Thursday, 7 March 2013

Knowledge Management - Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is power as the old saying goes. Let’s consider for a moment that we are in a position where there is no formalized knowledge management policy in our organization and to complicate matters further we are in a fast moving ever changing environment…. Ok, so that may apply to most of us. What we may not realize when we are busy is that each day there is a component of duplicated work, lengthened decision making as a result of not having a formal knowledge base and readily available information.
The other concern is that we have all worked (or currently work) in an environment where there is the “go to” person who has all the info stored in their head. The risk here is that all the information is stored in the one person’s mind. The intention here is to ensure that the data dump is completed from said persons brain to a repository somewhere. Unfortunately more often than not when this doesn’t happen and this person leaves we wished we had ensured the information was saved and a scramble to re-discover information begins

So what do we need to do this for?
Even though we understand that this is a best practice we still require buy in from our stakeholders to not only get this off the ground, but to keep this initiative going. Like a CMS, this may be happening in some capacity now but we want to formalize this in a way which is sustainable for the long haul. As with any other process improvement the best place to start is to evaluate our current state. Some of key things to address include:

·         What information is currently captured,

·         how it is recorded, and

·         where it is stored
This will give us a better idea of what information we have (or don’t have) and the best way to move forward. Define your scope. This can’t be stressed enough.

Challenges to getting this underway
Like anything worth doing there are going to be some challenges along the way. After reviewing where we are currently we will need to likely address some of the following questions:

·         Where do we plan to keep documentation – do we have existing tools or require something else?

·         processes around keeping it up to date – how do we not let this fall off the rails

·         WIIFM and what will this cost

In addition to addressing these questions we will also need to market reasons to have knowledge management to the people who will help make this happen. Some of the benefits include:
·         Having available knowledge for afterhours support

·         Self-service components allow end users to quickly find answers to support questions

·         Improves learning curve of the users

·         Reduces call durations and increases first level resolution

It’s important to translate this information into what really counts:
·         improves customer service and
·         cost savings.
Once you have this in place it will be important for the process owner and key stakeholders to periodically review the status of your Knowledge Management and take the necessary steps to keep it up to date and effective
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