Blog Top 7 ITSM trends for 2014 and beyond: Knowledge Management

Top 7 ITSM trends for 2014 and beyond

Trend number seven in our series of blog posts on the top seven ITSM trends for 2014 is Knowledge Management.
 
Knowledge is the lifeblood of an organization and one of the most valuable assets. It’s critical to productivity – both in the business and within IT. Knowhow gets things done, so capturing and leveraging knowledge is key to delivering efficient support outcomes. Whilst knowledge remains locked up in silos, there will always be people reinventing the wheel. A silo’d organizational structure – based on rigid hierarchies and segregated teams is threat #1 to the flow of vital knowledge around an organization.
 
Now, economic instability, new working models, and globalization are driving an increase in rate at which people change jobs – and knowledge is leaking out of the organization. Most service desks suffer from a higher-than-average rate of staff churn (35% per year, according to HDI), which means a large part of the total body of support knowledge walks out the door every year. With so many people leaving, the organizational Body of Knowledge (BoK) is fleeting.
 
The first strategy for a stable/growing organizational knowledge base (the total organizational BoK including both wetware and software) must always be staff retention. Pay them a decent wage. Keep them engaged. Think about intrinsic motivation (autonomy, mastery, purpose) as well as extrinsic motivation (financial) to make sure your people are involved not just financially but emotionally with what your organization does.
 
Secondly, organizations need to find ways to capture and share knowledge on a global scale – across departmental and geographical boundaries – to optimize productivity inside and outside IT. It’s a belt-and-braces approach that helps you do two things: Grow your organizational BoK and leverage it. Knowledge shared is value multiplied.
 
By providing an open platform for sharing knowledge, IT can enable peer support amongst business people (which takes strain off the service desk) and more efficient sharing of technical knowledge within the walls of IT. Social mechanisms that bring human interactions into the view of the service desk are a powerful tool for capturing knowledge as part of day-today operations – making knowledge management part of people’s routine. By providing chat and collaboration tools, conversations and problem solving sessions that previously happened offline can be captured and reused as artifacts in a searchable knowledge base. The organizational body of knowledge grows. Searchability means shareability. Sharing means value multiplied.
 
Value is multiplied, exponentially across large organizations that are spread over hundreds/thousands of sites across the globe, but as social knowledge management gains traction and reaches a critical mass, there are some issues associated with large-scale knowledge bases. As the volume of captured knowledge increases, curation becomes more important. Maintaining quality of knowledge is critical to continued use and long term value, so structures should be put in place. A combination of social ratings (e.g. “Did you find this useful?”) and regular evaluation by power-users and technical subject matter experts will help keep the knowledge base fresh and relevant.

 

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