5 Building Blocks for Knowledge Management

By Nagarathna Sai Madhukar , Senior ITSM Consultant, Saros Consulting


Though people tend to relate to IT Service Management (ITSM) with operational processes like incident, problem, change management, ITSM is a vast subject. It encompasses all activities associated with creating, supporting, maintaining and improving an organisation’s IT services. Over the past 2 decades working with multinational businesses on transforming their IT operations, I’ve witnessed how efficient ITSM can not only help you ‘run the business smoothly’ but provide the flexibility to grow your business at the desired speed. But there is one aspect of ITSM that is undervalued and underutilised and that is Knowledge Management.

Organisations globally have acknowledged the value of the ITSM framework to the extent that a recent survey revealed 70% of surveyed organisations have begun applying ITSM principles beyond IT as Enterprise Service Management (ESM). Achieving ITSM, or ESM, efficiency is a moving target and requires continual and iterative effort.  Factors that play a key role in achieving continual improvements include setting KPIs that reflect business value, establishing governance procedures, applying automation, adopting lean thinking, continual training & knowledge management. However, despite the importance and value of knowledge management as a key success factor, it has become one of the most under-utilised and under-valued ITSM tools over the years. With the right building blocks, knowledge management can become a valuable strategic asset and a real driver of innovation within an organisation.


Why Knowledge Management is the Key to Long-Term Value Creation

Knowledge management protects an organisation from knowledge loss, ensuring continuity and sustained success. Providing a platform to share learnings and best practices helps to avoid dangerous assumptions and misperceptions and improves the speed of response to IT delivery, incident response and general support. It prevents the waste of time and resources on ‘reinventing the wheel’ where employees might otherwise invest in efforts that have already been tested and addressed by others. It also fosters new ideas and opportunities, driving a culture of innovation through collaboration.

Knowledge management also improves efficiency in onboarding new members of the IT Service teams, drastically reducing the time needed for them to become fully productive. It safeguards an organisation against loss of knowledge when employees leave, mitigating the risk of losing critical information that is essential to the IT organisation’s success.

Prioritising Knowledge Management can really help any IT leader achieve success in their respective scope area; be it managing networks, infrastructure, application, monitoring, service desk, cloud etc. It is essential to leveraging information as a strategic asset, to enhance efficiency and decision-making. Yet it can only yield benefits if integrated into an organisation’s daily operations effectively.


Capturing & Cultivating Knowledge for IT Service Management: 5 Key Building Blocks

Unfortunately, many companies do not have established systems or processes in place to capture and share knowledge effectively. From my experience, this can be due to a combination of factors: limited awareness of its benefits making it challenging to justify investments; resource constraints and the prioritising of immediate operational needs over long-term benefits; and organisational culture where collaboration is not yet the norm and employees hold on to their own expertise. Of course, there are also technological challenges – whilst there is a plethora of tools available, each with its own set of features and complexities, organisations sometimes struggle to identify a solution that fits their specific needs and integrates well with existing systems.

To achieve successful knowledge management, an organisation requires strong executive buy-in and leadership support. From what I have seen in helping organisations transform their IT, leaders need to champion the cause and demonstrate commitment across 5 fundamental building blocks. Let me walk through each and offer some recommendations on how these can be successfully implemented:


1. Foster a Knowledge-Sharing Culture 

A culture of knowledge sharing is crucial, encouraging open communication and collaboration across all levels of the organisation so that that knowledge flows freely. It involves changing mindsets to view knowledge as a collective asset rather than individual property. Recognise and reward contributions to the knowledge base to motivate employees. Leadership should exemplify knowledge sharing by actively participating in such initiatives.


Implementation Tips:

  • Implement recognition programs for knowledge contributions.
  • Provide training to emphasise the importance and benefits of knowledge sharing.
  • Use internal communication channels to highlight successful knowledge-sharing examples.


2. Utilise Technology Effectively 

The backbone of effective knowledge is the technology supporting it. Invest in systems that align with your strategy and meet organisational needs. Organise your knowledge base with intuitive navigation and robust search functionalities. These platforms should facilitate easy access to information and support collaboration.


Implementation Tips:

  • Choose knowledge management tools with features that match your organisation’s specific needs e.g. collaboration spaces, document management, AI-powered search.
  • Ensure the selected technology integrates seamlessly with existing systems.
  • Provide comprehensive training to ensure all employees can effectively use the tools.


3. Ensure Easy Access and Continuous Updates 

For it to be effective, knowledge must be easily accessible and continuously updated. Regular maintenance ensures that the information remains accurate and relevant. Feedback mechanisms should be in place to identify gaps and improve the system.


Implementation Tips:

  • Establish processes for regular review and updates of the knowledge base.
  • Encourage employees to report outdated information and contribute updates to keep knowledge current.
  • Continuously review new technologies and evolving business needs.


4. Develop Clear Policies and Procedures 

A strong knowledge management framework requires well-defined policies and procedures. These guidelines ensure consistency in how knowledge is captured, shared, and utilised across the organisation. Policies should foster a culture of compliance and standardisation.


Implementation Tips:

  • Ensure policies are aligned with organisational goals and legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Communicate policies clearly to all employees and provide training on their importance and implementation.


5. Performance Metrics & Analysis

Regularly reviewing the performance of the knowledge management system is crucial for its success. This involves using analytics tools to track these metrics provides insights into how well the system is functioning and highlights areas for improvement. Regular performance reviews and reporting ensure that the knowledge management system continues to meet the organisation’s needs, adapts to changes, and delivers ongoing value to IT service management.


Implementation Tips:

  • Establish KPIs such as the usage rate of the knowledge base, the speed of issue resolution, user satisfaction, and the frequency of updates and contributions.
  • Identify key stakeholders, such as IT staff, service managers, and end-users, and involve them in building KPIs.


Many organisations who have already well-established ITSM in their IT organisations reach a point where improvements are needed in one or more of these building blocks. We recently collaborated with a global organisation in the pharmaceutical industry to optimise their use of ServiceNow. After assessing their existing approach, we identified opportunities for improvement in the utilisation of the technology, user training and in their policies and processes for knowledge management. Their obstacles were not in the technology itself but in their approach to using it. We delivered a strategic framework with actionable guidelines tailored to their challenges, ensuring they could effectively manage the platform at every stage and increase adoption.

Not all organisations are the same. At Saros, our ITSM consulting and project management for clients is ever evolving and matched to their exact challenges – but, just like knowledge management, there is a significant benefit from shared learnings across our clients and across industry sectors. Our cross-sectoral expertise continues to deliver real value for our clients across our IT consulting and project management services. Talk to us about how we can help your IT transformation initiatives and achieve IT operational excellence in your organisation.



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