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How to run Knowledge Management like a Superstar   


Knowledge Management


Ask any Service Desk what their biggest area of concern is and they’ll probably tell you that it’s a lack of documentation or cross training. Knowledge Management is the ITIL practice that can empower your Service Desk and end users alike, slash incident resolution times and boost first time fix rates. Done well, it can increase the skills of your Service Desk, reduce the pressure on second and third line support teams and increase customer satisfaction. Here are some tips on getting started.


Start where you are

One of my favourite aspects of ITIL 4 is the principle “start where you are”. All too often, organisations get so caught up in the need to “do Knowledge Management properly” that they forget about things that are already in place leading to duplication and rework. Look at what you have in place already. As technology evolves, so will the knowledge and support information but sometimes it will become “stuck” in incident records, email or instant messaging conversations or vendor forums. Other things to look for include service desk “how to” guides, vendor support notes or project documentation.

Try and centralise this content into one central place so that everyone in your team can access it. Every Service Desk has a superhero; that person who has been there a while, knows the environment and seems to be able to fix anything that they encounter. Ask them to document some of this knowledge so it can be shared with the rest of the team. Think of it like this, Iron Man on his own can only do so much but as part of the Avengers; he can save the world.


Look at trends

Look at what is causing your business pain. What are the things that your customer log day in, day out? Do some basic trending and look at your top five incident categories. No matter what organisation you work for there will nearly always be questions about email, the wifi and how to work the printer. Get a handle on your frequent flyers and pull together some quick troubleshooting guides on how to fix them.


Shift left

Look at how to improve the training for your service desk and technical support teams. A really effective way of doing this is to apply the shift left principle whereby more senior IT technicians in second or third line support roles make their knowledge available to less experienced Service Desk agents, helping them answer more difficult customer questions.

Ask third line support for tips that second line support can use and second line support teams for tips to be handed to first line support line and so on. This will result in the first and second line teams fixing more issues at the first point of contact (hello increased first time fix rate!) as well as freeing up your third line teams to focus on the more complex, time consuming issues.

Give your users super powers!

How many of your Service Desk calls could have been resolved by more user training or a self-service offering? Self-service is the capability that will provide online support to customers and end users without requiring them to talk to a member of the IT department. The most common types of self-service include:

  • FAQs
  • Knowledge articles
  • “How to” guides
  • Automated password resets
  • Logging service requests for example requesting a new laptop or an installation of Microsoft Visio.
  • Major incident updates

There is nothing more frustrating from a user perspective than to spend ages trying to get through to the Service Desk for a password reset or to be told that their email issue isn’t just them, it’s a known issue affecting the whole office and they needn’t have called. Use automation where possible to provide updates on major incidents, make password resets accessible via self service as well as a searchable knowledge base for hints, tips and FAQs.


Make your content easy to use

You’ve written some great content so make sure it is easy to access and easy to use. As before, centralise everything onto the Service Desk portal, SharePoint or even the intranet so that everyone knows where to go. Making sure that all articles are clearly labelled and any links to other resources are correct. We don’t want to open up a knowledge base to our users only to find lots of broken links.


Measure performance over time

Make sure you capture how your Knowledge Management practice adds value to the rest of your organisation. Useful measurements to look at include:

  • Number of articles available and reviewed / updated by the IT department
  • Number of incidents resolved by self service
  • Number of service requests resolved by self service
  • Number of articles used by IT
  • Number of articles used by end users

Advantages of effective knowledge management

  • Improved first time fix rates
  • Reduced mean time to restore service
  • Increased morale and staff retention
  • Improved customer experience

A solid Knowledge Management practice can transform your Service Desk from a single hero to a team of heroes, increase fix rates and improve customer satisfaction so what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

What would you add to this? Please let me know in the comments.