Preserving wisdom: Why knowledge management is worth its weight in gold

  • January 18, 2024
1390616 ServiceNow KM blog images V1_420x250 v1.jpg

Changing workplace dynamics continue to affect digital transformation efforts for many organizations across the globe. But one thing that hasn’t changed pace is the need to improve technology support, boost customer experiences and develop employees' skills.

In our 2023 ServiceNow Insight and Vision Report, 55% of ServiceNow platform owners and executives believe improving IT operations is more important now than before, and improving technology support ranked number three as the most critical digital transformation focus for 2024.

A key component in delivering stellar customer support relies heavily on the team's operational knowledge and technical acumen. These are often held in the heads of highly skilled subject matter experts (SMEs).

However, oftentimes, when those SMEs leave the organization, that turnover leaves a serious gap in the capabilities of the company to maintain business continuity.

Why capturing knowledge is important

A 2023 report on employee engagement shows that 38% of employees are self-reporting feelings of burnout and are less likely to be effective — and it’s thanks in large part to inefficient work processes (Qualtrics).

As employees leave, their work gets shifted to their coworkers during the months-long hiring process to fill the role and training to fulfill the responsibilities. That downtime has a direct impact on productivity and profitability.

The most significant impact of all is lost knowledge. The difference between being skilled in an industry and knowing the specifics of how a company’s product is built, the company’s support operations and what pitfalls to avoid during implementation.

Here are three key areas where knowledge capture will save your bottom line:

1. Legacy knowledge
Some ideas sound fantastic in a SCRUM meeting. But sometimes, the sprint doesn’t go as planned, and your team finds itself backtracking to uncover what went wrong, and how. The legacy knowledge of the people who have been with the system for years is a veritable wealth of tips on what to do, what not to do and when not to do it.

The challenge with gathering legacy knowledge is in assuring the quality of the stored articles and reports. That’s why ServiceNow provides a Content Evolution Dashboard. The dashboard can calculate a Knowledge Base (KB) score to show engagement.

The Content Evolution Dashboard also shows the number of internal users, which internal users attach and view articles and how many customers engage with that content. The KB score then allows you to flag the least-used articles for review and the most-used articles for curation. You can also generate reports by subject matter expert groups, geographic region, location and manager.

2. Centralized hub
The biggest mistake we see is when an organization believes they are gathering that information for the next generation. Still, it’s so chaotic and disorganized that people can’t get to it when they need it, and new individuals don’t even know that it exists at all.

Rather than having documents spread across SharePoint, Dropbox, and so on, you must bring that legacy knowledge to a centralized Knowledge Base if it'll benefit those who need it most.

This ServiceNow case study shows that after implementing Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS®), the organization saw an 87% increase in the attach rate of Knowledge Base articles to cases by technical support engineers. They found that more than 10,000 new KB articles were created in the past year, and the organization could see that cases with attached Knowledge Base articles had a 66% faster resolution.

3. Reduced training
As new hires are onboarded, getting them up to speed faster and more efficiently means relying heavily on internal training, knowledge management and detailed documentation captured from SMEs with a higher degree of experience.

This feels like a “give a man a fish / teach a man to fish” moment. The less your new hires have to depend on a training module to give them the information they need, the faster they'll be successful. Questions will always come up. By centralizing your knowledge base, your new hires can find answers to questions your employees already put in expensive time to provide. If you don't have a knowledge base, then you’re paying twice for those problems to be solved repeatedly.

In the case study before implementing ServiceNow KCS®, technical service engineers performed redundant work: More than 60% of the cases worked on had already been solved, but the solutions were poorly categorized and marked.

ServiceNow Knowledge Management

Many “good ideas” stayed in the ideation phase this year because the implementation process was vague or cumbersome. Your Knowledge Base initiative doesn't have to die on the vine — KCS best practices give you the tools and the platform necessary to make your move.

As your valuable employees move upward or move on, you need to capture the skills and knowledge that you invested in. The ServiceNow Knowledge Center Service supports processes for creating, categorizing, reviewing and approving articles so users can search and browse articles as well as provide feedback.

KCS coaches play a major role in the overall process of adoption. Each coach is assigned up to five technical support engineers from their team for two to three months to train the best Knowledge Base contributors.

The coaches track content created by KCS candidates and use the Article Quality Index (AQI) feature to screen out low-quality assets. They also use the system to track the high-performing contributors to make sure they meet the content standards and follow the KCS workflow. After they reach Contributor status, they can publish immediately without additional approvals.

To support multiple groups, knowledge bases can be assigned to individual managers. Separate workflows can be used for publishing and retiring articles, and separate access controls can be used to control reading and contributing.

Even a rudimentary description of our implementation process can plainly show you why so few organizations have deployed a knowledge management system: While it sounds fantastic, it’s anything but easy. ServiceNow provides the support to get you there.

ServiceNow gives you a platform to build your knowledge base so you can proactively ensure employees are set up for success when turnover happens.

Check out how we helped Novavax boost efficiency and productivity with ServiceNow through a 200% increase in knowledge management articles.

Subscribe to our blog

Tanushree Panigrahy

With more than 15 years under her belt, Tanushree has delivered sustainable and monumental transformations across an array of Fortune 500 titans, particularly making a mark in the manufacturing sector. Her knowledge canvasses various domains, from enterprise software and media to healthcare, tech, ecommerce and the intricate workings of modern manufacturing processes. An insatiable learner, her prowess isn't restricted to ServiceNow. Beyond this, she has been at the helm of large-scale transformations, turning vision into actionable strategy.


Related Blog Posts