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Problem Management and Knowledge Management

April 28, 2014
Guest Authors

HDIDog154411681Most organizations quickly realize that knowledge management must be integrated with incident management in order to improve the quality of service and the efficiency of providing assisted service. What is not as quickly recognized is the value of integrating knowledge management with problem management.

Knowledge articles represent answers to questions and resolutions to problems. They are created and maintained in multiple service management processes, including incident and problem. As all incidents are resolved using knowledge, there is a many-to-one link relationship.

From this perspective, the knowledge article represents an initial problem record. In proactive problem management, trend analysis will result in the identification of issues that need problem management to eliminate the problem from the environment. The trend analysis can now be based on the reuse counter within Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) instead of the incident classification analysis.

This significantly improves the analysis and speed in which frequently reported incidents can be identified. The knowledge article is the basis for the problem record, and all the related incidents serve as additional source information for root cause analysis. When the root cause is discovered, the problem record becomes a known error record. The knowledge article is then updated with the cause information and the workaround or fix information.

When reactive problem management is required to help resolve an incident, a problem record is created, and ultimately a cause and resolution are discovered. This problem record is used to create a knowledge article in case someone reports a related incident so that service can be restored quickly.

Consider this: The knowledge article serves as a potential problem record. It only becomes a problem record when problem management is required. If you add additional fields and metadata to a knowledge article, then it can become a problem record and be managed by problem management. Once the cause is known and added to this knowledge article, the knowledge article represents the known error record.

In ITIL® we talk about incident matching, problem matching, and known error matching. If you consider the knowledge article as the representation for all these records, then in KCS you search the knowledge base to find the appropriate article, which is one step and not three. Knowledge articles have a one-to-one relationship between problem records, known-error records, and knowledge articles.

When you link incidents to knowledge articles in incident management, then you automatically get a link relationship between incidents and problems.

Problem management and knowledge management must be integrated processes. Learn how to implement knowledge management based on best practices by learning more about KCS.

About the Author
Rick Joslin is the executive director of certification & training for HDI. He is also a certified Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) instructor and has guided organizations through the implementation of KCS. Rick has served as VP of Customer Care, VP of, and VP of Knowledge Engineering for ServiceWare. He is the author of the HDI Focus Book on Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Management Maturity Model, and the "Knowledge Management" chapter in the HDI Service and Support Handbook. Rick is a regular speaker at industry events, a member of the Consortium for Service Innovation, and an evangelist for KCS.