Knowledge Management: An ITSM Lifeline to Connect Remote Employees
Knowledge management is a cornerstone of IT service management (ITSM). It provides technical guidance, steps to best troubleshoot issues, and in some cases an outlet to expand on tribal knowledge. Not only can knowledge content help drive self-service and employee empowerment, aiding in case deflection, but it can also serve as an extension of your organization’s culture. Despite the benefits a robust knowledge base can provide to teams, it’s often the last area to be implemented or entirely overlooked.
As we continue to navigate operations amid a pandemic, the mindshare has been stretched between maintaining “business as usual” in service delivery while also asking how we’ll move forward. Over the last few months, it’s evident that organizations are accelerating their digital transformation. As teams continue to launch and refine digital resources, they’re also asking their user base to keep up. It’s paramount to have a sound knowledge base to help facilitate the changing pace.
Building a Strong Foundation for Knowledge
You can see the exchange of knowledge happening across all teams. Prior to remote operations due to COVID-19, I found myself stopping at my colleagues’ desks to swap information. Now I’m reliant on a quick Teams or Slack exchange paired with internal knowledge pages to help me find the answers. Establishing a dedicated repository for internal resources and how-tos helps expand your teams’ command around a number of topics while also driving a great user experience.
ITIL 4 defines knowledge management as, “The practice of maintaining and improving the effective, efficient and convenient use of information and knowledge across an organization.” While knowledge articles can aid in education, they can get neglected because crafting documentation that’s aligned with your organization’s culture, tone, and values requires resources—both up front and over time.
Allocating time and people to ensure the viability and continuity of documentation can drive improvements to knowledge creation and fuel continuous improvement. As organizations cultivate a space to exchange and store knowledge, this can also propel a positive customer experience.
Knowledge Sharing in a Pandemic
Bringing together quality content centralizes knowledge and it also enables users to work more effectively. It presents technicians with an opportunity to reclaim time in their busy days by enabling them to quickly find and share step-by-step documents and troubleshooting guidance. As employees receive fast responses, they can then work to resolve the issue on their own by following the recommended article. This lends itself to an exceptional user experience and it exposes employees to the knowledge base, so they know where to go in the future.
Building a trusted repository of knowledge fosters value and a sense of trust between service providers and employees. As organizations continue working from home, the knowledge base can become a single source for users to consult: no matter where they’re located they have an outlet to easily find answers. This not only encourages continuous education, but the ease of access can also lead to happy employees.
Promoting a positive user experience and creating assets that are employee-centric is especially important as we’re working from home. By making that content easily accessible and easy to consume (while echoing your organizational culture), you can help unify employees no matter where they’re working.
How Your ITSM Platform Can Help Your Knowledge Initiatives
Heading into 2020, we surveyed IT professionals as it related to technology and how it transforms the employee experience. In the survey, 79% of respondents* noted that knowledge sharing would be most critical to enhancing the employee experience in the next year. How telling! As we continue to forge through the pandemic and remote operations, consider the value a rich knowledge base can bring to your organization.
Streamlining your team’s access to information can help technicians and employees alike perform more efficiently. Providing a space for documentation on the service portal can embolden employees to conveniently search for answers on their own. Integrating the knowledge base with your service desk can make articles easy for technicians to access and share across reported incidents and problems. With an ITSM solution, there is even the opportunity to streamline the process of creating, amending, or archiving content with workflows and reports.
Between the introduction of new technologies and evolving processes within your environment, review knowledge articles to gauge their accuracy and longevity. Pair content reviews with reports to uncover the use and adoption of articles to determine if users find the information helpful. It’s imperative that we find beneficial outlets that connect the service desk to our users, and knowledge management can be that unifying force.
*ITSM Survey on THWACK.com of global SolarWinds customer base in September 2019; 215 total responses.