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EXPERTINSIGHTS ONKNOWLEDGEMANAGEMENTFeaturing Case Studies from HDI Knowledge-Centered Support Award Winners
C L I C K / TA P O N T I T L E SB E LO W TO J U M P TO
A N Y A R T I C L E
3Why Knowledge Management, and Why Now? Roy Atkinson
5The Road to Award-Winning KCS: A Case Study from Lowes
86 Steps for Building a Knowledge Management Culture Paul Dooley
12The Road to Award-Winning KCS: A Case Study from Spectrum Health
15Knowledge Management Is Not Optional Pete McGarahan
19The Road to Award-Winning KCS: A Case Study from Paychex
21Knowledge Is Power: KCS and Enterprise Knowledge Management Brandon Caudle
24The Road to Award-Winning KCS: A Case Study from Allstate
27Follow the Recipe: The Basic Ingredients of a Successful KCS Implementation Joshua Barker
Knowledge management (KM) can be a touchy subject in the world of support. Many organizations struggle with it, and far fewer have managed to create a mature KM process. Along with tackling the questions posed in the title, maybe we should look at the other side of the coin and explore what is keeping so many organizations from realizing the value of KM.
Were smart people.Many analysts pride themselves on their level of technical and institutional knowledge. Looking things up all the time seems like its for rookies. If people want to work there, they should be able to figure out how these things work, right?
Well, as we all know, things change. Too often, even the best veterans are left saying, When did that change? about a procedure or a system. Having accurate, up-to-date knowledge can ensure that the staff are aware of changes and are using the correct procedures.
It takes too much time.Documenting what we do does take time and effort. Even when Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) processes are integrated into the handling of each case, theres still effort and time involved. In the world of support, where every minute is measured, time is precious. In a world where success is measured by how many tickets L1 closed today, the time to document work simply doesnt exist, or so it would seem.
Consider this: The few minutes you spend now documenting your solution to an incident will save otherspossibly many othersthe time it took you to troubleshoot and test and document the solution. Documentation is money in the bank.
Why Knowledge Management, and Why Now?by Roy AtkinsonSenior Writer/Analyst | HDI
Were trying to do knowledge management, but our tool doesnt do it right.Granted, some ticket management systems either have a built-in knowledge base or have a way to connect to purpose-built knowledge systems. But, in many cases, it is a high-effort endeavor to get the knowledge base to connect to the individual cases the way wed like. While not optimal, copy and paste can be a good workaround.
Work with your ITSM or ticket management system provider to make sure youre taking full advantage of any ways you can manage the knowledge your team gathers every day. Organizations are using many creative ways to store knowledge and make it searchable andmore importantlyfindable. Wikis, SharePoint, databases, and even searchable text files are superior to having no recorded, shareable knowledge at all.
The analysts dont like having to use the knowledge base.Yes, your analysts are smart people; but as the environment you support becomes increasingly complex, its more important than ever to have valid, updated knowledge at hand. No one can remember it all, butgiven good guidancea technician or analyst can work through just about any scenario.
Some support staff will invariably complain that using a knowledge base makes them feel less valuable, creative, or smart. While this is understandable, its not acceptable. Ask them a simple question: The next time you get on a plane, do you want the pilot to skip the checklist?
Thats right. Even the legendary Sully Sullenberger ran through a complete checklist before taking off. If using knowledge is good enough for Sullyand every other airline, civilian, and military aviator and astronautits good enough for your support center: Check first, then solve.
So, whats your strategy to improve knowledge management in your organization?
ROY ATKINSON is HDIs senior writer/analyst, acting as in-house subject matter expert and chief writer for SupportWorld articles and white papers. In addition to being a member of the HDI International Certification Standards Committee and the HDI Desktop Support Advisory Board, Roy is a popular speaker at HDI conferences and is well known to HDI local chapter audiences. His background is in both service desk and desktop support as well as small-business consulting. Roy is highly rated on social media, especially on the topics of IT service management and customer service. He is a cohost of the very popular #custserv (customer service) chat on Twitter. He holds a masters certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane Universitys Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @HDI_Analyst and @RoyAtkinson.
THE ROAD TO AWARD-WINNING KCS:
A CASE STUDY FROM
What was the situation before the launch of the knowledge management initiative?The Lowes IT Service Desk had been struggling for years with its knowledge management efforts. With few guidelines and no prescribed best practices, knowledge was difficult to locate, which led to outdated articles and disgruntled users by the thousands. Analysts relied on multiple disjointed knowledge islands, such as personal notes and files, sticky notes on cube walls, walking to other analysts for assistance, or searching the Internet for help. Information consistency and accuracy, average call time, and average handle time suffered. Unnecessary rework was the norm, as knowledge wasnt being captured during the support process. Knowledge wasnt being treated like an asset. Furthermore, ownership of the knowledge management process was undefinedin no way was knowledge management aligned with either department strategy or even standard ITSM processes, like incident and problem management.
What was the knowledge management strategy?Our overall strategy was to adopt KCS by following the process prescribed by the Consortium for Service Innovation. Seven unique teams, with different cultures and leadership styles, were to adopt KCS, so our goal was to establish a repeatable model of adoption that could accommodate the cultural nuances of each respective team. With this goal in mind, we started small, focusing on one team and cascading to additional teams once the first team was progressing on track.
Additionally, we wanted to be able to scale KCS and implement it outside the IT Service Desk as needed. The 250 members of the IT Service Desk team represents 1520% of the IT department as a whole (approximately 1,500 staff). To disseminate our program, we knew we would need to establish knowledge collaboration partnerships with key IT and business support teams, and we drafted our program material, permissions, and messaging with those partnerships in mind.
LOWESWinner, 2016 HDI Knowledge-Centered Support Award
Headquartered in Mooresville, NC, Lowes is a Fortune 50 company with more than 2,355 retail stores, distribution facilities, and corporate offices located in the US, Canada, and Mexico. The home improvement company employs nearly 285,000 full- and part-time employees, and serves approximately 17 million retail and professional customers each week.
The Lowes IT Service Desk comprises more than 250 staff across multiple campuses, organized into five unique teams that support twenty-one ACD skillsets and 672 known applications. The teams field more than 1.6 million calls annually from retail stores, distribution centers, and corporate offices, in addition to the more than 900,000 incidents processed through the IT Service Desk self-help site annually.
THE ROAD TO AWARD-WINNING KCS:
A CASE STUDY FROM
For our analysts to successfully execute UFFA, we had to reverse several ingrained behaviors, including:
1. Getting off the knowledge island: We anticipated that analysts would have a hard time letting go of their personal knowledge repositories, so we encouraged them to draft candidate knowledge. We emphasized the importance of citation and accreditation to the individual and the organization as a whole. We also implemented a grace period during launch, to mitigate any fears about knowledge quality that might discourage analysts from drafting knowledge. We also encouraged them to work closely with their KCS coaches.
2. Capturing knowledge after the fact: We knew that capturing knowledge after the fact was unproductive. Real-time knowledge creation is essential, as it enables the analyst to capture the customer context.
We also introduced new roles and processes for measuring collaboration and the use, sharing, and improvement of collective knowledge:
We built knowledge contribution (fix it, flag it, and add it) and quality (article quality index, AQI) into the analysts individual scorecards to emphasize the importance of contributing to collective knowledge as opposed to simply consuming it.
We developed participation, citation, and AQI metrics (among others) to drive positive knowledge management behaviors and support the coaching process.