1. Knowledge Base

    Article: AN0002387Updated: 27.12.2018

    Providing the right information at the right moment is a prerequisite for an effective work of the whole organization and taking informed decisions.

    Starting point

    The starting point is usually partial documentation of some knowledge areas in form of files MS Word, MS PowerPoint or PDF. The teams have frequently documented "mandatory" areas determining basic requirements (framework) but detailed processes are not described. Another issue is availability of information. Teams have them stored in their folders. At the same time documents often describe collaboration of various teams but to get to documents of other teams is not easy. Because knowledge is stored in files, the user has to know where to search for a document (how to navigate through a folder structure). Information is difficult to link together. If you read one document, it contains a link to another text in a form of stating the document where the related topic is described. The user has to search for the document in a difficult way again.

    Another issue is that the documentation is subject of a complicated updating system and to create a new document in such a system is not easy. The vision should be not only an easy availability of existing information but also an easy update by users throughout the organization.

    What to watch out for

    Maybe you think you are already using a knowledge base. People frequently talk about Knowledge Base after migrating files from a shared disc to cloud. User than access the files by means of a browser instead of e.g. Windows Explorer.

    If your "Knowledge Base" looks like this, you are working again with a hard, fixed file structure that we have described above. The files are in cloud and the screen has a modern look but the way you work with files stayed unchanged. You cannot search through all the documents, you cannot refer the documents effectively by means of links, you cannot classify documents effectively through categories created by you.

    Example should be rather Wikipedia, that enables to navigate between articles by means of links, to sort articles in various categories and search through all the documents.

    New level of knowledge management

    How the new level of knowledge management looks like and how to move to it and boost availability and knowledge update in the organization?

    • Processes, procedures, instructions etc. are available to the user in a single place.
    • User can simply search for necessary information across documents without having to know documentation structure and where particular pieces are stored.
    • Users can modify the documentation themselves and therefore it is up to date. This process is not slowed down by administrative requirements and technical complexity of performing the update.
    • You can navigate between documents easily by means of URL links by which they are interconnected.
    • Documents can be searched also by applications. It is easy to create a link and send it to a colleague.
    • Documents can be linked with structured data as e.g. lists of products, components, services or configuration items.
    • Documents are subject to various degree of validation. This process can more demanding for critical procedures but can be very simple e.g. for operational procedures.

    Moving to Knowledge Base is a change for the company and therefore it will be good to apply general rules for introducing a change.

    First we will identify teams that are willing to migrate their documentation to the Knowledge Base and agree on steps to convert current documents to the Knowledge Base pages.

    After conversion we will inform users from other teams about the new location of the documentation and advantages of this new solution. We will demonstrate to the management on example of the particular migrated team advantages of the new solution and ask them to approve migration of other teams. At this moment management will probably recommend some teams  - probably some of those with an audit finding or those which had an issues in this area in the past etc.


    Original solution - disadvantages New solution -  advantages
    1. Articles in various team folders.
    2. Fixed folder structure.
    3. Inability to interconnect knowledge by means of URL links.
    4. Access rights set in a fixed way without various classification levels.
    1. All articles in a single place.
    2. Articles can be divided into various structures.
    3. Full text search.
    4. Effective access rights management.
    5. Ability to link information with structured data.
    6. Articles in form of HTML texts instead of various files enable easy comparison of changes and adding comments or pursue a discussion about particular articles.