Leading Web service companies have built knowledge-based request fulfillment systems that record, route and resolve customer requests faster, better and cheaper through the use of self-selection and automated fulfillment. Demand for knowledge is increasing exponentially and managing category knowledge is the next BIG IDEA in business management.
In Professor Hamill’s presentation, Reinventing Management for the 21st Century, he acknowledges the accomplishments of HCL Technologies and their use of an employee self-service ticketing system to manage human resource issues. HCL’s automated ticketing system records, routes and resolves HR issues in a quick and efficient manner thus improving employee satisfaction and productivity. Self-service is one of the unique characteristics attributed to successful web-based technology companies. HCL, like Google, Amazon and Facebook, have built dynamic request fulfillment systems that put the user in charge. As they execute self-directed tasks, they trigger workflow automation across the Web. This self-service order generation is only part of the strategy. Other supporting processes are needed to capture and analyze user demand that drives the process of change and enables continual service improvement.
Each of these organizations has built category Knowledge Management (KM) practices which have allowed them to become prolific leaders in their Web space. Each of these industry-leading companies has KM systems that record, route and resolve customer requests efficiently. Organizations of all sizes with aspirations of Web expansion should understand how internal and external demand for category knowledge is captured, analyzed and used to make business decisions.
KM has long been the oasis for many weary executives who understood the merits of KM implementations. Executives have to look no further than an arm’s length to find examples of leading KM organizations delivering Web services to mobile devices. Google, Amazon, Facebook and HCL have each built KM technology platforms that allow a user to enter a set of discrete facts about something (data) and in turn a system provides context about that data (information), which in turn provides insight and value (knowledge) to the user. Simultaneously, the user and provider discern contextual knowledge relationships (wisdom) which drive both behavioral and business process change. Analysis brings awareness and understanding about customer demand for information and services and the provisioning of capacity to meet category demands.
Twenty years ago the idea that any company could achieve this level of knowledge management sophistication was not feasible, however, the game has changed. Organizations of any size can build KM systems that emulate knowledge management practices of leading Web organizations.
The Internet changed everything because its process eliminated the perceived separation of business process and its underlying technology. 21st century leaders must embrace the new paradigm for the following reasons:
- Financial results are a direct result of its business process
- Business processes are dependent on, and automated by, technology systems
- Business management is directly impacted by the maturity and controls of technology process
The good news is that leaders can get help they have to look no further than to the documents published by the Office of Government Commerce publishers of the Information Technology Information Library (ITIL). ITIL is the most widely accepted approach to IT Service Management in the world. ITIL provides a cohesive set of the best technology management practices drawn from the public and private sectors internationally.
Developed in the late 1980s, ITIL has become the world-wide de facto in standard technology service management. Starting as a guide for the British government, the framework has proved to be useful to organizations in all sectors through its adoption by many companies as the basis for service management, consultancy, education and software tool support. The ITIL framework documents industry best practice guidance that can be utilized in different ways according to need. This is done in the same way that turn of the century management practices such as Capital Budgeting and Task Design have been modified to meet specific organizational objectives over the years.
Knowledge Management System (KMS)
The KMS Model is grounded in the best practices defined by ITIL. The system is responsible for gathering, analyzing, storing and sharing knowledge with users internal and external. Google, Amazon, Facebook, HCL and many other Web companies have developed formal ITIL based business management processes. Each process is part of the broader ITIL Service Lifecycle but for the sake of brevity this paper will provide a summary view. Managers need not be technologists but they must be able to lead the integration and adoption of integrated business/technology processes and mandate that every process have an owner – a person who has overall responsibility for the maintenance, improvement and effective use of the process. The processes should also have a committee that oversees and approves changes to the process and ensures the process is integrated with other related processes.
KMS Management Architecture
- Demand Process
- Request Process
- Change Process
Individual Process Overview
- Demand Management Process
- Repeatable method for the analysis of category demand generated by the request process
- Analysis of Patterns of Business Activities and user profiles
- Differential charging to encourage customers to consider alternatives
- Request Management Process
- Repeatable method and single portal to request and receive information, access, advice, or services for which a predefined approval and qualification process exists
- Provide information to users and customers about the availability of services and the procedure for obtaining them
- Change Management Process
- Repeatable method and way of dealing with a particular category of change
- Respond to the customers changing business requirements while maximizing value and reducing incidents, disruption and rework
Exposing the merits of knowledge management may appear to be a throwback to an earlier day. However, upon closer examination, it is evident that the leading Web based companies have cracked the code. Improvements in the analysis and use of meta-data have enabled top companies to be more efficient, improve quality of service, increase satisfaction and reduce the cost of service delivery. 21st century leaders will be challenged to lead their staffs in developing a clear, common understanding of the value that their organization provides to customers as well as the ways that benefits are realized from the use of web-based technologies. A possible technology architecture solution has been provided that emulates top-tier web-based companies. 21st century managers must focus on managing a process that enables the organization to improve the quality of management decision-making by ensuring that reliable and secure information and data is available throughout the service delivery lifecycle.
Top-performing companies can realize 30% improvement in customer satisfaction through the implementation of service management systems of this type. Source, 2007 IEC Service Management Effectiveness Diagnostic
Do your homework and take the time to build the foundational components that enable effective process implementation. Once you have determined the roles and process alignment, evaluate systems that leverage the cloud.