George Santayana, the Spanish American philosopher, wrote the famous saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
This really is the underlying basis for the process of knowledge management. It plays a key role in CSI but data must be captured in each of the service lifecycle stages. This Data capture must then be processed into Information, synthesize the information into Knowledge and applied to the context of the environment we are supporting to create Wisdom. This is known as the Data-to-information-to-Knowledge-to-Wisdom structure. DIKW. Wisdom (not repeating the past) will allow us to make more informed & better decisions around improvements in our processes, functions and services. The purpose of knowledge management process is to quantify all of this D-I-K-W and then to share perspectives, ideas, experiences and information at the right time in the right place with the right people to enable informed decisions efficiently by not having to rediscover this valuable knowledge.
Let's review the four elements of DIKW:
Data: Is a set of discrete facts about the CIs that we have within our environments. This data is captured in highly structured databases such as “Service asset and Configuration management systems. These advanced systems allow us to create relationships between these CIs and the discrete facts are captured as attributes of these CIs. This allows us to identify the relevant data and accurately capture it. We can then analyze and synthesize this data into information.
Information: We create information by putting the data into some context as it relates to our environment. This information is typically stored in things like emails, records, documents and multimedia. We do this so that it can be easy to capture, query, find, re-use and learn from. I like to think of the information as somewhat static. It’s the state of a CI at a particular moment in time. We can then trend these different moments in time to garner knowledge about the lifecycle of a CI or group of CIs.
Knowledge: Knowledge is gained from the analysis of information. This is then combined with peoples own experiences, insights and expertise to create new knowledge. Knowledge is dynamic and context based.
Wisdom: Wisdom is the ability to make use of our combined knowledge to create value through correct and well informed decisions. (Back to that not repeating the past thing).
In our next blog, we will explore "why" Knowledge Management is critical to successful service management.