For many organizations, knowledge management is often considered a technology problem. This is why when they implement knowledge management, the execution is often rendered unsuccessful because the processes and the kind of articles that are created are too complicated for people to use.
ITIL knowledge management is defined as the process of capturing, processing, storing, and sharing knowledge across the enterprise. Hence, by definition, knowledge management has more to do with people, processes, and technology as a collective rather than just technology.
In the current times, knowledge management calls for a new understanding of the organizational change management paradigm. Since people are working in hybrid environments, the end goal is to have an enterprise-wide system where teams and people feel free to analyze, observe, and share knowledge across teams. Eventually, this will result in an exponential rise in the productivity of your technicians and produce more value across the firm.
3 Steps to Transform your ITSM Knowledge Management Process
Imagine a scenario where a Service Desk technician is helping a customer resolve an issue. The customer is stuck with a highly technical problem that precedes the joining date of your technician. As a result, she starts looking for a solution in the company’s knowledge base. And that is exactly when she meets the following set of impediments:
- The UI in the knowledge management tool is difficult to navigate. The technician has to spend a lot of time just sifting through unrelated blogs, guides, and directories.
- The search tool is not very helpful. Hence she has to manually go back a few years and find a relevant entry that can help her resolve the customer’s query.
- Finally, she finds a blog post. The problem is – it is 12-pages long. The customer requires quick resolution, and now the technician has to browse through the entire blog to find that one line of solution.
In the end, even if the technician was able to do her job and provide a resolution, the platform will show that she took a lot of time doing it, and ended up with a lower than average rating.
Here is a simple process to help your Service Desk technicians become more productive and effective by using a comprehensive knowledge management transformation approach:
1. Reengineer the Process to Prioritize Technicians.
As you saw in the earlier shown case, technicians are often under tremendous pressure. On the one hand, there is a customer trying to solve an issue. In most cases, a business process has been halted because the customer cannot continue working until the technical issue is resolved. Hence, the technician has to be quick and effective.
On the other hand, the technician has a tough time going through dozens of dated articles, E-books, and guides, while trying to find a simple solution to a complex problem. There has to be a better way to do this. And – there is. Map every touchpoint between the technician and the knowledge base, and solve the friction across these touchpoints. Here is what the roadmap will look like:
- Previous Similarly Resolved Tickets are Treasures: Most knowledge management transformation process pay great attention to the content and information. While you can transform the entire platform for knowledge management, your tool should also provide the ability for your technicians to search through previous similarly resolved tickets to save a tremendous amount of time.
- Make Knowledge Articles Accessible: Here the term ‘accessible’ refers to both how easily the technician can find the article and then how easily she can go through it. In order to hit both these targets, you should transform the long, detailed, and complex articles in smaller, focused, and consumable pieces. This way, you can create a search tool that can index through the blog. The reading time for such blogs would automatically go down.
- Ensure Complete Control: The only thing more damaging than a complex article is an inaccurate article. Even the slightest mistakes in the articles can lead to false advice released by the technician. Hence, through your ITSM tool, you should create multi-step approval workflows with customizable rules that ask for approvals and authorization before any new articles or changes to older drafts are published. This way, you can ensure total control over the content that is being consumed.
2. Optimize the User Experience of the Knowledge Base.
Think about the everyday search experience of your technicians and users. They are used to a “Google” like search experience and expect to find the same in the knowledge base. Thus, the user interface of the ITSM platform knowledge base has to be optimized to support strong search functionalities.
- Offer Powerful Contextual Search Functionalities: Through the universal advanced search capabilities of the knowledge base, technicians and end-users can search for answers using predefined search options and keywords and thus save time and effort that goes into browsing the knowledge base to discover relevant information in terms of articles, solutions, FAQs, and tutorials.
- Make Knowledge Interactive Usually knowledge base articles have resolution steps listed out which the technicians would convert into questions to communicate with the customer. Based on their reply, the technicians would decide the next course of action. However, to improve the user experience, the knowledge base should be interactive. The knowledge base should present a query and all its possible resolutions. Then based on what the customer says, it should guide the technician to the next relevant step thus saving the technician’s time but also improving customer satisfaction. A good ITSM tool will also show the customers recent searches and trending articles.
- Promote Self-Service Amongst Users: Take into consideration how and through which channel is knowledge being served to the end-users. A self-service portal is a central body of information through which users can find information on how to resolve common issues that have occurred before. The Self-Service portal should ideally carry all the information and make it easily available to your users so that they themselves can resolve common issues without getting a technician involved, thus promoting self-help.
3. Create Continual Feedback Loops to Improve Your Knowledge Base.
The biggest challenge of having a knowledge base is that it requires constant updates. As your systems, technology, and operations evolve, a lot of information you published earlier will become outdated. Even if this piece of knowledge was made accessible, available in a palatable format, and helped in the past – it will no longer be useful. Here’s how you can efficiently keep knowledge relevant:
- Seek Feedback, Even If it is Binary: Something as simple as a thumbs-up or a thumbs down at an enterprise scale can show you whether a piece of content has turned obsolete or not. Prompt the users to provide feedback on whatever content they consume. This way, the responsibility of maintaining relevance across the knowledge spectrum gets distributed among a large set of stakeholders instead of a concentrated team.
- Bring in Subject Matter Experts and Give Content Ownership: Identify the people who have enough tangible experience in an area. Give them the ownership of specific content pieces. Their first-hand understanding of the subject, along with a basic approval process, and the feedback provided by all other employees will ensure that the content generation process is optimized for accuracy of information.
- Create a Dialogue between Subject Matter Experts and Technicians: Allow the users of the knowledge base to comment and suggest edits. Having a feedback system in the form of comments and suggestions from technicians will help keep the content fresh, relevant, and more aligned with their requirements.
As you might have observed by now, when you have the right ITSM tool, it doesn’t take much to build and maintain an efficient knowledge management system. As soon as you harness the power of knowledge transmission and self-service in your organization, you will see a sharp increase in first call resolutions, technician productivity, and user satisfaction. To transform your knowledge management today, download the Motadata ServiceOps ITSM platform, free for 30 days.