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Challenges with Knowledge Management in ITSM

Organizations often struggle to manage and optimize Knowledge management. This article goes beyond definitions, going depper into the untamed hurdles companies face when integrating Knowledge Management (KM) into their IT Service Management (ITSM) processes. We'll explore common roadblocks like siloed information and outdated documentation, but more importantly, we'll show you how to overcome them. Discover how a robust KM system can help users to solve their issues on their own, reduce resolution times, and empower both IT staff and end-users.
Jana Mančíková

12. 2. 2024

What is Knowledge management?

Knowledge Management (KM) is an application that provides functionality for publishing useful information and making it available to the right people at the right time.

Knowledge Base is a central repository that holds articles and makes it available for all users.

It supports classification of information in different sections like HR, IT documentation for only IT, etc.

How does Knowledge Management work?

Knowledge articles can be FAQs, policies, procedures that the target audience needs. Many organizations use knowledge base as a repository for solutions to the user problems in their tickets, that have been resolved and reported by many employees. It not only help the employees to see the recommended solution but also resolve certain incidents themselves. Proper reporting also reduces the burden for common issues on customer service agents.

Many organizations have dedicated customer service agents that also act as authors for Knowledge base and they contribute to the articles for common resolutions.

This arrangement also will help the organization work cross functionally as a team.

What is the main role of Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management is an ongoing process that helps organizations understand and meet their knowledge needs consistently.

The main goal of Knowledge management is to derive meaningful useful information within the organization. 

There are two navigation options available for the Knowledge Base:

  • Self-service knowledge base is for end users who want to view article. In an organization all user needs to have access to self-service Knowledge base, Self Service Knowledge Base is a UI where the end user can search, read and provide feedback for knowledge articles
  • Knowledge application that is accessible only for Knowledge support staff, author, reviewer, contributor, approvers. The Knowledge articles can be categorized by incident, problem, change, process, policy etc.

Three default Knowledge Base options available out of the box include:

  1. IT
  2. Knowledge
  3. Social Question and Answers

Four options for categorizing articles are:

  1. Most viewed
  2. Most useful
  3. Featured content
  4. Theme-based categories

Challanges in Knowledge Management

One of the challenges in Knowledge Management that organizations face is managing and customizing different workflows for various knowledge bases. Some organization have different approval process for HR Knowledge base, IT Knowledge base etc. Another challenge is facing longer wait times for article approvals. To address this, one effective solution is implementing auto-approval. This involves skipping the approval process and automatically approving content, streamlining the workflow.

Step by step for Knowledge Base workflow

Workflow Management for Knowledge Base includes different steps:

1. Creating an article, that stage is called draft. Creating article can be done two ways one is to create new article and other is to import article. Import article helps contributor to create an article in word and select a Knowledge Base and import, this way automatically article be created. Creating article gives options to manage fonts customizing the article pattern and format and pick a style as per your organizational needs.

One of the challenges that many organizations face is to keep a track and to maintain a consistency for fonts and pattern unanimous for different knowledge bases. The best way to overcome this challenge is to create a template and use that for uniformity across all articles for Knowledge base.

2. Submitting the article for review. Many organizations follow different traditions for review and approval. The problem can occure when approver gets overloaded with many review articles and it consumes time to publish. 

One of the ways to resolve this issue is to skip the approval process.

It is helpful for some organization that have dedicated technical writer team, and they are provided combined role for author as well as approver. It is beneficial for streamlining language, correctness and suitability for target audience. In regular process the approver will get notification, if rejected it will go back for review stage. The approver can review, comment and approve, if approved it will go to the publish stage.

3. Publishing the article for end users. End users can access the article and also provide feedback and star rating. The end users can also flag articles and create incident.

Issues with retired and renewed articles

When the information is not currently applicable organizations may want to retire an article temporarily but the article can be useful on a later date.

One of the ways to resolve it is if admin can view retired articles and can instantly republish skipping the approval workflow.

Managing roles and users in Knowledge Management

Taking care of users and roles plays a crucial role in knowledge management. Contributors and authors, including support staff, play a key role in identifying important and missing content. Subject matter experts ensure technical accuracy and verify content, while the Knowledge Manager, as the process owner, holds a pivotal position.

Key role of users in Knowledge Management

Many organizations involve end users by notifying them to participate for feedbacks and comments for articles. Involving end users is a good practice and helps improve the information constantly. End users play an important role in providing feedback that helps enhancing content quality.

Knowledge Management in ITSM Processes

The Knowledge base can help resolve for instance an incident when a request for a knowledge article can be submitted through an incident record.

Problem management creates a Known Error Database. If numerous users encounter an issue and the team successfully identifies and resolves the problem, along with documenting a comprehensive step-by-step process, a knowledge article will be generated to facilitate sharing the solution with all users. The end users can resolve the issue themselves by following step by step process described in Knowledge article.

One of the challenges that many teams encounter is tons of incidents and problem resolutions being suggested as knowledge articles. The solution is to have customer service agents identifying the core useful information and weeding out the unserviceable information.

Benefits of Knowledge Management

The knowledge management can be fully utilized as an amazing tool to help other ITSM process and speed up ticket resolution, incident and problem management. Knowledge base also updates the end users about the organization’s process, procedures and policies. Furthermore, knowledge management helps stand-in initiation. Employees have the resources to contribute common ideas and involvements.

If the organizations streamline and customize the workflow management and user roles for different Knowledge bases it can be utilized as an ultimate information repository.