How many times have you received a support call about “that system” that never seems to make sense to anyone except for the one person who originally put it in?
Too often is my guess.
When that call comes in, we would pop our heads over the partition to that one person and ask them to take the call or ask how we go about fixing this thing….
Well what happens when our cubical partitions are replaced by our homes and the option to just “pop our head over” is no longer a reality?
The Struggles of Remote IT Support Without Knowledge Management
Many support organizations are moving to tools such as Skype, Teams, Zoom, etc. to stay connected, but what happens when traditional working hours no longer apply?
This is the realization that many support organizations are having to tackle right now and the cost of having knowledge tied up in one person is a cost we as an industry can no longer afford.
Knowledge management has never been a high priority for organizations as the cost of maintaining a knowledge management system seemed excessive compared to popping heads over partitions and getting a quick reply. Now the cost of not having an up-to-date knowledge management system is becoming clear.
Clearly documenting systems, common issues and common resolutions is very valuable in this new world of shifting workforce to remote locations. Not only to minimize risk to the organization for having large swathes of knowledge tied up in one or two key employees, but also to allow end users to be able to self-service their own issues when the support team is not available to ask directly.
It is time to take knowledge management seriously and treat it with the mission critical status that it requires.
Keys to Knowledge Management Success
Here are a few tips to successfully create, manage, and maintain a good knowledge management system.
There is no point in having good documentation if no one can find it when needed. Having a system that integrates with your current service management system and that is available to end users via a web portal, mobile, etc. is critical to any knowledge management solutions success.
Most service management solutions will contain some level of knowledge management solution that integrates with their solution. Being able to tag useful articles against incidents as they’re resolved ensures others having similar issues can leverage past experience to improve resolutions time.
Just make sure it is available externally and can be easily exported if needed.
Consistency of format, layout and level of technical language are important to articles being used by support staff and end users alike. If an article is full of jargon or is too wordy, end users will get lost and not find their specific answers. The same holds true for support staff KB articles.
Be concise and to the point.
3. Perfection is the Enemy of Good Enough
While templates and consistency of format are important, they are not as important as simply capturing the raw information. Many failed knowledge management projects fail due to the number of articles not being available. This is usually because the level of detail that project leaders are wanting makes for slow and complicated editing processes.
It is far better to get the raw data published and available ASAP and then return later to “clean it up” or place it into the relevant template than it is to have it perfect first time.
4. Change Management
One of the largest challenges with any knowledge management project has been keeping the content up to date. This usually comes down to a single point of failure and that is not including documentation review in the change management process.
When a system gets implemented and change management is scheduled for build, test or even rollout – knowledge management should be captured across all segments of the change to ensure as much documentation is available day-one of the system going live.
When a system gets changed or updated, the knowledge documentation should be re-visited to ensure it is still valid, screen shots are relative and representative of the new system, and any new features should be added to the existing knowledge documents.
There is no better time than the present to start your knowledge management journey as it will improve customer satisfaction as companies transition to more telecommuting.