Web Support Blog

November 7, 2006

What is happening in knowledge management in my organization?

Filed under: Content Management, Knowledge Management — Chris @ 10:40 pm

I have not been posting too much lately, actually not enough since I started this blog. Besides working on my other blog, I have been preoccupied at work, asking, “what is happening in knowledge management in my organization?” Because my current role is just now expanding into more main stream knowledge management, after being away from it for 18 months (I switched companies and started a team specifically to develop how-to and tutorial movie animations), I have been trying to figure out what is going wrong in our organization.

The truth is, our organization is struggling with the basic concept of web support and knowledge management — an organization that has been “doing it” for over five years. I finally believe that I have discovered why we are struggling: the employees, those who we are expecting to create the majority of the content, they do not understand why they need to create the content and they do not see how it benefits them.

It is a failure in our management practices in helping our subject matter experts to see the value of knowledge sharing; a failure in setting the right measures and expectations for knowledge management; a failure in not making sure the employees have the appropriate training; and most of all, a failure in making it a part of the employees job. Quite frankly, even though we have support at the Executive level, we do not have it at the front-line management level. I heard one person say today that it is hard for his peers to embrace knowledge management when they already have so much to do in their “day job.”

Day job? Why is knowledge management not part of their day job? Knowledge management creates capacity: 1) more customers can find their own answer; and 2) agents can find answers to help customers faster. This should be a part of every agents day job – period.
There is a lesson here for all of us. For knowledge management to work, and therefore the content behind web support, you need the following:

  1. Support through the entire management chain: it must be valued!
  2. Accountability: see#1 — if it is valued, then employees should be held accountable
  3. Training for the knowledge creators
    • How to use the tools
    • How to write
    • How the work contributes to the companies success
  4. Data
    • Where to invest (i.e. content gaps, search tuning)
    • What is working (i.e. success rate, satisfaction rate)
    • What is not working (i.e. unused content, broken links)
  5. Clear escalation path, with follow-through, for system issues

So if your organization is struggling with knowledge management, go talk to a few of the subject matter experts — your support agents. Go find out if knowledge management is part of their day job or not.


1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for this post.

    Your note: “…they do not understand why they need to create the content and they do not see how it benefits them.”

    This sounds exactly like what we’re going through at my work as well. Worse, they (users/project owners) can’t even stop running with scissors in order to really assess their business process and work out the kinks or gaps, but that’s just my opinion. I do suspect that we’re suffering from organization ADT (Attention Deficit Trait).

    They (users and content owners/project stakeholders)often are not supportive of giving the ‘training organization’ what they truly need to develop good content or they work on their own to document content in large and unwieldy desktop manuals that stretch to eternity and are not usable for searching for content from a job-context perspective. In a way I feel that our training organization hasn’t done what it should have to market our services (or even define them and our business process) and demand better partnership with content owners.

    Comment by nkilkenny — November 26, 2006 @ 11:40 am

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