What you (want to) 'Know' is what you (want to) see!
As experience always dictates and what typically people with grey hair always say - 'Knowledge is present everywhere. It is up to an individual to learn and understand.' But in today's world, knowledge is essential; knowledge is solution to an issue which in turn means that knowledge is customer satisfaction. The one who has more knowledge actually is better-placed to excel. It could be as simple as possessing a word document that everyone is searching for or as complex as understanding a concept that others are finding it difficult to grasp! To know more, read on.
As much as availability of knowledge is a challenge, in an IT Organization, retaining available knowledge is a bigger challenge (what with attrition, recession and other such keywords). But retaining knowledge has a key pre-requisite, i.e. recognizing existing knowledge and consolidating it for reference across the organization. Seems a mouthful, eh? So let us break this up into clear steps:
Step 1: Recognizing availability of knowledge (internally as well as externally)
Step 2: Consolidating knowledge from all sources to be located centrally repository
Step 3: Identify areas where knowledge is not available
Follow Step 1 again
So what is the key take-away from the above procedure? Well, what it tries to say is that (a) knowledge management is a never-ending process and (b) knowledge is always available somewhere!
Perhaps that's the reason for the old adage - if you don't know the answer, you haven't looked enough!
The other key component of effective knowledge management within an ITSM Organization is to present knowledge in the right format to the right set of audience. This is primarily because knowledge is required everywhere but at varying depth at each level. Most often, data is available in the form of reports, but it takes a bit of thought to convert that into knowledge and it is this knowledge that drives decision-making.
Let us explore this statement a bit more: Consider the premise as knowledge about an application. While the CIO/Director would need information about the competitor landscape and strategic ties to decide whether to replace an application suite, the Service Delivery Manager would need information about the performance of the current application and its major pitfalls. The Level 2 and Level 3 support would need to know workarounds for major incidents and the helpdesk would need a list of issues that normally crop up for the application and the respective point of contact. So knowledge is required at all levels, it is the depth and focus that varies.
So now that we have an understanding on the key tenets of knowledge management and its importance in an organization, in my next blog, we will delve deeper into some ideas around how knowledge can be managed in current ITSM organizations across the world who have to deal with issues such as multiple vendors being introduced to support a portfolio of IT applications and infrastructure or a single vendor being introduced to manage tasks being performed by multiple vendors.