The Provance Blog

The Provance Blog will provide you with expert advice, insights and opinions in regard to IT Service Management, Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft System Center.  

How Provance ITSM Greases the Wheels of Your Knowledge Management Program

 

The benefits of a great knowledge management process far outweighs the time to set one up. In fact, without a great knowledge management process in place, all that time you used to set up a self-service portal could go to waste. Poor knowledge management often results in more tickets, more phone calls, and longer time to ticket resolution. When knowledge management is done right, you’ll deflect tickets, leaving users satisfied while also saving time and money. So here are four big ways in which Provance ITSM can help you excel at knowledge management. 

1. Keep all knowledge within a single platform. Provance ITSM along with Dynamics 365 provides a central repository for organizations to gather, analyze, share and create knowledgebase articles. It provides a self-service portal that allows end-users to easily search the database of knowledgebase articles and provides the ability for end-users to answer questions. The service desk can also communicate generally via notifications (as the screenshot below shows) about known-issues, which can also include a link to a knowledgebase article. 

When they come to the self-service portal, the vast majority of people will use the search function to find a resolution to an issue or to figure out how to do something. But, sometimes, people want to browse, in which case, Provance ITSM shows you the most popular articles (so people can easily see commonly referred to articles about things like changing your password) as well as categories of knowledgebase articles (which you would create the different types of categories and sub-categories).

Before you start setting up or reviewing your knowledgebase, you should give a lot of thought to how you want to categorize articles as well as how you want to present the articles to the end-user because each article allows for links to other relevant articles and every search query could potentially return several relevant articles so if one isn’t what the end-user is looking for, he or she can easily search through others (see screenshot below).

Ideally, you’ll also want a knowledgebase that grows organically, through people posting questions with answers supplied by the Service Desk or end-users (checked by the Service Desk). Replies to questions can include additional files and end-users can subscribe to certain threads (see screenshot below).

 

Having all knowledge, whether supplied by the Service Desk or by your end-users all in one place, helps you keep control and ensure your knowledge management process is helping rather than hurting you.

2. Support a positive agent experience. Provance ITSM leverages the knowledge management component of Dynamics 365 to provide an out-of-the-box customizable streamlined workflow for creating and maintaining knowledge within your organization. When creating content, there is a rich content editor that lets you apply different styles, fonts and colors, or embed HTML, images and video. If you would like to embed iframes or perform more complex HTML additionals, you can switch to HTML and add your code to create unique content. With Provance ITSM, you can easily author, edit, search, publish, and translate articles. See screenshot below to see what the UI looks like to create the knowledgebase.

As you can see from this screenshot, we have 10 published articles that you can see on the left-hand side. From here, you could do a deeper dive and see the analytics or you can continue to expand on the content of the knowledgebase. In the screenshot below, for example, I clicked on the knowledgebase article Excel not responding, hangs, freezes or stops working, to update the content, and as you can see, here is where I also put the title, keywords and associate the category.

Within this screen is also where you mark that it’s an internal or public article, and by default, it will publish publicly to the self-service portal. Of course, articles can’t be published until they’ve gotten the necessary approvals and the individual has the right to publish. And you can preview the content and how it will be presented on a desktop, table or mobile device before publishing. You can also mark articles to be published in the future so knowledgebase articles are ready for new services the day you deploy.

Supporting a positive agent experience by allowing the efficient and effective publishing of quality knowledgebase articles will save you time and money in the long run.

3. Implement a review process that ensures only the best gets published. Making sure content is correct and approved is pivotal in knowledge management. If articles mislead or are incorrect, it can cause great confusion and increase the time it takes to resolve issues either by the Service Desk or by the end-user, as well as increase the number of tickets or ticket escalations. Having inaccurate or confusing articles defeats the purpose of developing knowledgebase articles in the first place.

In Provance ITSM, you can define the users (via role-based permissions) that can approve an article. Ideally, you should have at least three sets of eyes on every article: the creator, the approver and the publisher.

In the screenshot below, you can see our Service Desk Manager, Alan Turning, has the ability to approve, and, consequently, has access to his own Approvals Hub, where all the items he approved, rejected and pending are listed. Alan can also get notifications to approve and can approve directly from his mobile device. All approvals are tracked through Provance ITSM and within the self-service portal.

 

Having an approval management process in place ensures that only the best work gets published, articles that are both useful and instructive, thereby reducing your team’s workload instead of increasing it.

4. Empower customers with relevant and functional content, and ensure outdated knowledgebase articles are removed. As part of your knowledge management process, you should always make sure your articles are current, relevant and usable. Provance ITSM lets you set expiry dates, which gives you a systematic check to make sure that there’s no old, or out-of-date and misleading articles appearing based on a user’s search query. Obviously, this type of material can end in frustration for the end-user, creating angry tickets to you. Our recommendation is to set articles to expire, forcing your team to review on a timely basis to see if an article is still accurate. Below is a screenshot of an article being set to expire:

Provance ITSM also allows you to enable ratings and comments so the end-user has a means of providing feedback on how helpful the article was. This gives you a chance to continuously update or rework articles as needed.

And finally, view counts are very helpful to know how popular an article is and view counts are given for every article within the analytics.

To see the Provance ITSM self-service portal and knowledge management process in action, watch our webinar here.



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