A knowledge base is a centralised repository of information that is organised and structured in a way that makes it easy to find and access. It can be used to store and manage a wide range of information, including documentation, best practices, procedures, and other knowledge assets.
A knowledge base is typically created to support a specific purpose, such as providing customer support, facilitating employee training, or documenting internal processes. It can be accessed by a variety of stakeholders, including employees, customers, partners, and other users.
In addition to storing information, a knowledge base may also include features such as search capabilities, user feedback mechanisms, and analytics tools to help users find and use the information they need. Overall, a knowledge base is a valuable tool for organisations that want to manage and share information more effectively, improve productivity and efficiency, and provide better support and services to their stakeholders.
A good knowledge base serves as a single source of information and can empower your customers to help themselves. This will free up time for your support staff and has the added benefits of:
Investing the necessary time to implement a knowledge base provides substantial benefits both internally and externally.
Building a knowledge base requires careful planning, organisation, and ongoing maintenance to ensure that it remains a valuable resource for users.
Here are some suggested steps required to build a knowledge base:
The first step in building a knowledge base is to determine the purpose and scope of the project. You will need to identify:
Once you have defined the purpose and scope of the knowledge base, the next step is to identify the specific information to be included.
The types of information that can be placed in an ITSM knowledge base can include:
Identifying the right topics for inclusion may involve reviewing existing documentation, conducting interviews with subject matter experts, or gathering user feedback.
The easiest way to get started is to look for the most commonly occurring issues - the “low hanging fruit” - that represents on average about 80% of your total tickets logged to support.
Compose articles that will support this 80% first. By following the 80/20 rule, you can realise instant benefits whilst you refine and prepare more knowledge articles to bolster your knowledge base.
This might entail creating a hierarchy of topics and subtopics, using tags or keywords to categorise information, or developing a search function that allows users to find information quickly.
This includes assigning ownership of specific topics or sections to individuals or teams, establishing a process for reviewing and updating information on a regular basis, and incorporating user feedback to identify areas for improvement.
Choose a software solution that fits the needs of your organisation and the goals of the project.
Create your knowledge layout templates, configure your access permissions with role-based security based on your defined user roles and groups.
You will need to create new content, import existing content, or migrate content from another platform.
It's essential to have a knowledge repository with trusted, high-quality content. Ensuring documentation is unbiased and logically structured will be vital for both analysts and customers to be able to comprehend and use the knowledge.
Ensuring the accuracy and relevance of the knowledge base through regular quality checks is crucial. After all, if the knowledge base isn't kept up-to-date, your customers will be unable to find the answers they require.
Additionally, soliciting feedback from users to identify areas for improvement is best practice.
Finally, promote the knowledge base to your target audience to ensure that it is widely adopted and used. This may involve creating user guides, providing training and support, or incorporating the knowledge base into other systems or platforms to increase visibility and accessibility.
Your knowledge base should:
By following these best practices, organisations can build a knowledge base that is effective, efficient, and user-friendly. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction, increased productivity, and better decision-making across the organization.
It is often the case that in the beginning, there is a great deal of enthusiasm around setting up a knowledge base as excitement over the benefits builds.
However, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain a repository due to the sheer size of information or the lack of time that employees have available and the enthusiasm begins to wane. Here are some tips and tricks on how to maintain your knowledge base and keep it up-to-date.
For best practice tips on how to write effective knowledge base articles, please see Part 2 of the Knowledge Management series.