You finally took the plunge. You invested in an IT knowledge base for your team, and you have big dreams for the impact this software will have on the efficiency and productivity of your IT team.
But a knowledge base is only as good as its users and content. If those users aren’t taking full advantage of all the platform has to offer, your ROI might be disappointing. It’s not enough to simply store information in your knowledge base. For IT team members to get the most out of the vast wealth of knowledge living in the brains and inboxes of their co-workers, they need to share it.
Follow these four tips to take your IT knowledge base a step further with knowledge sharing.
1. Standardize Documentation
If your IT team is anything like most, documentation is neglected, no matter how often you drill, “document, document, document” into the heads of your employees. Your team is incredibly busy, and they often feel that documentation should take a backseat to solving the task at hand.
Unfortunately, they are mistaken.
Reliable, consistent documentation is crucial to the success of your current and future IT team. IT works on multiple applications and projects at any given time, and they encounter hiccups along the way. By thoroughly documenting every single step of each process and sharing that documentation within the knowledge base, IT employees ensure that no future team members will waste time trying to overcome the same hiccups.
Sharing documentation in your knowledge base empowers your team to dive headfirst into a problem, immediately understand the work that has been done so far, and why. Additionally, when an employee leaves, their vast knowledge of processes and strategies won’t leave with them. It can be easily transferred to the remaining employees and new hires.
2. Spread The Wealth (Of Knowledge)
IT personnel are an expensive asset. As a result, IT teams tend to be lean, and team members are stretched thin across a number of projects and responsibilities. And even under the best of circumstances, any IT team is only as effective as the resources and tools that are available to them.
If you want to get the most out of your IT team, invest in the proper tools. A knowledge base should not merely assist users in managing knowledge; it should encourage and empower users to share knowledge.
How do you share knowledge online in your everyday life? You post thoughts and information on social media, you ‘like’ information from others, you leave comments, and you ask questions. Your IT knowledge base should be no different.
Encourage users not only to publish and manage knowledge, but also to interact with it and those who shared it. Ask and answer questions left on posts. ‘Like’ useful posts from others. Leave comments and suggestions.
These knowledge sharing best practices will not only benefit your team in the short-term, but also future members for years to come. Future team members will learn from your discussions, see what past posts were most helpful, and save time by accessing questions that are already answered. Make the most of your IT experts and the information they hold.
3. Keep Up With the Times
Technology is an ever-changing machine. And not only do IT employees have to stay abreast of the latest technology themselves — the rest of the company relies on IT leadership to keep them up-to-date and informed about your company’s digital workforce as it relates to them.
With technology changing so rapidly and a constantly expanding stack, how can you ensure that your IT team has the bandwidth and the tools to share up-to-date tech knowledge with the rest of the company?
Let’s say your product manager thinks it’s a good idea to invest in a company-wide calendar software; each member of every team can visualize various deadlines and know the status of projects every step of the way, as they pass from product to engineering to marketing to sales and so on. Makes sense, right?
Well, yes, but it also sounds like a lot of extra work for your IT team. Because anytime your company rolls out new software, you can bet you will be inundated with an avalanche of emails and questions, most of which will be repetitive. And how much time will you waste answering the same question over and over again? A lot.
With a knowledge base that encourages cross-departmental knowledge sharing, you never have to answer the same question more than once. Create a group or space within your knowledge base software that everyone in the company has access to. Each time your company implements new software that requires instructions or updates, publish that information to that group. Anyone who needs it to do their job can easily access it, saving your team hours of answering questions that could be answered in one simple post.
4. Provide Immediate Feedback
Knowledge sharing isn’t just about offering assistance to colleagues in other departments, documenting processes for future use, and keeping up with the ever-evolving world of technology. It’s the good, the bad, and the ugly. (We’re talking about feedback.)
Your IT knowledge base enables you to provide immediate feedback to your employees, no matter where they are. Ever been held back on a project because you need feedback on the current step before you can move on to the next? We’ve all been there, but there’s no need to wait.
When you notice a victory, no matter the size, publicly congratulate that team member for their accomplishment in the knowledge base for all to see. Conversely, when you see a problem that needs fixing in the knowledge base, address that issue immediately so that no time is wasted. Immediate feedback empowers employees to take pride and responsibility in their work.
Remember, it’s not enough to simply store knowledge. To ramp up the ROI of your IT knowledge base, utilize social features and capabilities such as liking, commenting, asking questions, and creating rooms that are accessible to other departments who need them. Your current and future team will thank you.