Knowledge Management (KM) has taken hold in many organizations. The implementation of KM will depend on how the organization views and leverages its knowledge assets (people, process and technology). Processes such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) are recognizing the value of KM and incorporating its concepts within the ITIL framework. The alignment of ITIL and KM occurs specifically through its Problem Management and Service Management processes. This alignment emerges through ITIL’s latest version, ITIL v3.
Knowledge Management was added in ITIL v3 as a new central process. This one central process is responsible for providing knowledge to all other IT Service Management processes. In ITIL v3, KM becomes a requirement within the processes of Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operations, and Continual Service Improvement. As indicated in the ITIL Wiki, “ITIL Knowledge Management aims to gather, analyze, store and share knowledge and information within an organization. The primary purpose of Knowledge Management in ITIL is to improve efficiency by reducing the need to rediscover knowledge” (ITIL Wiki, 2012).
The Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS) serves as the mechanism to facilitate KM within ITIL. The SKMS, as stated by ITIL, “is the central repository of the data, information, and knowledge that the IT organization needs to manage the lifecycle of its services” (ITIL Wiki, 2012). However there are shortcomings of how KM has been integrated within the ITIL. These shortcomings have contributed to knowledge being defined inconsistently, which includes a lack of defined and measurable metrics. This identifies the fact that ITIL lacks a sufficient Knowledge Management Strategy. For Knowledge Management to work with ITIL v3 it must be integrated with industry recognized Knowledge Management Best Practices.
To mitigate these shortcomings, the primary activity is to provide a Knowledge Management Strategy. The focus of this strategy must be to identify and support the service management needs of the business and associated IT environments currently and one to three years out.
The next step is to create a historical repository of incidents to support the service desk and incident and problem management processes. This knowledge repository will be difficult to develop unless the organization has kept historical records of incidents. However, if no historical information is available, there’s no time like the present to start this process and be sure to include incident/problem resolutions and associated fixes. In addition, integrating KM into Incident, Event, Request, and Access Management as well as Problem, and Release and Deployment Management processes will be essential to establishing a consistent and structured problem solving framework, as well as environment of accountability and responsibility.
In addition to mitigating the shortcomings of ITIL as mentioned earlier, the following activities will contribute greatly to successfully integrate Knowledge Management into your ITIL process:
- Establish a culture of sharing and collaboration within your organization.
- Establish a vision of what Knowledge Management means to your organization.
- Establish how your organization will view and leverages its knowledge assets (people, process and technology).
- Develop and execute a change management process to support your organization through this alignment and to ensure adoption occurs across the enterprise.
For those who are utilizing ITIL and KM I would like to hear from you! Feel free to provide your comments.