By Dick Stark
Last Thursday I hosted a joint webinar with RightAnswers. The topic: “Knowledge is Power, IT Knowledge Management for your BMC Service Desk.” Surprisingly, Knowledge Management (KM) gets less than expected mindshare with most of the service desks that we support. This is undoubtedly due to the popularity of Google, other search engines, social media, and crowdsourcing, such as the friend who knows the answer. Why implement a KM system if Google has all the answers?
Several months ago we implemented a KM software add-on for a Remedy customer. After we finished, the customer remarked that the final outcome was not significantly different from Google. So, I asked the RightAnswers team to comment on how their system differed from Google. (The aforementioned KM system, by the way was not RightAnswers.) Here is what I gathered.
KM software and knowledge packs have been around for years and should be a critical success factor for all service desks. Most organizations have a raft of company specific information, not available on Google, which needs to be readily accessible to users with a need for that information. The return on a KM process and software investment pays dividends in terms of improved problem and incident resolution especially when offered to all users. Unfortunately, some KM projects fail because of poor user adoption making the data quickly outdated.
Nearly all service desks have implemented some sort of self-service portal in varying degrees of sophistication ranging from on-line ticket entry to knowledge bases to service requests to service catalogs (fix it, order it, or learn it). According to last Thursday’s webinar survey, 70% of service desks have self-service, but surprisingly 65% do not utilize any KM tools or processes.
Most commercial based service desk software is evolving such that the service request module, and not the agent screen is the centerpiece of the application. Software such as BMC’s Remedyforce even comes with a built in chat feature to allow for a rapid-fire response to any type of query. Also coming is integration to social networks. It’s a self-service world and the good news is that self-service knowledge management reduces the number and duration of calls, which allow service desks to do more with less.
Often overlooked, Problem Management must be a keystone habit of all service desks as the potential impact, especially when linked to incident, change and knowledge management is enormous. Identify, rank and make sure he problem and the resolution are readily accessible.
One thing is certain: IT is becoming more and not less complex so continuous service desk process and technology improvement will return significant value to the organization. The result: reduced costs, increased agent and employee productivity, and overall, improved customer satisfaction. If service desks can’t or don’t evolve to compete with Google or other crowdsourcing technologies, then then service desks will change significantly over the next several years.