, like any organization, will have a particular theme and that theme will determine the ingredients (type of information used).

You may decide that self-service “how-to” articles or videos addressing the top 10 calls into the service desk may be the first plan of attack. By doing this you aim to reduce the number of calls into the service desk by allowing people to help themselves out. The time that you save can be applied to curating more knowledge records which could save more time – like a domino effect.

Of course, customers’ tastes change, and therefore selections must change accordingly. You can provide a rating system to gauge the usefulness of the knowledge after it’s been accessed. Your users are like your food critics.

Knowledge Suppliers

Who will be allowed to add knowledge to the repository? Every restaurant needs suppliers. They must be trusted to deliver quality content. You don’t want your customers consuming bad knowledge, do you? Content providers must be vouched for and held accountable.

Knowledge Chefs

And of course, you’ll need editors and content managers (your knowledge chefs) to arrange the content in meaningful ways. Ultimately, the information must be arranged in such a way that it prevents or reduces further service desk escalation. This is the true test of effective knowledge management–providing valuable knowledge to the customer. Bon appétit.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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