Knowledge management is a facet of IT Service Management (ITSM) that is often either overlooked or put in the ‘too hard’ basket. However, having an efficient means of capturing and sharing wisdom within IT and with the business is one of the most critical components of a successful ITSM strategy.
Break Down Silos
When knowledge is not documented and effectively shared within the IT team, it encourages the formation of silos, thus quickly eroding the value IT delivers to the organization. When communication breaks down, incident resolution and change-related issues require more time to solve.
Tweet This: When knowledge isn’t documented & shared within IT, it encourages the formation of silos.
An organization with a robust knowledge sharing regimen that is embraced by all members of the IT team, provides a much higher value to the business due to more efficient call resolution. When clear and comprehensive knowledge is available to all areas of IT, the service desk is empowered and will build a reputation of efficiency and value within the business.
When this happens, second and third line support staffs are able to concentrate on more difficult challenges as they are not being called upon repeatedly for the same fix; which could have easily been solved by the service desk if the appropriate knowledge was supplied to them.
Empower Your Customers
Sharing appropriate knowledge with your customers has a two-fold effect. Not only does it reduce the number of calls to your service desk, but it also gives your customers a feeling of empowerment.
Being able to resolve your own IT issues can give a huge sense of satisfaction to people working out in the business. Building and sharing a customer-facing knowledge base can be done relatively quickly and economically. At the very least, this can contain current work-arounds for known errors.
One critical factor to keep in mind is that if you publish this information to the business, you MUST keep it up-to-date. The first time a customer relies on the knowledge provided and finds it inaccurate or out-of-date, will probably be the last time they try to help themselves in this way.
Harness Your IT Heroes
There is a common misconception within the IT workforce that knowledge is power. Therefore, keeping knowledge a closely guarded secret will protect jobs. If no one else knows how to do what they do, then they cannot be replaced, right? While that may be true, it’s also true that if they cannot be replaced, they cannot be promoted either, as no one is able to step in and take over their job.
Heroes abound in IT departments around the world. People love to be the only one who can ride to the rescue and solve those tricky issues. Heroes often don’t like to share their wisdom and document resolutions because that opens up the way for others to be the white knight when things go wrong.
You do not want to lose your heroes, but their power needs to be harnessed in such a way that benefits the entire IT department, and one way to do this is to encourage them to share their wisdom with the rest of the team.
Give your heroes the kudos they are seeking by having them run training sessions for the service desk or other support workers. Show them that sharing knowledge is just as heroic as solving every issue yourself, and a lot less stressful!
Gamify Knowledge Sharing
Gamification may be a buzz word at the moment, but it does have some real value in the knowledge sharing arena.
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Keeping track of who is sharing information and how well they are doing it can open up some real opportunities for competition within the team. Who doesn’t like to be head of the class from time to time? Why not offer incentives for the highest number of knowledge-based articles accepted for publication, the best written article, or perhaps the article that is accessed most often by either customers or the service desk.
Allowing customers to rate the value of knowledge-based information can also provide a good opportunity to gamify knowledge management. Think of some appropriate incentives that will work for your team and get playing!
A full-fledged knowledge management process is a big undertaking and requires constant refinement and management to ensure that it is always up-do-date, accurate and provides easy-to-follow guidance that is appropriate to the audience for which it is intended. However, it brings many benefits so it’s worth the effort.
What’s the current status of your knowledge management process? How are you looking to improve it and to harness the knowledge your team has to benefit the business as a whole?