The first time I heard the term knowledge management I think I was put off slightly as it sounds like it could be reminiscent of the kind of language that I think most of us thought we had left behind with the red-rimmed spectacle wearers of the 1980s.
Coming in a close second behind terms like KM (to use the vernacular), for me, are areas like ITIL compatibility and compliance. They’re just not areas I look at too much. But that was until someone stole my wheelie bin a couple of months ago.
I mean honestly, I had had fish guts in there and everything! I reported it to the police and had to phone a call centre to get my ‘crime incident number’ and had to have the slightly embarrassing phone call as follows:
“Look, I’m really sorry to hold up the line as you’ve got to be out chasing burglars and everything, but could I just get a report number please so I can get the council to issue me a new bin as they’re like 70 pounds or something silly from B&Q,” I said.
Free image source: Wikimedia Commons
Now the police have moved on a lot since we were all letting off bangers down the park (you’re telling me you didn’t do that?) and I have to say I was pretty impressed with the way their system logged me, the council tracked me and … lo and behold, a new wheelie bin arrived the next week.
After this trauma, I sniffed around to find out what makes the police a tighter outfit all round these days and it appears that more than one of our regional forces buys into KM and IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions to help keep the boys in blue (can we still say that?) linked in and on top of matters. A contributing factor for this reality is helpdesk support (just like I received) and the need to keep operatives productive - and for the data they create to be used properly I guess.
I’m not suggesting the log of my wheelie bin theft was mission critical data, but you get the gist right?
At the point in these scenarios when software application development hits real post-deployment data, compliance issues come to the fore and they are apparently quite complex in the field of public service for bodies like the police.
Let’s tie this rant to a real world example so you don’t think I’ve gone completely bananas. The nearest illustration I can produce came from a local search and it turns out a company quite literally at the end of my road in Surrey called Sunrise Software produces a browser-based IT service management tool called Sostenuto.
Their site doesn’t say whether they have sold the Sostenuto (I think that’s Italian for ‘slow’ and ‘sustained’ musical style) product to the Epsom and Ewell force, but they have apparently shipped it up to North Yorkshire where the chaps from Scarborough and Selby are using it to log support queries through its end-user portal.
I couldn’t find stats on wheelie bin theft in the Harrogate area, but I did get hold of a quote from Stuart Young, who is technical project manager for North Yorkshire police, “We were keen to find a system which would give us benefits such as the integration of different ITIL components like Incident Management and Problem Management. Sunrise’s Sostenuto came out on top because of its web-based design, which means staff at any location can access the system; its sophisticated management reporting; the simple automation of IT support processes and overall value for money.”
So in summary: KM and ITIL are probably more interesting than I thought, I’m sorry about all the bangers down the park and if you’ve got my wheelie bin I don’t want it back. Alright?