Monday, 29 July 2013

WORN - Write Once Read Never? – The Importance of Knowledge Management

I am far from an expert on the subject of Knowledge Management, however I regularly see the capability of what is possible based on the level of information we have available as well as what cannot be accomplished when we reach a knowledge roadblock. Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, but how is that power wielded? More often than not we find ourselves in a knowledge deficit while buzz words such as “Big Data” are floating around.

This topic came about, as most do, on a Monday morning coffee discussion amongst some colleagues. Much of the talk was around how we didn’t feel we have enough information to improve the customer experience.
·         Where is this information which we seek?
·         Does it not exist at all?
·         Is it in a repository somewhere in a SharePoint site?
·         Is it stored locally in someone’s mind and never shared?

I am not sure how many organizations share in this mode of thought, but do many have a custodial way of curating the information that they currently have? Everyone knows someone in their organization who believes that if they have the market on the knowledge stores they are invaluable and effectively irreplaceable. Unfortunately I have seen this cycle repeat itself too many times. That person leaves without the brain dump and we start over. Sadly in some cases we say “That will never happen again” and we end up right back in the same place.

First we really need to identify where we already are on a knowledge maturity scale. What do we have now and where is it? Knowing that, we should be able to formulate some type of strategy to get a process in place where one may not currently exist. We need buy-in from the powers that be. Really without that we will be doomed to repeat the same failures. 

Next we need to identify what is in scope for our knowledge policy and how do we ensure that the information in it is valid, current and usable. We need to ensure that this policy is adhered to so some roles will need to be clearly defined to ensure we stay on task. And that the information stays current and accurate

While there are many benefits, having this accurate information at the fingertips of the Service Desk at the very least allows improving first call resolution. Faster turnarounds on escalations for support teams where they may be known issues or even in some cases from information that can be shared with customers directly from a knowledge portal of some type

Many policies used to have limits set on the amount of content that could be stored in a time when storage was a constraint. This in effect was the check and balance against what information was created, stored and updated. Now the sky is the limit with larger than life storage capabilities locally and in the cloud.

In the beginning there will be lots to do, I won’t lie. It is likely that without any previous policy that you will have many knowledge records which are duplicate (or more) in nature, so wading through the mire may take some time – so keep it simple and have a defined simplified scope. Apply this and educate all facets of your knowledge management policy to your IT teams, PMO and business units where applicable.

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