Shared knowledge IS power.
Notes from Rational Support
There are two kinds of knowledge - tacit and explicit.
Tacit knowledge is the knowledge in your head. Knowledge you haven't shared. Explicit knowledge is knowledge written down and shared. Tacit knowledge is good, but explicit knowledge is better, particularly in a technical support context. In Rational Client Support, we've built a robust knowledge management program, based on knowledge-centered support best practices, aimed to equip the organization to capture knowledge effectively for reuse, not only internally, but outside the firewall as well.
The support engineer on the other end of the phone not only brings to bear his/her own expertise on an issue, but also has at hand our knowledge base built on the collective experiences of the organization and clients to date. We solve a problem once, and then reuse the solution, building upon it as experience dictates.
Capturing knowledge is not something we do in addition to solving problems....it is the way we solve problems.
Shared knowledge IS power.
image credit: (cc) KaCey97007
What? 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.
References: Collective Wisdom, David Kay & Francoise Tournaire
Honestly? Probably the best thing about working at IBM is the thousands of "wicked smaht" people we get to work with ... from all over the world, and all over the business.
Aaron Kim is one of those people.
He wrote a great blog post today on the value of sharing knowledge, and you can find it at his blog: The Bamboo Raft.
My favorite part?
"No matter how many people know about anything, there are always more people who don’t know about it."Good reading.
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!
In Rational Client Support, we are always looking for ways to make you more successful using IBM Rational products.
How do we do that?
We monitor trends and topics, both in the support tickets we receive and resolve, and the documents accessed out on the web. We use this data to target specific activities around the areas that matter to YOU.
We've noticed we're getting a lot of questions around the in-session detection feature of IBM Rational AppScan, and so our support engineers have created the first ever IBM Education Assistant module for AppScan:
Basics of AppScan Standard's in-session detection feature.
Check it out! And many thanks to Paul Esteban for his work.