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Knowledge Management's Job: Eliminate Knowledge Management

When you mention Knowledge Management to most people, they think of the knowledge base.

To be sure, building, cultivating and maintaining a comprehensive knowledge base is a critical part of Knowledge Management, but itís just one piece of much, much larger picture.

Letís set aside, for the moment, that the knowledge base is only a small fraction of our inventory of available information and knowledge. Still, curating knowledge is but one of the three primary roles of Knowledge ManagementÖ

Knowledge Curation focuses on:
  • Gathering existing knowledge & information
  • Capturing knowledge from process execution
  • Fostering a knowledge-sharing culture
  • Building tools and processes to maintain knowledge resources

You can have the most comprehensive knowledge base in the world, but without an equally comprehensive Knowledge Delivery strategy, thatís all it is Ė a great, big, steaming pile of knowledge.

Knowledge Delivery, the second primary role of Knowledge Management, is chiefly concerned with getting that valuable insight to everyone who needs it Ė and ensuring itís presented in a consumable, useful format.

Where most organizations start with Knowledge Delivery is search optimization. Unfortunately, thatís also where many end.

Effective Knowledge Delivery is equal parts search optimization, technology, process engineering, analytics, organizational change management, user interface design, and psychology. The other half is consumer profiling.

Knowledge Delivery requires a thorough understanding of not only what people need to know, but why, how and when they apply that knowledge.

The best way to understand knowledge consumers is through understanding their motivations, the desired outcomes of the multitude of tasks they perform, and the ways they use their tools to accomplish those tasks. The better we know our consumers, the better we can seamlessly integrate knowledge directly into their existing processes and tools.

Rather than forcing consumers to search for knowledge, we should place it right there at their fingertips when itís needed.

Service Delivery Optimization is the final, and most often overlooked, role of Knowledge Management.

Various systems, scattered across the enterprise, store staggering amounts of valuable data and information about our solutions, historical customer engagements, accounts and resources.

Imagine we have a customer with an aging infrastructure that has been growing increasingly prone to failure, and their contract is nearing expiration. Their internal operations team consistently returns surveys with reasonably high Transactional-CSAT scores, but when their Business Service Owner reaches out to our Account Management team, itís often with concerns over failure response times, and these emails tend to arrive several weeks after the failures have occurred. These complaints started shortly after a leadership shake-up in the customerís organization. Theyíre in the middle of a full infrastructure assessment, and expect to make some critical decisions on a data center tech refresh within the next six months. We have an influential internal champion there who is very well-versed in their legacy environment, but lacks deep understanding of our latest product lines.

Every person who directly (and indirectly) services this customer should be keenly aware of the situation. Itís Knowledge Managementís job to foster that situational awareness.

Such a level of account health and wellness awareness requires performance data, historical serviceability information, market analysis, competitive landscaping, insight from numerous people in different departments, and on and onÖ

Knowledge Management strives to find new ways of connecting, combining and processing all those data, information and knowledge sources (along with other external sources) to actually create new knowledge Ė knowledge that enables us to:
  • Deliver highly personalized service
  • Optimize our workforce and processes
  • Uncover revenue opportunities
o   Öand make the most of those opportunities

Knowledge Management both welds our processes together, and greases the gears.

My career has spanned across many different disciplines within the scope of IT Service Management over the past two decades. I built that career upon the foundation of one simple premise: If your people are not following your processes, donít blame the people.

Nowhere is this perspective more clear than in Knowledge Management.

Knowledge Management should be as transparent as it is ubiquitous.

In fact, Iíd go a step further and say the ultimate goal of Knowledge Management as a practice is to eliminate Knowledge Management as a process.

March 08, 2016, 01:26:04 pm

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