How to Start Using a Knowledge Base for the IT Help Desk

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Many people think knowledge management is just software but it is much more than that; knowledge management is a discipline.

Knowledge Management is a discipline that takes a comprehensive, systematic approach to the information assets of an organization by identifying, capturing, collecting, organizing, indexing, storing, integrating, retrieving and sharing them. Such assets include (a) the explicit knowledge such as databases, documents, environmental knowledge, policies, procedures and organizational culture; and (b) the tacit knowledge of its employees, their expertise and their practical work experience. It strives to make the collective knowledge information and experience of the organization available to individual employees for their use and to motivate them to contribute their knowledge to the collective assets.

Create a process change management plan

You will need a process-change management plan because you are asking people to do their jobs differently. The plan specifies how you will gain acceptance of knowledge management within the organization. Let us say you are a service desk manager and you measure your employees by call handling time and number of cases closed. Now you are going to be asking them to use knowledgebase on every call they take, every e-mail they answer, and so you are asking them to change the way they earn their living on a day-to-day basis. You are going to also ask them to share their knowledge through creating knowledge articles. If you do not also make changes to their performance reviews and compensation, then there will be friction because you're asking them to do one thing but you are judging them by another set of rules. As part of the overall plan you need to update job descriptions, feedback sessions and performance reviews to reflect the new workflow. Neglecting to make these changes is likely to create friction.

Where and how to start

We advise that you pick one area that needs real improvement or has limited resources, and then build a robust knowledgebase for that subject matter. A good place to start is to look at past incident history. What are the most common types of incidents? Which incidents take the longest time to resolve? Which ones would be easiest for customers to solve themselves if they had answers that they could understand? Use that experience to learn about implementing knowledge in your organization; do one topic or one product group and learn from there. It is much better to be comprehensive for a narrow topic than fail to get enough depth. Sometimes an enterprise initiative is needed right away, and it can be done successfully, but it is a bigger resource commitment to do a bigger project all at once.


Click to download a White Paper on Knowledge Base ROI

Build vs. Buying-Cloud Based IT Change Management

Here are the Top Ten Reasons You Should Purchase a Cloud Based SaaS Change Management Application vs. Build In-house:

Change management demo:

Reason Ten: The product already exists and you won't have to spend time, money and political capital negotiating with a development executive to liberate already scarce resources.

Reason Nine: The vendor you choose has an understanding of how Change Management works and best practice requirements. Developers don't always have this understanding and explaining it to them can take time, and time is money.

Reason Eight: Almost all commercial Change Management applications can be purchased in modules. You can add and delete modules based upon your business needs and budget.

Reason Seven: Commercial Change Management applications can be easily customized to meet your operation's unique needs. You won't get this capability in an in-house product without a great deal of extra work and time.

Reason Six: The product you purchase will have voluminous documentation that is both technical and end-user oriented. It may even have remote video learning and will certainly have on-site as well as off-site training programs available to train your staff. An in-house product will rarely have such documentation.

Reason Five: The documentation and training will be at least three times better with a purchased product than it will be with an in-house product. You will not have to compete with the internal documentation and training staff that get paid to serve paying customers.

Reason Four: You will have access to patches, updates, user groups, updated documentation, and technical support when the product is released and when you need it.

Reason Three: No matter how good the training, and no matter how great the documentation, sooner or later you will need to call the vendor's technical support. This need usually arises at the worst possible time and inevitably involves a customer. Developers are busy people and you have to ask yourself if the in-house developers will be available when you need them. Most vendors have support open 24/7 and are literally waiting for your call.

Reason Two: Updates. A purchased product is continually updated, debugged and readied for your immediate use. With an in-house product your staff will usually be debugging the update after it is installed. This is not fair to your staff, your customers, or your boss.

Reason One: You can purchase, train on and implement a purchased product in a fraction of the time it takes to design, code, document, train on and implement an in-house product.

A software development project can easily take on a life of its own and by developing an in-house product you are competing with paying customers. Unless you work for one of those unique companies mentioned earlier and unless your IT team can command the resources it needs, when it needs them, the chances are that in-house development will be prohibitively costly, time consuming, frustrating to train on and difficult to implement.

Why Use IT Dashboards for the Help Desk?

See IT help desk & customer service dashboards: 



A dashboard is an extraordinary tool, one that provides a single,

easy-to-understand view of critical business and operational data. But going

far beyond data, a dashboard helps managers focus on the things that matter,

giving them the information they need to effectively monitor their company's

performance - and take action.

Do you know how your organization is performing right now?

Can your managers and employees link their day-to-day work and job

performance to your company's key objectives?

Dashboards make these things possible. And today's advanced

dashboard-building tools make it easy to deliver dashboards across your

enterprise. The benefits are extraordinary:

* Dashboards highlight business metrics that are critical to your

organization's strategy. Improved visibility helps managers focus on key

initiatives. And better insight into business information makes it possible

to make smarter decisions and, ultimately, improve organizational


* Dashboards give you the ability to closely monitor key performance

indicators (KPIs). Critical business data is presented in easy-to-understand

speedometers, dynamic graphs and tables. Stoplights and alerts tell you when

performance is above, on or below target. And because information is

presented against time (instead of a snapshot), trends are more visible.

