By Dick Stark
On Thursday, RightStar and RightAnswers hosted a webinar, Search Engines vs. Knowledge Management, the Case for KM. To some extent, RightAnswers competes with Google both from a user and support agent perspective. Really, who hasn’t used Google to solve a problem or find an answer?
The webinar winner? RightAnswers, because they offer a knowledge management process that search engines, like Google can’t compete with. According to Gartner, “Knowledge management is a business process that formalizes the management and use of an enterprise’s intellectual assets. KM promotes a collaborative and integrative approach to the creation, capture, organization, access and use of information assets, including the tacit, uncaptured knowledge of people.” Here are several examples that RightAnswers discussed during the webinar:
- Google does very well when searching for general information, but more specific Google requests do not often yield good results. For example, a search for “Ohio State University,” yields lots of information. A Search for “Ohio State basketball team,” still gets good information. But, a search for “where are the majority of shots taken from?” gets little to no results. A RightAnswers KM search for a specific solution that is already shared and documented, yields the most accurate and fastest results.
- Most answers found on the internet are generic. KM is more efficient and ideal for information that is not easily found on Google. This could include organization-specific information not found on the web. And users can search for solutions that resolve related incidents and link those solutions to ITSM service desk software.
- Knowledge should be managed. Through a KM system, solutions can be tracked for continuous improvement, needs can be assessed and addressed, and usage can be measured and corrective actions taken.
- Knowledge should be standardized. Accuracy of a Google answer cannot be easily verified. Do you believe everything you pull off the web? With a KM system, users get answers from a “sanctioned” source.
In reality, users will search anywhere. End users are not concerned with source or company standards. They just want results quickly. Likewise, support agents also browse online and create knowledge articles based on web results. Fortunately, Google and RightAnswers can co-exist and service desks should promote the value of KM and search engine integration.
As long as users choose internet search engines, the service desk won’t be aware of certain issues, and will not create solutions. Lack of shared solutions, means that problem management (and continuous improvement) won’t always happen. Additionally, this makes it more challenging to maintain SLA’s leading to missed expectations.
One thing is certain: IT is becoming more and not less complex so continuous service desk process and technology improvements will return tremendous value to the organization. An effective KM process that relies on both Google and a KM tool such as RightAnswers is an effective way to reduce costs and increase agent and employee productivity.