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ITIL Knowledge Management refers to creating, curating, and exchanging knowledge across various departments of an organisation regardless of the industry. The ITIL framework ensures that the knowledge base is accessible to all stakeholders. It is essential for the knowledge to be in the proper format with other relevant policies.
According to HDI's 2017 Technical Support Practices & Salary Report, about 54% of organisations utilise Knowledge Management technologies. Therefore, indicating the importance of Knowledge Management across today’s modern-day organisations. This blog explains ITIL Knowledge Management as the process of obtaining, assessing, storing, & distributing knowledge within an IT service desk.
Table of Contents
1) What is ITIL Knowledge Management?
2) Importance of Knowledge Management
3) Knowledge Management Roles and Responsibilities
4) Types of ITIL Knowledge Management
5) Key processes of ITIL Knowledge Management
6) Core activities of Knowledge Management
7) Benefits of ITIL Knowledge Management
In this section, you will learn, what is Knowledge Management in ITIL. The ITIL framework explains how Knowledge Management ensures that stakeholders receive the correct information in the appropriate form and at the correct time.
The transfer of information requires a procedure to be followed for the knowledge acquisition. The acquisition involves developing, capturing and harvesting unstructured knowledge. The knowledge can include various types, such as formal and documented or informal and tacit knowledge.
The foundation of Knowledge Management practice is referred to as the knowledge base. In the IT industry, the knowledge base is an online library of products, services or departmental information. The knowledge base contains data sourced from various places and is typically taken from proficient contributors on the relevant subjects.
Knowledge Management has become quite effortless since internet users depend significantly on search engines. Search engines leverage the availability of a vast and globally connected knowledge base online. ITIL Knowledge Management is utilised by organisations worldwide to curate knowledge and make it accessible to users.
An IT organisation can identify quality knowledge along with its organisation and management, and it can also experience a struggle to leverage its knowledge base. The organisation can learn to overcome its struggle by figuring out how to use and reuse its knowledge effectively.
As an example, whenever a user raises an IT-related issue, a new ticket is created. If that ticket is resolved by an IT technician, this is considered a new solution. These solutions are documented by the technicians for future reference. This process of documenting solutions is called ITIL Knowledge Management. If an organisation doesn’t have an established Knowledge Management process, it can lead to serious consequences like:
1) Lengthy resolution times
2) Increased downtimes
So even fixing a less serious issue can take a humungous amount of time, especially during outages and downtime. Let's take a look at the importance of ITIL Knowledge Management process:
1) Improved decision-making: ITIL Knowledge Management systems provide easy access to historical data and best practices. This empowers decision-makers with insights, leading to informed and well-grounded choices.
2) Reduced redundancy: ITIL Knowledge Management helps avoid duplication of efforts by making past solutions and lessons learned readily available, minimising repeated mistakes.
3) Improved problem-solving: An organised knowledge base enables employees to access relevant information swiftly. It aids in efficient troubleshooting and problem-solving in ITIL Knowledge Management.
4) Increased innovation: By sharing tacit and explicit knowledge, organisations foster an environment of innovation. Ideas are nurtured, and creative solutions emerge from a collaborative knowledge-sharing culture.
5) Employee development: Sharing implicit knowledge from experienced team members to juniors promotes skill development. It also prepares ITIL Knowledge Management employees for greater responsibilities.
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The ITIL Knowledge Management process includes various roles and responsibilities. They help contribute to the effective organisation and distribution of knowledge. From building knowledge repositories to publishing articles, these roles are essential for performing various tasks.
These roles help accommodate Continual Service Improvement (CSI) of documentation, processes and guidelines. Moreover, they ensure that information is harnessed, shared, and utilised optimally throughout the organisation. Let's explore some key ITIL Knowledge Management roles and their associated responsibilities:
1) Knowledge Managers: Knowledge Managers take the lead in overseeing the entire Knowledge Management process. They decide and approve the categories for publishing the articles. They also ensure that knowledge creation, maintenance, and distribution align with organisational goals and requirements. Their responsibilities include strategies for knowledge initiatives, monitoring the quality of knowledge assets, and promoting knowledge-sharing culture.
2) Curators: These individuals are tasked with organising and categorising knowledge resources within the organisation's knowledge base. They ensure that information is easily accessible, logically structured, and tagged appropriately for quick retrieval.
3) Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): SMEs contribute their expertise by creating and sharing in-depth knowledge assets. They play a pivotal role in crafting accurate and comprehensive content that addresses specific areas of expertise. They can review and modify articles.
4) Contributors: Every employee has the potential to be a contributor. If they notice any underlying problem, they can write an article on it and send it for evaluation. They share their insights, experiences, and solutions, enriching the knowledge base with diverse perspectives and practical know-how.
5) Quality Control Analysts: Responsible for maintaining the accuracy and relevance of knowledge assets, Quality Control Analysts perform regular reviews and audits of the knowledge base. They ensure that the information remains up-to-date and reliable.
