Building a world of knowledge – ITIL Knowledge Management

It’s no secret anymore that knowledge is seen as one of the most valuable assets – for individuals, as well as for organizations. There are many frameworks, standards or methodologies used inside organizations… but they rarely take knowledge as officially as ITIL does.

Knowledge Management is a process inside the service transition stage of the service lifecycle, with its purpose being to:

  • share information, ideas and experience
  • make knowledge of the organization available to those who need it, when they need it, in order to support decision making
  • eliminate the need to rediscover the knowledge

The main benefit is that, as time elapses, the organization grows from a knowledge point of view. To prevent knowledge from getting lost, as well as being able to manage services throughout the whole lifecycle, the Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS) is used. SKMS is a set of tools and databases used to manage (i.e. collect, store, update, analyze, present and archive) organizations’ data, information and knowledge.

The form

ITIL uses a simple, yet logical structure to present Knowledge Management: Data-to-Information-to-Knowledge-to-Wisdom (DIKW).

  1. Data – is a set of facts collected during ITSM activities or measurements. An example of data is the time and date when an incident occurred.
  2. Information – it gives context to data (i.e. data endowed with meaning and purpose) so that data become useful for further decision making. An example of information is average time to close priority 1 incidents (which combines data for many incidents such as incident start-time, incident end-time and priority).
  3. Knowledge – organizing, processing and structuring of information using human experience, ideas and judgments. An example of knowledge is the average time to close priority 1 incidents has decreased since ITSM tool implementation.
  4. Wisdom – wisdom uses judgment to make use of knowledge and create value. This is usually done by a human brain. Wisdom takes into consideration data, information and knowledge; e.g. customer satisfaction rose by 10% due to the ITSM tool implementation, back-office personnel training, self-service portal and new service introduced.

Data, information and knowledge are stored in SKMS. SKMS is used in everyday life to manage infrastructure and services, solve incidents and problems or to make strategic decisions.  SKMS contains many different types of data, information and knowledge, such as:

How does it work in the real world?

Well, there are some specific tools for managing knowledge inside the organization. But, there is much more happening in the IT Service Management tool industry. Market leaders as well as many of the smaller vendors include Knowledge Management process support inside their tools. I think that this is good for IT Service Management due to several reasons:

  • Knowledge is preserved – what I experienced quite often is that technicians keep everything local, either on their laptops, in their mail inboxes or in their heads. When a hard disc gets broken, a laptop gets stolen or they leave the company – so does the knowledge. Or, you will recognize the experience – when you need something stored on your computer, it somehow gets “lost.”
  • More optimized resource utilization – knowledge gained during, for example, service transition  or service operation is accessible and the service desk can apply it while solving new incidents or problems. Less time is spent and users are satisfied because they get their issues solved in no time.
  • Users’ self-help – knowledge stored in the database can easily be made available to the users via a user’s portal, intranet, etc. This leads to value created in the “user’s eyes” and a reduction in the number of incidents, i.e. contacts to service desk…which leads to usage of own resources for more demanding tasks, customer satisfaction…which leads to paid bills and new contracts…you get the point.

Power of knowledge

Without knowledge, you are nothing!

It used to be so in times when knowledge was not taken seriously, and it will be even truer in the knowledge era in which we live. If you don’t take your knowledge seriously – the customer will notice, competition will take advantage and your employees will go where knowledge is considered to be a valuable asset. It’s never too late to start your knowledge management process, but you have to start. The sooner you begin, the sooner you will experience the results of living in a knowledgeable world.

You can also download a free sample of our Knowledge Management (KM) Process template to learn more.

Advisera Branimir Valentic
Branimir Valentic
Branimir is an expert in IT service management (consultancy, training and tools), IT governance (training and consulting), project management and consultancy in IT and telecommunication. He holds the following certificates: ITIL Expert, ISO 20000, ISMS Lead Auditor and PRINCE2.