Maybe your company has considered creating a knowledge base but hasn’t got around to it yet. Or perhaps you have knowledge base capability, but you don’t think you’re using it to its full advantage.
“I can’t query the knowledge base, so I guess I’ll have to use my brain. How inconvenient.”
Your knowledge base is there for you and for your end users, and its purpose is to save time and money and help your IT service desk run more smoothly. Building a successful knowledge base that’s easy to use, searchable, well written, and current requires planning and effort, but tools are available within many top ITSM software packages to make construction of a knowledge base easier.
Making your knowledge base as useful as possible begins with determining exactly what kind of knowledge you want it to store. This is different for different organizations, but here are 5 examples of what a knowledge base can store in order to make ITSM, and by extension the whole organization, run better.
1. Known Errors and Known Solutions
This is the bread and butter of the ITSM knowledge base. When your service desk software has automatic knowledge base generation capabilities, populating your knowledge base with known errors and known fixes can happen swiftly. Then, the next time a known error occurs, you can reference the knowledge base rather than developing a solution from scratch. And if your end users have a self-service portal with knowledge base access, they can solve many more problems without even submitting a help ticket.
These can be great for new employees who need to get up to speed on the hardware and software they’ll be using at work. While including tutorials in your knowledge base takes more effort than populating it with known errors and solutions, the extra effort is well worthwhile, because it allows end users to help themselves, and can prevent future help desk tickets. This is a terrific alternative for the organization that doesn’t have the resources for formal training sessions.
3. Information That Can Be Frustrating to Find
Something as simple as locating the serial number on a device can waste a lot of time. But when you in-process new equipment and add it to your IT asset management system, you can also add information like serial number location to the knowledge base so that the next time you need someone to find it, it won’t take forever. You could even use the knowledge base to store information like what type of toner cartridge a particular printer model uses, so that end users can gather all necessary information before reordering.
“Won’t somebody tell me where to store all these question marks?”
4. Who to Call for Non-IT Problems
IT service desks get inquiries all the time for things that may be technical, but that are not IT related. If your IT service desk fields annoying calls about the air conditioning being out in a particular building, or a light fixture needing replacement, your knowledge base can include a section on who to contact for help with non-IT technical problems. This can deflect calls that waste time and frustrate IT service desk workers and end users alike.
5. Useful Information that “Humanizes” the IT Department
While it’s not necessary a part of a knowledge base, a section on useful (and perhaps quirky) information can help put a human face on IT while helping out end users. Do people regularly work late and need a taxi home? You could have the phone number of a reliable taxi service in the knowledge base. Is payroll pulling an all-nighter while switching to a new system? You could have the phone numbers of places that deliver Chinese food or pizza late at night. Forget National Secretary’s week? Have the contact info for a florist that’s dependable on short notice.
While your IT knowledge base is designed to catalog and make accessible solutions to specific IT problems, it can be extended to include other information that’s useful to end users. Any type of knowledge that can be categorized and made searchable can be incorporated into your knowledge base with a little foresight and ingenuity.
Samanage is leading the cloud service desk and asset management software industry. It includes knowledge base capabilities that let you leverage the knowledge you gain over time so that you save time and frustration in the long run. With Samanage knowledge base capability, tagged solutions become fully searchable so that end users can reference them independently. A knowledge base is one of the best long term investments your organization can make in improving the efficiency of your IT service management.
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