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22 March 2008

Knowledge Management in IT Service Management

ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) v2, the now internationally recognized framework for IT Service Management, was published in 2000 and at the time only implied knowledge management in IT service delivery. Obviously, managers involved in implementing ITIL based services (like myself btw 2003 and 2007) would consider and attempt to cater for the required knowledge capture/retrieval/sharing/reuse.

Here is a very good article written in 2003 about such a Manager (Michael McGaughey, Service Management Framework Architect at TXU, the leading energy retailer in Texas) who was concerned with incorporating KM in the IT service framework he was designing.
I will reproduce here only these 2 key sections:
<< [..] knowledge management goes back as far as human memory. It evolved onto stone tablets, books, file cabinets and sticky notes. But knowledge management in the IT world has always suffered from a lack of context, a lack of a problem that KM is clearly designed to fix. Service management may be the answer.
IT service management demands a customer-centric view of IT. It helps the company's IT department achieve three fundamental goals: Achieve customer satisfaction, exceed customer expectations and manage customer perceptions.
"The service management framework lives and and breathes with knowledge," said Michael McGaughey, Service Management Framework Architect at TXU, the leading energy retailer in Texas, which serves five million customers in North America and Australia. "There's a lot of knowledge used across the process silos."

>>
And:
<< Knowledge management as an IT concept has a lot to gain from working within an IT service management framework. One of the factors that led to the development of its identity crisis is that knowledge management offers very little in the way of a value proposition by itself. The value it offers is in making other processes better. >>

I really like this last paragraph. It has indeed been KM’s main issue in particular with organizations top-management, even though I would say that today with the help of Enterprise 2.0 technologies, KM can deliver value by itself.

Last year, ITIL v3 was published and I was very pleased to find out that in this edition, KM was formally taken care of as a Service Transition concept. I was even more pleased to see that it also included cultural change management! So now, IT departments are expected to formally assess and deal with the cultural change that a new service management implementation can initiate or even require! This was long overdue I would say.

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