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Moving Beyond People-Process-Technology with Knowledge

Posted by on March 26, 2018

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Doing more with less. You have heard this phrase and many of us live it. Each year, service desks are asked to satisfy higher demands without rapidly expanding their organizations. I have met very few service desk managers that claim to have enough people to exceed their service level targets while managing all the projects and operational tasks on their plates. So how do you satisfy your customers, your employees, and the needs of your organization? You begin by learning from the experiences of others.

Establish the Right Framework

ITIL - people, process, technology, three-legged stoolService desks no longer just hire cheap staff to answer phones, create tickets, and route inquiries to skill technicians, engineers, and developers. Each organization develops the service management strategy that best meets the needs of their organization. This strategy includes hiring the right people, defining the right processes, and selecting technology to enable the processes.

Then Came Knowledge

The People-Process-Technology approach has been around since the early days of technology. Some have referred to it as the three legs of the stool. Prior to technology, the management methods focused on people and process. The time has come for this approach to evolve once again. We need to replace the three-legged stool with a sturdier four-legged chair. It is time to recognized Knowledge as a requirement in the framework.

ITIL four-legged stool - people, process, technology, knowledgePrior to the inclusion of knowledge, support professionals asked their peers for help when they did not personally have the answer. This engaged multiple resources to resolve issues. Tickets took more time to investigate, diagnose, and resolve. Often the organization was repeatedly resolving the same issues and producing different resolutions. If 10 people called the service desk asking the same question, they might receive 10 different answers. Tickets were routinely escalated to support partners and the organization suffered from low first contact resolution as well as low first level resolution. The help desk, sadly, became known as the helpless desk. That begin to change with the introduction of knowledge.

While tribal knowledge has always been around, it was in the heads of the people. If the people were not around or left the job, then the knowledge was no longer available. Knowledge had to become explicitly recorded in a knowledge base for easy access and sharing. The formal practices of knowledge management are relatively young compared to service management. As a result, it is not as well understood and adopted.

The HDI 2017 Technical Practices & Salary Report ranked the 26 technologies that are used by support organizations, and Knowledge Management was ranked fourth when asked what technology is used or planned to be used:

  1. Remote Control
  2. Incident Management
  3. Reporting/Analytics
  4. Knowledge Management

In 2018, 41 percent of respondents plan to add or improve Knowledge Management. It's ranked as the number two area of planned investment, just behind self-help, where 50 percent of respondents are planning an improvement investment. Since a critical component of self-help is knowledge, you can easily argue that knowledge ranks as the top two areas of improvement for service desks within our industry.

Knowledge Management is no longer an option. It is a required process for your service management strategy. Stand on the sturdier four-legged chair and not the three-legged stool. Include People-Process-Technology-Knowledge in your strategy. Learn from the experiences of others by leveraging industry frameworks and methodologies. Your successful service management strategy should be based on the best practices from ITIL and knowledge-centered support (KCS). Enable your team to capture and share knowledge as an asset of your organization.