Simple Steps for Knowledge Management

I I regularly see organizations with large amounts of valuable information that remains unused simply because the difficulty to find it. This topic came about when a colleagues of mine asked about how to improve the customer experience from a self-service perspective driven by knowledge.

A few initial questions about knowledge in your organization are:

  • Does it even exist at all?
  • Is it in a repository somewhere in a Network folder, Wiki or SharePoint site?
  • Is it stored locally in someone’s mind and never shared?

Which leads me to the question “How many organizations have a way of curating the information that they currently have?”

If you are still reading this, you have experienced it before. There is always someone who believes that if they horde all the knowledge, that they are invaluable and effectively irreplaceable. Unfortunately I have seen this cycle repeat itself too many times. What typically happens is that after a while that person leaves, and we are left without any knowledge transition. Leaving us to start all over again. In some cases we say “That will never happen again” and we end up right back in the same place because we have no practice in place to ensure that this doesn’t happen again despite best intentions

So, what do we do?

First we need to identify where we already are on a knowledge maturity scale. This has to be looked at honestly with objective eyes. There is no ‘bad’, identifying that we are at the beginning just sets us up for a realistic outcome based on our current state . What do we have now and where is it? it might be in many places, and it might be out of date but at least you will know what you’re dealing with.

Knowing that, we should be able to formulate some type of strategy to get our knowledge practice in place. if we have one already (and we have identified where it isnt working particularly well) make the needed corrections. With a new or updated practice in place we need to seek the approval and buy-in from leaders to further facilitate the practice out to teams. The buy-in from them is important because without it the practice will have a tough time getting adopted if at all. Part of building the case for the buy-in will include some for of ROI or ‘Whats in it for me’. In cases like these having people who are looking to access information rather than generating work from front line staff is a good metric to get you going

Next, identify the scope for our knowledge practice and almost as important, what is not. In the beginning to keep it simple and small to get the ball rolling. once we know ‘what’ is in scope we can go back and look at the documentation we have and see what is valid, current and usable. As I mentioned above this shouldn’t be a ‘side of the desk’ activity. To keep this moving along there should be some roles and activities assigned to ensure that we can continue to progress forward to ensure information stays current and accurate. Having a small scope will not require a huge level of resourcing but will still allow you to achieve some level of success in which your knowledge practice can build off of.

While there are many benefits, having this accurate information at the fingertips of the Service Desk at the very least allows improving first call resolution. Faster turnarounds on escalations for support teams where they may be known issues or even in some cases from information that can be shared with customers directly from a knowledge portal of some type. This type of self service will help to drive down areas of repeat escalation to the service desk, so have someone from your Service Desk involved.

In the beginning there will be lots to do, I won’t lie. It is likely that without any previous policy that you will have many knowledge records which are duplicates, incorrect, outdated, so wading through the mire may take some time – so keep it simple and have a defined scope.

Set up short sprints for your knowledge practice to create content, publish review and retire to keep everything as updated as possible.