Assigning these roles help create a better organisation structure that promotes knowledge sharing and better decision-making
ITIL Knowledge Management is a constant process of receiving tacit or implicit knowledge and making it available in the form of explicit knowledge. In simpler words, here are the three different types of knowledge which exist in ITIL Knowledge Management:
Tacit Knowledge is a form of knowledge derived from personal experience or practice. This form of knowledge registers itself in the brain in such a way that it takes effort to communicate it to others.
Based on personal experience and intuition, tacit knowledge is like conversing in another language, which gives it a significant competitive advantage when implementing Knowledge Management systems.
Some key examples of applying Tacit Knowledge are:
1) Recognising when to give a sales pitch to a prospect
2) Understanding the appropriate words to utilise in a copy to engage an audience
3) Matching any deliverable content according to a customer’s needs
Explicit Knowledge is referred to as codified knowledge, which is a type of formal and systematic knowledge. This knowledge can be conveyed to others over long distances and stored in different kinds of media. The simple nature of explicit knowledge makes it easier to store and retrieve information within a Knowledge Management system. Additionally, extra effort is required to keep the explicit knowledge up to date.
Explicit knowledge can be expressed through documents like a marketing report. Documentation utilised for onboarding procedures and user manuals is also a good example of Explicit knowledge. Utilising explicit knowledge can translate to improved agility in the business workflow, helping the organisation progress much faster.
An organisation can document its past solutions to save time while working on new solutions. Documenting past solutions and procedures increase the chances of quality work by employees. They can refer to the documentation to ensure they adhere to the established procedures to achieve the correct outcomes.
Implicit Knowledge is encapsulated within processes and organisational culture. This form of knowledge typically exists in a formal format like an instruction manual or guidelines. However, the knowledge is not explicit on its own. Rather, it helps generate value, allowing innovation and making it smoother to achieve goals.
The regular exchange of implicit knowledge from experienced team members can help juniors grow in their job roles and prepare them for more responsibilities in the future. This replaces the effort of hiring a new member with promoting a qualified existing member. Project Managers can help their team achieve their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) without micromanaging them. Managers will realise that their engaged employees will be easy to retain within the company since they are already motivated to hit their KPIs.
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ITIL Knowledge Management contains some key processes which include standards and guidelines for IT management, such as:
ITILv2 was released in 2000 as a new framework to incorporate Microsoft’s adoption of ITIL as a foundation. As a result, the ITIL framework was converted into the Microsoft Operations Framework Foundation (MOFF).
The ITILv2 was produced as a catalogue of 30 volumes segregated into nine categories, and it was titled the most accessible ITSM tool worldwide due to this change. Additionally, the ITIL framework has been made more accessible to the public since the adoption of ITILv2. Although ITILv2 supersedes the first version, it has maintained the foundational principles explained in the ITIL framework.
Some key changes to the version include:
1) Senior Managers can play a more centralised role with a new governance and management board membership.
2) Integration of a new service management tool for monitoring and reporting purposes on service levels.
3) Increasing customer satisfaction and retention rates by enhancing focus on internal service delivery improvements.
4) Adapting to emerging trends in the market by focusing on flexible working arrangements.
These changes led to the conferment of the ITILv2 framework as the gold standard in the service management industry. It is also recommended that organisations adopt the ITILv2 framework at a continual pace, as some parts work at their best when applied independently.
The ITILv3 was released in 2007 to ease the usage of ITIL. This version emphasised the integration of IT business around the service life cycle structure concept. The ITIL 2007 was revised and released again in the ITIL 2011 revision. The inconsistencies and errors in ITILv3 were resolved in 2011 by condensing 26 new processes and functions into five volumes.
The ITILv3 is an evolved version of the ITILv2 framework. Service management is a concept common to both these versions of ITIL, although ITIL version 3 introduces process improvement, change management and service delivery. Read more to learn more about ITIL change management and service delivery with respect to ITILv2 and ITILv3 versions
There are a few key differences between both the ITILv2 and ITILv3 versions regarding the terminology, delivery and structure model, such as:
1) The main goal of the ITIL version 3 framework was to cover all the major sub-domains of IT Service Management (ITSM), by producing a more comprehensive framework.
2) The revised framework considered the experience acquired from the previous versions of ITIL. It then extended the IT service management scope to incorporate process improvement, change management and service delivery.
The new ITILv3 framework describes new processes and version upgrades of current processes within these areas. The framework also offers guidance on implementing the different aspects of service management, like handling change requests and incidents.
Furthermore, the ITIL framework establishes important principles to manage IT services effectively and gives the best practices organisations can adopt to improve their services.
Released in 2019, the fourth version of ITIL is the most popular. Apart from offering practical guidance to learners on using ITIL, the latest version emphasises IT environments with a collaborative mindset. Companies have found it easier to integrate and align the ITIL version 4 while practising Agile, DevOps and Lean methodologies. The fourth version’s inclusivity for modern digital environments made the alignment possible.