* Dashboards are the key to performance management. No matter what

performance management methodology your company uses, a dashboard can be

built to support it. Strategy-focused dashboards can be deployed throughout

the organization, improving performance by putting powerful analytic

functionality in the hands of business users.


See IT help desk & customer service dashboards:

Build a Business Case To Purchase a Help Desk-Check Signer Pain

IT Help Desk Cloud Computing– 4 Sources of Check Signer Pain




Giva can help you build a business case to present to your CIO, VP Customer Service or Executive Director/Technology Committee to authorize a purchase of help desk or customer service software. We have some valuable tools to do this; and we have the expertise to help you build a business case that will justify a purchase, if really needed. Sometimes a purchase is not needed. Folks think that they need a new application when what they really need is just some new processes and procedures. Giva can help guide your company in this decision.


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Eliminate Large Recurring Support, Maintenance, Upgrade Fees



> Large Fees are Painful

Check signers are sensitive to large recurring annual support and maintenance fees and upgrade fees that nobody thinks about when buying a product. They also know that after four or five years upgrade fees are required to migrate the company to a new major release. Moreover, an entirely new implementation is usually necessary to accompany an upgrade to a major new release.

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Calculate Total Cost of Ownership of IT Help Desk Software

Four Sources of Check Signer Pain -  SaaS Hosted IT Help Desk & Customer Service Cloud Computing



> Labor Intensiveness is Painful

Check signers do not want to spend money on people to manage and maintain software applications. Instead, they prefer automation, simplicity and easy to use administration for configuration and customization. They are interested in getting their KPIs/metrics without having to train people to use report writers and sending staff away on expensive business trips to "Report Guru" school.

Check signers also know that often project teams overlook the true total cost of ownership of owning software. They know this by just looking at all the money the company spends for consultants to configure, customize and otherwise maintain software applications. Software is often built to be almost infinitely flexible, but it comes with a significant price tag of complexity, requiring custom coding or specialized consulting skills.


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What Do CIOs Think About Every Day?

Four Sources of Check Signer Pain  SaaS IT Help Desk & Customer Service Cloud Computing



> "Who Should I Reward, Warn or Terminate?"

What do check signers secretly think about every night before going to sleep? They want to know who should they reward, warn or terminate. The best and brightest leaders are fair and decent people; and they want to reward, warn and terminate using objective data (i.e. KPIs/metrics). However, they often cannot obtain this information at all; or they cannot obtain it very easily from most call tracking systems.

Check signers want their companies to be well oiled machines with the most exceptional talent. Check signers need to know how to objectively measure performance so that they can understand which employees are the most valuable and the least valuable. Check signers want to know:

> Who is providing the highest levels of customer satisfaction?

> Who is the most responsive to customers?

> Who is consistently meeting or exceeding service level agreements (SLAs)?

> Who is contributing the most highly rated knowledge articles over time?

> Who is resolving the most difficult customer problems?

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CIOs Want KPIs/metrics from Call Tracking System

Four Sources of Check Signer Pain  SaaS IT Help Desk & Customer Service Cloud Computing



Check signers want the following basic KPIs/metrics and trends from any call tracking system:

> Can you measure First Call Resolution (FCR)? If so, what was it for last

month? What does the trend line look like?

> Can you measure customer satisfaction? If so what was your overall rating last month? What does the trend line look like?

> Are you using Service Level Agreements (SLAs)? If so, can you measure SLA compliance? What was your SLA compliance on Severity Level 1 and 2s for last month? What do the trend lines look like?

> Can you perform Root Cause Analysis? If so, what systemic changes have you made in the last 30 days to lower call volume?


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Problem for CIO-Lack of KPIs/Metrics/Reporting


Four Sources of Check Signer Pain  SaaS IT Help Desk & Customer Service Cloud Computing


There are generally four main sources of pain points for check signers:

> Lack of Granular KPIs/Metrics/Reporting

This impacts the ability to increase customer satisfaction and revenue and lower company costs. Check signers are very sensitive to the needs of customers. If your company is a law firm, the check signers are probably very sensitive to the productivity of revenue-producing attorneys who bill their time. If your company sells widgets, then check writers are probably very concerned about whether customers are happy with your company's widgets. If customers are not happy, then they will not buy more widgets. Examples of some basic KPIs/metrics are first contact resolution, customer satisfaction trends, SLA compliance trends and root cause analysis. Most of these KPIs/metrics will help increase customer satisfaction and increase revenue. Root cause analysis will help decrease call volume and lower costs. The lack of these KPIs/metrics is a significant pain point for many check signers.


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Learn About Check Signer Pain Points



Indicate a very strong and genuine interest in learning about check signer pain points. Stop talking about your pain and instead seek to understand and their pain. Check signers will be impressed with this approach. It shows that you have transcended your own department needs, and that you can see the company problems more globally and holistically. Don't be surprised to hear, "Wow, that's a great analytical approach. You mean you're interested in my pain? Schedule a time to meet with me!" Your approach will speak volumes about your strong business sense.

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