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(editorial note: This blog post first appeared on my personal blog, Kellypuffs, but it is relevant for this audience as well, with a few minor tweaks. So here you are!
I love this poster. There is a high-res PDF version available if you click through, and I recommend it. Lots of wisdom here. It particularly resonates with me as it pertains to knowledge.
Kids, remember back when….
If you are “of a certain age”, you know what I’m talking about, and we are probably the last generation that will.
If you aren’t, you have no freaking CLUE what I’m talking about because you are a Child of t’Internets and you are free to know and grow. (cue hippy music). The internet, if you are lucky enough to have access to it and a way to view it, provides 24/7 access to an unfathomable amount of knowledge, anytime, anywhere.
Let that sink in, people. Anytime. Anywhere.
Better yet, t’internets has led to the democratization of knowledge …. one person, one voice. Or rather, many more voices, many more people contributing to our collective knowledge.
Need the original schematic/wiring diagram for a 1940s desk phone? It’s out there. Need to know why your bilateral destabilizer keeps shutting down? Someone else has probably experienced it and shared on a forum.
And here’s where I start getting all hippy-dippy, waving daisies, love and sunshine, because to me, this is just the coolest thing EVER. Ever. You can’t put this genie back in the bottle. Knowledge is no longer in the hands of a privileged few to be doled out to the worthy. Knowledge is being openly shared and recorded, so that others may benefit.
Maybe THIS is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?
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He ain't got no distractions
Can't hear those buzzers and bells
Don't see lights a-flashin'
Plays by sense of smell
Ah, the life of a knowledge worker. Particularly a knowledge worker in the proactive support space.
If you are a Technical Support Engineer handling support cases on the phone and on the web, you know exactly if you were able to help a client with their issue. We have no shortage of data letting us know how long that case was open, how long it took to resolve, and your satisfaction level with that case.
Measurements, metrics and transactional ROI …. we've got it down to a science.
For those of us playing in the proactive knowledge-sharing space, however, ROI is almost a dirty word.
do you measure something that doesn't happen?
is to make you successful without having to call in a support case.
Providing you the information you need, when you need it. We target
our activity using all data available to us … support call data,
web accesses of content, etc., but we really have no idea if we are
hitting the mark ….
until and unless YOU tell us!
view a piece of content, please rate that content and let us know if
it was useful for you. You can leave feedback on tech notes, IBM Education Assistant Modules, you name it.
look at that, every single month, and drive improvements in our
programs based on that input as well as internal data we are able to
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I love this old poster I found on Flickr's Creative Commons pool, courtesy of the Boston Public Library.
According to the notes on the image:
The American Library Association produced this poster as a part of its "Books for Sammies" campaign to send books to soldiers. In WW I, the English called American soldiers "Yanks" or "Sammies" for Uncle Sam. Thousands of these posters were displayed in libraries and expanded the libraries' visibility and their role as community centers by participating in wartime initiatives.Library books are free, and so is our technical support content.
Remember ... (shared) knowledge is power!
hat? What do you mean?
"Just in time, not "just in case" is a great catch-phrase that captures our knowledge management practices here in Rational Client Support. And we thought you might be interested in learning a little more about that.
We believe that knowledge base content (in a support context) is different and should be managed differently from other types of technical content, like documentation, white papers, or manuals. Technical Support content is dynamic and needs to be created, managed and delivered for "just in time" accuracy and freshness. A piece of support content is most valuable within the first 30 days of the problem being discovered. Unfortunately, many organizations take 60-90 days to document and release new solutions, which you can see from this graph is ... sub-optimal.
The Acme Co has started fielding support calls about the new bilateral destabilizer functionality, released last week. Sadly, a use case has emerged: if you plan on deploying the bilateral destabilizer underwater (like anyone would EVER do that), you need to make some adjustments in the motor housing.
Acme believes that getting this information out to their clients quickly is far more impactful than investing in a lengthy writing, editorial and review process while clients continue to struggle without this valuable knowledge nugget. Acme certainly doesn't want to continue to field calls about known issues. They want to get the knowledge as close to the clients as soon as possible, so their support engineers can be helping clients with new issues.
We believe the same is true for our business, and client surveys bear this out.
We want to fill knowledge gaps (yours and ours) as quickly as possible. We value accuracy and speed over presentation and format.
That is why we focus on "just in time", not "just in case". Content is created in the context of the issues a client is facing this minute - in the context of a PMR. We're not building an encyclopedia, we are providing solutions. And we create those solutions at the time they are being demanded. We recognize that knowledge is more accurately captured at the moment of using it, not in attempting to recollect it accurately later, which is why we ask our support engineers to capture their knowledge use in the PMR workflow. Capturing knowledge for reuse is not something we do afterwards, if we get a spare minute. It is an integral part of the core business.
Everyone in Rational Client Support is a knowledge worker. And you win.