The ITIL version 4 is designed to help organisations improve their service delivery by utilising the latest version’s best practice framework. ITIL version 4 contains four integral processes: Service Design, Change, Delivery, Analytics and Maintenance. The framework aims at helping IT organisations manage the delivery of their business value to customers.
Furthermore, the ITILv4 also includes many new best practices that organisations can utilise to improve their overall quality of service and work efficiency.
The fifth version of the ITIL framework has a new phase called the ‘Service Transition’, which integrates legacy support into its new delivery infrastructure. The new ITIL version also brings a fresh approach called ‘Problem Evolution’ to its Project Management methodology. The new approach is intended to guide organisations through various stages of resolving a problem.
Additionally, the latest ITIL framework is designed as a practical guidance tool for an organisation to adapt to its business needs. The ITIL tool can help an organisation recognise discrepancies in its existing processes, perform automation of repetitive tasks and streamline the management team’s workload.
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The framework of Knowledge Management encompasses four key aspects which help an organisation to operate well. These key aspects are as follows:
Knowledge is considered a meaningful element that can be saved for future usage. Organisations can preserve any information or knowledge that can contribute to their performance. The preservation goes into their corporate memory, including product expertise, customer reviews, marketing strategies, strategic objectives, etc.
Organisations can leverage their technical infrastructures, like modern hardware and human processes, to identify valuable knowledge. The identified knowledge can then be codified and indexed for future retrieval. This approach encourages the procedure of documentation, which can be stored in a repository for future access, saving time as a result.
Knowledge is considered a meaningful element that can be saved for future usage. Organisations can preserve any pieces of information or knowledge that can contribute to their performance. The preservation goes into their corporate memory, which includes the product expertise, customer reviews, marketing strategies, strategic objectives and so on.
An organisation can leverage their technical infrastructures like modern hardware and human processes to identify valuable knowledge. The identified knowledge can then be codified and indexed for future retrieval. This approach encourages the procedure of documentation, which can be stored in a repository for future access, saving time as a result.
The exchange of knowledge is one of the crucial stages of Knowledge Management. It is the stage which occurs between the collection of information and the utilisation of the information. The exchange of knowledge starts with transmitting knowledge effectively so that the receiver can comprehend it easily and act on it. Then, the provision of knowledge is prioritised over any suggestions based on that knowledge.
Finally, knowledge can be exchanged between individuals and departments, groups and even organisations. This exchange is intended to pan out their skills, knowledge and expertise. The knowledge exchange enhances learning and allows individuals to be more discerning of environmental changes while minimising expenses.
This stage of Knowledge Management involves the real-world utilisation of knowledge to change the direction of the organisation’s business strategy. It also helps the organisation embrace new challenges and improve its efficiency.
Organisations can utilise information or knowledge and incorporate learning into their workplace mindset. The information that has been available across all the departments of the organisation can be generalised. The generalised knowledge can then be used in small chunks or portions for new situations. The system of expert and rookie, where a technical support worker is assisted while handling support calls at Microsoft’s help desk, is a good example of simultaneous knowledge exchange.
The organisation should ideally be able to utilise its knowledge effectively and demonstrate its capability to adapt to environmental changes. Its capacity to rapidly adapt will prove its competency in the market. An organisation can benefit from the enhanced quality in their innovation capability and achieve market competence.
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IT organisations must constantly keep up with the broad range of evolving technologies in the market. They also need to carry out procedures to support their customers effectively. Their efficiency and adaptability make Knowledge Management an essential concept to incorporate.
1) An organisation’s effectiveness in Knowledge Management will drive its momentum to harness the information from individuals across the organisation. The information harnessed can then be easily shared or exchanged. These measures ensure that employee information is kept secure and safe in the organisation’s database.
2) From a broad perspective, Knowledge Management enables an organisation to generate more value, encouraging an innovative mindset and achieving their business goals. An organisation can generate value by ensuring the right people receive the right information at the right time.
3) They can also encourage innovation by inspiring their team to brainstorm and collaborate for bigger ideas. Finally, they can help their teams to achieve the targets they set.
4) Regardless of the organisation’s size, the framework of Knowledge Management makes content easily accessible to those who contribute to developing and providing business services.
5) The super-fast accessibility of knowledge is a significant benefit, although it has its own challenges. It improves connectivity between internal and external employees and facilitates management effectively in business settings.
According to the above-mentioned technical report by HDI, organisations observed a decrease in their ticket volume in 2016. Knowledge-driven self-help and the organisation’s knowledge base were the highest contributors to ticket decrease. Knowledge Management was observed to be the third of the 26 most important factors in increasing customer satisfaction.
ITIL Knowledge Management allows for the sharing of employee expertise across any industry. The sharing or exchange of expertise spans across a company's IT, service, HR and legal departments. Employees can utilise their organisation’s knowledge base to tackle issues and be better prepared with a strategy for future ones.
Furthermore, an organisation’s knowledge base can also contain data curated from various sources, which can help employees troubleshoot their business concerns. Although ITIL Knowledge Management can be complex and tedious, it is rewarding in the long term.
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