So, you’ve got a knowledge base in place. By now you’re probably enjoying being able to refer to it whenever you’re stuck on an issue or when someone in your organization needs help with a problem that they can solve on their own. It’s a great thing to have that will only make your business stronger — if you know how to properly utilize it.
Yes, you can utilize knowledge! As we’ve discussed before, it doesn’t matter if you have all the knowledge in the world if you don’t do anything with it. Encyclopedias aren’t just made to look pretty on a shelf (or to serve as a Wikipedia page, don’t act like you didn’t use it on college essays), their purpose is to be used to inform future decisions and help people draw conclusions that will make the world a better place.
Okay, so that’s a little grandiose. But you get my point. One of the best ways to take advantage of all that knowledge is through automation. You can probably guess where we’re going considering our theme this month, but email is not doing your knowledge base any good. Automation gives you the opportunity to streamline requests without a technician needing to be called upon every single time something comes up.
But what do we mean when we talk about automation?
Knowledge Free from Email
We’ve talked a lot about automation in the past, and it’s one of the most powerful ways you can empower your service desk and take your knowledge base to the next level. One of the great things about it is that you can make it as small (a PDF document that fills in data into a system as fields are completed) or as big (automated requests for services from all the departments in the enterprise) as is needed.
In its most basic form, automation links two systems together so that they are self-fulfilling. This means that you don’t have to have a technician monitoring requests that come in through email each day, and it also means that your employees can find the answers themselves. And it’s not just limited to IT; every department has a store of knowledge that’s unique to their processes.
Sharing is Caring
While it’s easy to try and keep your department’s information close to the chest, the reality of the modern enterprise is that everyone needs to work together. Yup, pretty groundbreaking stuff, but it can be easier said than done, particularly if you have multiple offices in multiple locations. But this doesn’t mean that you have to share everything that you know; it just means that you can pick and choose the information that other departments frequently request.
You can make that information readily available so that you don’t get an email each time someone wants to know about PTO policies, expense report submissions, or anything else that’s frequently asked. And if someone can’t find the answer they’re looking for, having an automated communication process built into your knowledge base, such as a suggestion box or some other messaging system. This process can be applied to almost any information that you keep in your knowledge base, and will also allow you to find best practices.
Let’s say that you need a service that requires multiple permissions. Maybe you think you’d benefit from a tablet in your department, or you’d like to be reimbursed for expenses you paid out of pocket during a business trip. Instead of the craziness of emailing back and forth, you can automate permissions based on the process that’s outlined in the knowledge base.
Automation will allow you to send the request in and have it fulfilled without needing to badger your technician to help sort it out for you. If, for example, you’ve forgotten your password again, you can set up a process in which the steps to reset it are sent to you without the intervention of a technician. Empower your users by allowing them to seek the answers themselves instead of waiting around for someone from IT to help.