Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” As VP of Marketing at ITinvolve, I spend a lot of time talking with IT leaders and practitioners about their challenges and what they are looking for as solutions to those challenges. One of the things I hear consistently is that traditional knowledge management systems aren’t working and they want something better.
When I ask them why they aren’t working, there are a number of reasons given:
- The information is outdated and not trusted
- It’s too much effort to create, review and approve knowledge articles
- The information is incomplete and only focuses on top problems (mostly desktop support related)
- You have to know what you are looking for because they are keyword search-based
- You have to sift through dozens or hundreds of results when no one has the time to do that in the heat of working a complex issue
- They are heavily text-based and lack visuals other than static images
- They are a separate place to remember to go to and people just don’t remember to use them
- We tried to follow KCS (knowledge-centered support) but there’s too much overhead
When I ask what would make things better, I hear things like “a simpler way to add new content”, “better indexing and tagging”, “more Google-like”, and other similar statements that all seem like they want a faster horse. I don’t fault these IT professionals for this. When you are knee-deep in day-to-day IT operations, it’s hard to step far enough away from your day job and come up with truly breakthrough ideas. Innovation is hard work.
However, the good news is that’s exactly what we’ve done at ITinvolve. We’re relegating traditional knowledge management to the era of horses and buggy whips with knowledge collaboration. With knowledge collaboration, you fundamentally shift your focus from “managing knowledge” to using knowledge. Instead of attempting to set aside time to create and review text-heavy knowledge articles, your organization seamlessly enhances your collective knowledge while enabling work.
For example, ITinvolve facilitates the ongoing capture of system-based information (e.g. from CMDBs, auto-discovery tools, SharePoint sites, and more) and combines this with crowd-sourcing and peer review to fill in the gaps and correct inaccuracies so you get a trusted source of knowledge that is always current. And by following knowledge, using familiar social collaboration principles, your teams are always informed of the latest knowledge for the things they are responsible for or care about. There is no need to take time out to “catch up” on the latest knowledge because it’s already been delivered to those who need it.
What’s more, our analysis engine presents actionable knowledge in-context of the issue or decision your teams are working on so they don’t have to go hunting for it with keyword searches and reviewing hundreds of results. The scope of knowledge collaboration is also much broader, richer, and flexible including IT environment configurations and all their dependencies, best practices, lessons learned, policies, past issue history, who’s responsible for specific resources, and more. It’s also highly visual, providing rapid insights and speeding up decision-making.
Knowledge collaboration answers many of the questions that are difficult for IT to answer today:
- Who depends on this?
- Who owns this?
- Where is it located?
- What does it do?
- What supports this?
- What does this support?
- What policies govern this?
- What are the key settings that will break it if changed?
- Has this happened before?
- How did we solve it last time?
- Do I need special privileges or approvals to modify this?
- Who should be involved in this decision?
- And much, much more…
IT doesn’t need a faster horse, but instead requires a new way to solve the problems that traditional knowledge management systems can’t address. Knowledge collaboration is the first such approach to come along in a long time. Check out some of the great videos and whitepapers on our website, and let us know what you think.