The purpose of knowledge management is to ensure that the right information is delivered to the appropriate place or person at the right time to enable informed decision. It should improve the quality of management decision making by ensuring reliable and secure information and data is available at all stages of the decision making process.
The objectives on knowledge management include:
Enabling the service provider to be more efficient and improving quality of service, increase satisfaction and reduce cost of service
Ensure staff have a clear and common understanding of the value that their service provide to customers and the way in which benefits are realised from the use of those service
Ensure that at a given time and location, staff have adequate information on:
Who is currently using their services
The current states of consumption
Service delivery constraints
Difficulties faced by the customer in fully realising the benefits expected from the service
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Knowledge management ability to deliver a quality service or process rests largely on the ability of those involved to respond to circumstances. That in turn relies heavily on their understanding of the situation. The options and the consequences and benefits, ie their knowledge of the situation they are or may find them selves in. The knowledge within the Service Transition domain might include:
Identity of stakeholders
Acceptable risk levels and performance expectation
Available resource and timescales
The quality and relevance of the knowledge rests, in turn, on the accessibility, quality and continued relevance of the underpinning data and information available to service staff.
Value to business
Knowledge management is especially significant within service transition since relevant and appropriate knowledge is one of the key service elements being transitioned. Example where successful transition rests on appropriate knowledge management include:
User, service desk support staff and supplier understanding of the new or changed service, including knowledge of errors sighed off before deployment, to facilitate their roles within that service
Awareness of the use of the service and the discontinuation for previous versions
Establishment of their acceptable risk and confidence levels associated with the transition eg measuring, understanding and acting correctly on results of testing and other assurance results
Effective Knowledge Management
Effective knowledge management is a powerful asset for people in all roles across all stages of the service lifecycle. It is an excellent method for individual and teams to share data, information and knowledge about all facets of an IT service. The creation of a single system for knowledge management is recommended to improve consistency and integrity and reduce redundancy. Specific application to service transition domain can be illustrated through considering the following examples.
Blurring of the concept of intellectual property and information when engaged in sourcing and partnering, therefore new approaches to controlling ‘knowledge’ must be addressed and managed during service transition
Knowledge transfer often being a crucial factor in facilitating effective transition of new or changed services and essential to operation readiness
Training of users, support staff, suppliers and other stake holders in new or changed services
Recording of errors, faults, workarounds etc detected and documented during the service transition phase
Capture of implementation and testing information
Re-using previously developed and quality assured testing, training and documentation
Compliance with legislative requirements, eg SOX and conformance to standards such as ISO 9000 and ISO/IEC 20000
Assisting decisions on whether to accept or proceed with items and services by delivering all available relevant information (omitting unnecessary and confusing information) to key decision making
Knowledge management is typically displayed with in the Data-to-Information-to-Knowledge-to-Wisdom (DIKW) structure. Quantitative data from metrics are transformed into qualitative information. By combining information experience, context, interpretation and reflection it becomes knowledge. Ultimately, knowledge can be used to make the right decision which comes down to wisdom. The use of these terms is set out nowâ€¦
Data is a set of discrete facts about events. Most organisations capture significant amounts of data in highly structured databases such as Service Management and Configuration Management tools/systems and databases. They key knowledge management activities around data are the ability to:
Capture accurate data
Analyse, synthesize and ten transform the data into information
Identify relevant data and concentrate resources on its capture
Information comes from providing context to data. Information is typically stored in semi-structure contents such as documents, emails and multimedia.
The key knowledge management activity around information is managing the content in a way that makes t easy to capture, query, find, re-use and learn from experiences so that mistakes are not repeated and work is not duplicated.
Knowledge is composed of the tacit experience, ideas, insights, values and judgement of individuals. People gain knowledge both from their own and from their peers’ expertise, as well as from the analysis of information, from data. Through the synthesis of these elements, knowledge is created.
Knowledge is dynamic and context based. Knowledge puts information into an ‘ease of use’ form, which can facilitate decision making. In service transition this knowledge is not solely based on the transition process but is gathered from experience of previous transitions, awareness of recent and anticipated changes and other areas that experienced staff will have been unconsciously collecting for some time.
Wisdom gives the ultimate discernment of the material and having the application and contextual awareness to provide a strong common sense judgement. Wisdom is the only one which IT can not help us with.
Activity: The flow from Data to Wisdom
Who, what, when, where?
The Service Knowledge Management System
Specifically within IT Service Management, Knowledge Management will be focused within the Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS) concerned, as its name implies, with knowledge. Underpinning this knowledge will be a considerable quantity of data, which will be held in a central logical repository or Configuration Management Systems (CMS) and Configuration Management Database (CMDB). The CMDB feeds the CMS and the CMS provides input for the SKMS and so supports the decision-making process. However, the SKMS is a broader concept that covers a much wider base of knowledge, for example:
The experience of staff
Records of peripheral matters, eg weather, user numbers and behaviours, organisation’s performance figures
Suppliers’ and partners’ requirements, abilities and expectations
Typical and anticipated user skill levels
Relationships of the CMDB the CMS and the SKMS
This model is a very simplified illustration of the relationship of the three levels, with data being gathered within the CMDB, feeding through the CMS into the SKMS and supporting the informed decision making process.
Configuration Management System
In today’s ever-changing world, service transition will inevitably be dealing with the transfer of services from in-house to outsource provider, from outsource provider back to in-house, or from one outsource provider to another. It is essential that, whichever direction the responsibilities for service provision are going, the transition is well managed and that the new or changing services are delivered to requirements.
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The transfer of knowledge is a challenging task that requires an analysis to determine what the knowledge gap is between the department or person in possession of the knowledge and those in need of the knowledge. Based on outcomes of this analysis, a communication (improvement) plan is formulated to facilitate the knowledge transfer. There are a number of knowledge transfer techniques such as; learning styles, knowledge visualisation, driving behaviour, seminars, advertisements, newsletters and newspapers.
Knowledge Management Strategy
An organisation needs an overall knowledge strategy. If such a strategy is already in place, the service management knowledge strategy also focuses specifically on identifying and documenting relevant knowledge and on the data and information that support this knowledge.
Data and Information Management
Knowledge rests on the management of the information and data that underpins it. To be efficient this process requires an understanding of some key process inputs such as how the data and information will be used:
What knowledge is necessary based on what decisions must be made
What conditions need to be monitored (changing external and internal circumstances, ranging from end-use demand. Legal requirements through to weather forecasts)
What data is available ( what could be captured), as well as rejecting possible data capture as infeasible; this input may trigger justification for expenditure or changes in working practices designed to facilitate the capture of relevant data that would be otherwise not be available.
The cost of capturing and maintaining data and the value that data is likely to bring, bearing in mind the negative impact of data overload on effective knowledge transfer.
Applicable policies, legislation, standards and other requirements
Intellectual property rights and copyright issues.
Successful data and information management will deliver:
Successful data and information management will deliver:
Conformance with legal and other requirements, eg company policy, codes of professional conduct
Define forms of data and information in a fashion that is easily useable by the organisation
Data and information disposed of as required
Data and information to the people who need it when they need it
On completing this topic you should be able to recognise the key terms and be familiar with the main features of knowledge management. To conclude this topic you must complete the online activities which form part of your continuous assessment.
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