Between the cloud and the hundred other innovations for sharing information, knowledge management (KM) is back in the limelight again. Organizations want to know how to get the right information in the right hands and in the best way. Barclay Rae offers five pointers at the ITSM Review on how to execute KM in your organization.
Food for Thought
- “Failing to plan is planning to fail” applies here
- Turning tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge can be perilous
- Think about who will consume the knowledge and how
- Knowledge, like bananas, has a finite shelf life
- The value of knowledge is not in its creation but in its consumption
The big question that needs to be answered before you ever even consider implementing KM is simply—What is the process trying to achieve? The arrangement and delivery of knowledge is going to be dependent upon reaching that goal you have at the outset, whether the goal is “fast induction/training of IT support staff” or “reduced cost of operating a service desk or IT support service,” for instance. Furthermore, you need to define some basic guidelines as to how and by whom articles are written, so that articles do not end up completely missing the mark for what they are supposed to impart. More or less technical language should be used according to the intended audience of the information.
But another big part of KM is recognizing that the available information continues to grow. Processes need to be put into place to approve and maintain articles, ideally through some sort of alert system tool. And if you succeed in all of that, then you just have to make sure that somebody is actually using the information:
The only way to understand what is and isn’t useful is to track [records] constantly. Measuring the use and success of articles is a key element of this process and should help to drive improvement, effectiveness and relevance.
Sometimes the most basic records (such as lists) can be the most used and useful documents, whereas elegantly crafted pieces may lie unused and unread – the success of your knowledge system will rely heavily on being able to see what is working and to then work on improving the KAs that are not.
Knowledge management, like a lot of things in business, is a great resource that comes with a lot of caveats. But follow Rae’s advice and it should make for a smoother ride. You can read his full article here: http://www.theitsmreview.com/2013/09/knowledge-management-buying-tool/