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Benoit Tessier | April 16, 2018

4 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Implementing Knowledge Management

Current ITSM trends focus on Knowledge Management, Self-Service, and Self-Help. With this comes the uncertainty, and complexity, of implementing an effective and well-designed knowledge management process, and while challenging, this doesn’t mean you can shy away from it. 

According to findings from "The State of Knowledge Management: 2016-17 KMWorld Survey,” knowledge management is gaining momentum and encouragement. More than one-third of those surveyed, 38%, said they don’t have any knowledge management structure in place or are sitting in the “exploration stage.” 

Learn how to lower service desk call volume with interactive knowledge  experiences.

If you’re in the early stages of planning for your knowledge management system, or maybe you’ve already tried and failed at your knowledge management attempt, this article is for you. We’re sharing the top four mistakes companies make when implementing a knowledge management method. After reading this, you can rest easy knowing you can avoid these costly errors.

1. Doing things the same old way

There’s nothing wrong with tradition and following what’s been tried and true. But, if you want to succeed at knowledge management, you must cater to your users and the style of experience they wantmore knowledge at their fingertips, that’s readily available and accessible with just a few keystrokes.

Many companies keep using their same knowledge strategy of gathering as much information as they can, but in the end, it’s rarely updated and barely used. This method is not the best if you want to succeed in the long run.

One thing you can do is change how you deliver your knowledge. Search engines are fine, but they only take individuals so far if the person doesn’t know what to search for. Your best option is implementing a tool that helps create an interactive and engaging knowledge experience, and that empowers employees, because at the end of the day, people want the ability to solve their own problems, but they won’t if it’s too hard. Plus, if your employees help themselves, then you can realize true ROI of your knowledge base where you see 30% less calls to the service deskso it’s a win-win for everyone!

2. Having a "build it and they will come" mentality

Many organizations think knowledge management is simply building a massive repository of knowledge articles, and that this act alone will encourage people to use it. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Creating a knowledge base is not the end. Once developed, it must be regularly updated, easily and readily accessible, and its usage needs to be reinforced company-wide.  

For instance, when a user calls for something you know is in the knowledge base, take a few minutes instructing him or her on navigating the system, and show how to find the answer quickly. It may take longer to resolve this particular call, but it may save the user from making additional calls in the future. This is a great example of promoting knowledge management and training users at the same time.

3. Spreading the knowledge too thin

One of the biggest mistakes when building a knowledge base is going too big too fast. Don’t try to get all the knowledge in there just yet. Ambitious deployments almost always result in a knowledge base that is solid in places but spread so thin in others that it weakens the entire system. If users can’t find answers, they will quickly stop using the tool, leaving you with an uphill battle to get them back on board.

In the early stages, focus on the depth and quality of the information, rather than quantity. Concentrate on what matters most, what would solve the most problems today, and grow from there. Users must know that the information in your knowledge management system is reliable and accurate, which builds trust between them and the initiative, which means you now have advocates supporting the implementation.

4. Not measuring and monitoring for success

You’ve got your people, processes, and technology in place, and you think you’re done—not so fast. After implementation, the real work comes in tracking and measuring how the knowledge management environment is being used. Some key performance indicators should include data on:

  • Article usage
  • Article satisfaction
  • Navigation times
  • Navigation flows
  • Ease of use

Capture as much data as you can on how the knowledge is used and consumed. A good self-help tool should assist you in learning which processes and navigations function best, what articles users find valuable, how deep users dig to get the information they need, and who is actually using the knowledge base. Furthermore, use this data to justify increases in resources, funding, and additional tools to maintain the success of your company’s knowledge investment.

In the end, several factors will play a role in the success of your knowledge management initiative. But now that we’ve let you in on some of the biggest mistakes companies make, you can prevent these and reap the benefits of successful knowledge management implementation.

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Benoit Tessier

Benoit Tessier, EasyVista Director of Product Marketing, is an IT veteran with 20+ years of professional IT Service Management experience. He has extensive knowledge on process implementation and technical integrations, and has presented at ITSM conferences around the world. In this role, he helps lead the marketing direction and strategic vision for EasyVista’s services and solutions.