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Krista Lyons | March 02, 2021

3 Knowledge Management Best Practices to Thrive in 2021

Knowledge management is not a new concept, but when done correctly it can help your IT service desk and customers thrive for years to come. Whether you are using a sophisticated knowledge management software or a more introductory method, there are a few knowledge management best practices of which to be aware.

Why Knowledge Management?

As millennials and Gen Z enter the workforce, they expect the ability to access knowledge at their fingertips. In fact, according to a Salesforce study, 89% of millennials prefer to use a search engine to find customer service or answers to questions. This number is only expected to increase as the workforce continues to be more digitally minded.

Another recent survey reveals that 43% of workers prefer to get help for IT problems and access knowledge through an online self-service platform, rather than via face-to-face or 50/50 digital interactions.

By providing your employees a coordinated, strategic knowledge and content management system, you show your employees that you want to meet them where they are with the knowledge they need. Additionally, you are able to unlock benefits like increased operational efficiency and reduced operational costs, a superior employee experience, better use of scarce support resources and the productivity of the employees they serve, reduced duplication of effort, and lower staff turnover.

The Benefits of Knowledge Management Diagram1-01

The Four Components of Knowledge Management 

The biggest question to answer is: what is knowledge management? Knowledge management is defined as “the process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. It refers to a multidisciplinary approach to achieving organizational objectives by making the best use of knowledge.”

What this definition doesn’t include are the four major components of knowledge management: people, strategy, technology, and processes. When combined with best practices, these major components work together to increase the benefits of using a knowledge management system.

Component 1: People

The heart of the service desk is not technology, it is people. The same goes for knowledge management. The people who will be creating the knowledge and consuming it are the most important component.

In order to create actionable knowledge, people with an intimate understanding of what the customers and agents need must be involved. Further, the knowledge must be created to improve the experience of the people consuming it, meaning that as knowledge is created it should be made to meet people where they are and in the best ways for them to consume each piece. This might look like creating bite-sized videos and articles rather than lengthy Wikis. 

Component 2: Strategy

Knowledge management is not be one-size-fits all. Rather, you should create a strategy that addresses creation, curation, and modification of knowledge articles. The strategy should address technology currently in use, what technology will need to be implemented, and how to increase adoption and get employees to use the knowledge base.

Component 3: Technology

Consider the use of a self-service portal or other emerging technology to create better user adoption. Technology should not only address which platforms will be using the knowledge database, but which platforms should be addressed within each knowledge article.

For example, you will want to consider not only how the articles are being accessed, but which types of technology will be addressed. Think of accessing a knowledge databased through a chatbot (technology) about a broken computer (also technology to consider).

Component 4: Processes

Knowledge creation and modification is a continuous process. Define the process of who manages and creates the knowledge and what steps are in place to ensure that topics are revisited enough to eliminate outdated data. This goes back to the people-component in a way, because it is ensuring that there are people and processes in place to handle implementation and changes.

The Benefits of Effective Knowledge Management@2x

3 Knowledge Management Best Practices

With the four components in mind, these 3 best practices will help ensure success in your knowledge management projects.

Knowledge Management Best Practice #1: Provide Contextualized Knowledge Experiences

Providing lengthy articles in a Wiki isn’t enough. Employees and customers expect to quickly find snackable content and the type of knowledge they can consume and implement within minutes. This will require a fit-for-purpose knowledge management solution to help at every step of the process that uses self-service technology. This technology should include automation, artificial intelligence (AI) elements, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Machine Learning (ML), which work together to provide contextualized experiences so that each user is only given the articles they need without losing time to lengthy searches.

You can read more about how to put automation to work with knowledge management in the recent Gartner report, How to Start Executing a Successful Automation Strategy. Get your complimentary copy of the report here.

Knowledge Management Best Practice #2: Create a Knowledge Sharing Policy

This best practice might seem a little bit obvious, but it is one that needs to be stated. If your company has been doing something the same way for years, it may be difficult to get the end-users on board with the knowledge database. Thus, you should create a knowledge sharing and creation policy to help dictate to all employees how and where their knowledge is stored.

Creating a knowledge sharing policy will need to cover who is responsible for creating, reviewing, and editing knowledge, a formal process to make those changes, and how to access knowledge. This will help you fast-track knowledge management especially in the context of telework, because it will be clear to both new and seasoned employees what is expected regarding knowledge sharing.

Knowledge Management Best Practice #3: Map all Knowledge Assets

To prevent effort duplication and other issues, it is crucial to start by mapping out all of your current knowledge assets. Take inventory of what knowledge you have and which workflows they are currently part of. Then, using the customer journey, create a strategy to understand what information is missing, what is needed, and what can probably be added later.

This is all part of understanding who your customer is, what they need, and where they expect to get their information so that you can meet them there. However, it goes beyond that. Mapping all knowledge assets requires an intense audit of everything you have and everything you will need while considering the workflows that are intrinsically connected.

Knowledge Management of the Future 

As mentioned earlier, knowledge management isn’t necessarily a new technology, but it is an essential step in modernizing your service desk. Knowledge management is the basis for nearly every other process and project to enable digital transformation, which is a must-have in post-pandemic life.

If you are looking for a knowledge management solution that can help you reduce requests and increase user satisfaction by empowering users to solve their own issues, try our software!

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Krista Lyons

Krista Lyons is the Content Marketing Manager at EasyVista and is dedicated to sharing helpful information and industry insights through EasyVista's website, social media, and communications. A graduate of the University of Tampa, Lyons has a background in journalism and communications. She enjoys all things tech and has a passion for reading and writing about artificial intelligence.