The saying “knowledge is power” may be a cliché, but the truth of it holds strong, especially as it relates to IT systems and processes. With all the many moving parts in IT and the overall business, employees can often feel either bombarded with information overload or uncertain without enough.
For this reason, many organizations have turned to knowledge management
to provide structured processes for collecting, storing, and disseminating knowledge throughout the organization. But somewhere along the way, that system may have become a bottomless pit of solutions and knowledge. IT pros may be spending countless hours maintaining a knowledge base that employees don’t feel comfortable using. How can you help change that? Start with these four tips for simplifying knowledge management for both service providers and employees.
Identify the most important use cases for knowledge articles
There’s a slew of information constantly being moved throughout an organization and it can be easy for something to get lost.
Updating the knowledge base
should be top priority for three main reasons:
- Preventing knowledge loss during employee attrition
- Eliminating duplicate work
- Streamlining employees’ experience with technology
As business operations evolve and processes change, employees need access to the latest updates through the knowledge base. For example, when a business gives direction about what to do before migrating from one productivity application suite to another, those directions and any other helpful tips in the knowledge base should be easily accessible to employees to ensure the migration is seamless.
IT pros should also be aware of what’s being created in the knowledge base. Duplicate or redundant articles means more to dig through to find the most relevant, up-to-date information. The more proactive you can be, the better. Step into the shoes of your employees to understand what they would do even before they do it. Ask yourself:
- What are the most common issues that employees submit tickets for?
- Are there upcoming technology changes or releases that should be supported by knowledge articles?
Once you answer these questions, you have the opportunity to get ahead of employees’ needs.
Assign responsibilities for Knowledge Management
Establishing a routine of sifting through knowledge base articles can reduce the time spent writing, editing, or eliminating articles en masse. Think of it like cleaning your house. If you spend a few minutes every day putting items back where they belong and wiping down surfaces, there’s less to do when it’s time for a deeper clean.
To help reduce the time spent maintaining the knowledge base, IT pros can perform these tasks once a service desk ticket is created:
- Write an automation that sends an email to the technician with a link to the knowledge base, reminding them to take action and then periodically reminding them to update their articles until they close out the tasks.
- Designate a team member who's good at explaining things in writing to review closed tickets that warrant new knowledge base entries, and proactively schedule knowledge management reviews into that team member's day.
- Create a dashboard populated by potential topics based on closed tickets. A supervisor can then assign topics according to experience and expertise.
Help users gain knowledge base fluency
Most employees don’t have the time (or energy) to sit through lengthy knowledge management trainings. Instead, you can show them how to find knowledge management support and resolve issues on their own through knowledge base articles. Weekly communications through the service portal can help users get familiar with IT terms, and link back to the glossary and other relevant knowledge management resources.
Tagging articles with appropriate metadata makes them searchable and provides a familiar experience to users so they can find what they’re looking for without submitting a ticket. IT lingo fluency isn't a one-time proposition. It requires ongoing practice, reminders, and training.
Promote knowledge management across departments
If you’ve followed our Beyond IT
blog series, then you’re familiar with the benefits of uniting internal service providers through the service desk. Promoting knowledge management across departments is no different. IT resources and how-tos aren’t the only needs employees look for—they may need HR, finance, and other legal documents to refer to, regardless of the department they specifically work in. Make resources that are useful for the entire organization available in the knowledge base for easy reference.
With a simple approach, knowledge management can be a valuable practice for IT pros and employees. It gives them access to advice and tips to solve problems, and when they can find that information on their own, save the organization time and money. When knowledge management is embedded in the organization, employees are well informed, and operations are aligned that are key to business success.