What is Knowledge Management?
As Gartner defines it, “Knowledge management is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise’s information assets. These assets may include databases, documents, policies, procedures, and previously un-captured expertise and experience in individual workers.”
The benefit of Knowledge Management is that it allows organizations to capitalize on intellectual and knowledge-based assets—what people know—which, in turn, leads to increased productivity and more consistency in the quality of products and services offered.
While many organizations jump head-first into Knowledge Management systems and tools, there is value in considering the purpose or objectives they seek to accomplish by aggregating information.
When planning a Knowledge Management solution for a Service Desk, for example, an organization should first ask the following questions:
- What kind of information will we need to collect?
- What processes and practices should we develop?
- How will we drive adoption?
- What is our plan for managing our organization’s knowledge assets long term?
- What technology will support our objectives?
Successfully aligning an organization’s Knowledge Management practice to Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) standards adds inherent benefits. By implementing a robust and well-maintained Knowledge Management practice, an organization can accomplish many goals:
- Improve the quality of management decision-making
- Improve performance by leveraging information in ongoing operations
- Create long-term value based on the experience of our organization’s employees and customers
- Conform with legal and other governance requirements
- Provide the right information, at the right time, to the right people
- Reduce overall operational costs
In its most basic form, Knowledge Management is the discipline of converting raw data into understandable and re-usable information. Rather than serving as an inventory of everything an organization “knows,” Knowledge Management serves as a link between people and information and its implementation. Such implementation may require a shift in cultural behavior, and may call for people to change deeply engrained habits—which can also be a daunting task. There are longstanding beliefs, actions and attitudes that will need to be overcome to prove value, purpose and function as it relates to knowledge sharing. It’s more than simply implementing a tool or system.
The bulk of the effort is focused on helping people get past the “are you trying to replace me” mentality and make the transition to thriving in a collaborative, sharing and supportive environment.
Another challenge organizations face is justifying the time and effort required to build a successful program. Such tasks as inventorying information, developing processes and procedures, educating people, and helping guide a cultural shift take time. While these challenges will require effort to overcome, this effort will be rewarded.
Implementing ITIL Knowledge Management
There are eight steps involved in implementing a knowledge management practice.
This eight-step approach will enable you to identify your organization’s unique challenges and help you overcome any hurdles. In addition, this approach helps you build a plan for mitigating risk. Ultimately, your goal is to maximize the reward, build trust with your program, and foster a knowledge culture.
Using the eight-step approach, Continuant provides guidance, based on the ITIL Framework, and offers support for the organization during implementation. Continuant offers a full line of knowledge-related services:
- Knowledge Asset Audits & Initial Assessment
- Content Repository Health Report
- Coaching and Consulting