A robust knowledge base is often seen as a necessity for support centers and help desks. Yet the principles that make knowledge bases invaluable apply to a variety of use cases that are too often overlooked. The purpose of a knowledge base is to provide quick and easy access to information that customers, both internal and external, will find useful. That concept is broad enough to apply to any organization, especially ones with repeated tasks or complicated process flows. In a support environment, the knowledge base will consist of troubleshooting articles, FAQs, and product documentation. In a non-support environment, the knowledge base could contain anything.
Let’s presume your office has a monthly meeting with all staff members present. The meeting starts with a motivational video or inspirational quote. Next, it dives into an update on the action items from the previous meeting before transitioning into any new topics. Completing the meeting is an informal brunch with a table of food and drinks for the team; a gesture of thanks for everyone’s hard work. The flow is always the same from month to month, and everyone knows what to expect.
But does everyone know how to organize it? In fact, whose job is it to coordinate the meeting, and who is their backup when they aren’t around? How is the inspirational video selected? How is the meeting space reserved? Who sets up any technical requirements, such as projectors and computers? Where is the food purchased from?
These are the types of questions that make knowledge bases valuable for any organization. Not only could there be an article in the knowledge base breaking down all the steps for organizing the monthly meeting, but individual articles listing the websites used to find workplace safe videos, caterers and restaurants with menus attached, meeting rooms with standard availability times, and common organizational tasks with the names and phone numbers of available backups. An article could also have all previous meeting notes attached for easy reference.
It’s safe to assume that the above information is documented somewhere, or at least known by a handful of individuals. But having the steps documented in one, easy to access location, with the ability to search and update those steps on the fly, is a powerful asset. As stated by infoentrepreneurs.org, “The way a business gathers, shares and exploits this knowledge can be central to its ability to develop successfully.” Rather than facing the common reality of a random document isolated on an individual employee’s computer, a shared knowledge base would make the information accessible over the internet/intranet to all employees. In theory, anyone would be able to coordinate the meeting, and the task could be rotated around the office, giving everyone a little exposure to the planning process.
“..Having the steps documented in one, easy to access location, with the ability to search and update those steps on the fly, is a powerful asset.”
And this is just one example. Every organization has internal processes and procedures they follow for a myriad of situations. Fire drills, shipping rules, interoffice communication policies, employee handbooks, office supply ordering, etc. Each one of these topics could end up in its own Knowledge base article. Beyond documentation, the knowledge base could serve as a resource for new hires and training. As Forbes summarized in their article on Knowledge Management, “Actively managing knowledge can help companies increase their chances of success by facilitating decision-making, building learning environments by making learning routine, and stimulating cultural change and innovation.”
For those organizations using Issuetrak as a resource for their business, a knowledge base is readily available to them. Complete with built in search, tagging, and categorization, the capability may or may not be the most sought after feature depending on a customer’s most urgent tracking and workflow needs, but its value cannot be overstated. With a short amount of time and modest effort, an organization could put the power of information at their employees’ fingertips.