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Four Questions for Quenching Knowledge Management

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The thirst for knowledge must be quenched. Every day people are looking for answers that they need. The question you have to ask yourself as a service provider is, “Are you positioned to satisfy their needs?” One of the fundamental challenges with knowledge management isn’t capturing the information; it is usually the ability to actually manage it.

Part of the discovery process should lead us to ask ourselves why we need to do this in the first place. There are many answers to this question, and each organization may have many reasons. What it really boils down to is that our business has an expectation that they are able to access data easily when they are not at work, so why shouldn’t they be able to do the same when they are at work?

Once we understand why, we really need to decide the ‘where.’ This is where it gets a bit trickier, since in many organizations the data is not located in one place. It is spread across various group shares, wikis, SharePoint sites, and the list goes on. One of the first steps is to decide on a home for that data, or at least a single place to search for the data. This will help us in part to manage access to the knowledge. After all, some of the information may require certain permissions or may not be fit for all parties.

Now that we understand why and have decided where, we need to determine ‘what’ will be in scope for the knowledge repository. Having a scope for the information is crucial to be able to actually get knowledge management to work in the first place. Without the scope this will get out of control very easily, so keep the scope simple to start with. You may decide that self-service “how to” articles or videos addressing the top 10 calls into the service desk will be the first plan of attack. In 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.

Next, we need to identify the ‘who’:

  1. Who will be the target audience, and who will be able to access the data? Remember that we need to communicate to this community of people that we have this information available so that they will actually use it in the first place. We also need to be able to measure the usefulness so that we can adjust the information accordingly.
  2. Who will be able to create and publish knowledge records? Will these be the result of incidents, problems, and escalations? Or will you be in a position to have a more proactive approach? Understand and agree upon the RACI of knowledge management so it is clearly defined and governed.
  3. Who will manage the content? Sometimes we may allow multiple parties to upload information, but we need to ensure that someone is reviewing, prioritizing, and in some cases editing the information shared with the community at large.

Finally, we need to measure our success. What we need to know is how often people are accessing the information. This will identify how often we are using the information and then correlate that with any reduction in service requests we would have normally seen.

The question might come up wondering if the service desk’s usefulness will disappear if it doesn’t need to be engaged. I would say no, since they are in contact with the very people who are consuming the information. Who better to be content curators? Since they will have time savings from answering repetitive questions, they will be able to proactively create more knowledge records and focus their energy on assisting with more complex issues, in addition to delivering a personalized customer experience where one may be more desired.

Remember that this is not a matter of uploading some documents at regular intervals; this information needs to be nurtured from cradle to grave in its own lifecycle. This will allow your teams to make lasting improvements to their service delivery.

 

For more brilliant insights, check out Ryan’s blog: Service Management Journey

About Ryan Ogilvie

Ryan Ogilvie is a Service Management consultant in Calgary, Alberta with Blackfriar Consulting inc. While working with stakeholders to achieve their business outcomes is his main focus you can also catch his commentary on his blog – Service Management Journey. You can connect with him via the various links below.

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