2.123.2 Knowledge Management Process Description

Manual Transmittal

September 24, 2021


(1) This transmits revised IRM 2.123.2, Information Technology, Knowledge Management, Knowledge Management Process Description.

Material Changes

(1) Revised document due to organizational changes.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 2.123.2 dated June 29, 2020 is superseded.


This Process Description is applicable to all organizations within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requesting Information Technology (IT) support and services. Knowledge Management (KM) provides and maintains the integrity of approved IT knowledge available to end-users and technicians for self-service, user education, and technical support to enhance the work environment.

Effective Date


Nancy A. Sieger
Chief Information Officer

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. Overview - This Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) establishes uniform Information Technology (IT) Knowledge Management (KM) standards for requesting IT support, services and products through the Service Manager and OS GetServices tools. KM comprises a range of strategies and practices used in this organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of Knowledge Articles (KA). This IRM is to be used by anyone who has the responsibility of providing service and support to IT customers.

  2. Purpose - This document describes the KM process. The IT infrastructure at the IRS is expanding and increasing in complexity. As the interdependencies within the IT infrastructure continue to grow, the need for consistency in the KM process is essential.

  3. Audience - This process description is applicable to all organizations within the IRS requesting IT support and services. KM provides and maintains the integrity of approved IT knowledge available to end-users and technicians for self-service, user education, and technical support enhancing the work environment for users.

  4. Policy Owner - Any waivers or deviations of this process require written approval from the Associate Chief Information Officer (ACIO), User & Network Services (UNS).

  5. Program Owner - IT, UNS, Customer Service Support (CSS) is responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of this process.

  6. Primary Stakeholders - Approval of this process, including updates, rests with the IT Chief Information Officer (CIO) and ACIO for UNS. All proposed changes to this process must be submitted to IT UNS CSS.

  7. Program Goals - The concept behind KM is to ensure useful information is readily available to all other IT Service Management processes. KM will ensure the right person has the right knowledge, at the right time, to deliver and support the services required by the business units. This document also includes the goals and objectives of the process, definition of roles and responsibilities, and the process activities involved in KM.


  1. The IT infrastructure at the IRS is expanding and increasing in complexity. The IRS stakeholders are dependent upon the stability of the network and server infrastructure and the applications they host. As the interdependencies within the IT infrastructure continue to grow, the need for consistency in the KM process is essential.

Process Description
  1. The purpose of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Knowledge Management Process is to support the control of knowledge and information related to providing IT services for all IRS personnel at any geographic location in compliance with the catalog of goods and services and user entitlements. This includes a library function of collecting knowledge and information, the certification of it as definitive, the control of it, and the availability of IT authorized parties. This also includes the support functionality of assisting authors in the creation of IRMs.

  1. As with all the ITIL processes, KM is a process of creating, sharing, using, and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. The KM Process Manager performs management oversight actions by collecting, organizing, and issuing Knowledgebase resources. The IT Specialist is responsible for facilitating the approval of KAs on the information received from Authors/Owners and ensuring every KA meets all KM standards. Once approved, the KM Process Manager uploads the information to the Knowledgebase to be available for all with approved access.

  2. From a technology perspective, the Knowledge Management System (KMS) and the Repository are data storage which ensures useful information is available to all Divisions for managing and supporting IT Services. When a user accesses this KMS, he or she then has access to all the data repositories that are linked to the KMS. These repositories will include the Known Error Database (KEDB) (where Root Cause, Known Error, Workaround and Permanent Solution for problem and known error records are catalogued) and the Repository (Access Lists, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Technical Guides and other KM documents). The Enterprise Operations, Problem Management Branch, IT Command Center Division, owns the Problem Management Process, and is responsible for creating and maintaining the KEDB.

  1. This document defines the step-by-step instructions on how to conduct the activities used to implement the procedures in KM. The purpose of a procedure document is to institutionalize and formalize the preferred method of performing tasks the staff is using. The objective is to have everyone using the same tools and techniques and follow the same repeatable steps so the organization can quantify how well the procedure is working and train future staff members. Ensuring consistency is a critical component for executing and validating optimum efficiency.


  1. All proposed changes to this document are to be directed to the CSS Director in UNS under the IRS IT organization. CSS is the owner of this process description and is responsible for facilitating changes. Any updates to this document can be accomplished by following the steps found within IRM 1.11.2, Internal Revenue Manual Process which clearly defines standards, roles, responsibilities, and collaboration between stakeholders.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Each process defines at least one role. Additionally, each role performs specific tasks within the process. The responsibilities of a role are confined to the specific process. Reference table below:

    Role Description Definition of Responsibility
    Author/Owner May be an individual in the organization to the extent allowed by the applicable Service Level Agreement (SLA) and responsible for providing requested information. Requesters may submit information requests on behalf of others (Recipients) to the extent allowed by the applicable SLA. Requesters may submit content for inclusion in the knowledge repository.
    End Users Recipients of the knowledge published in the Knowledgebase.
    Knowledge Management Approver Reviews the content of the KA for completeness. The approver approves or rejects the knowledge. If approved, the knowledge is published in the Knowledgebase.
    Knowledge Contributor The Knowledge Contributor is responsible for making sure the request or knowledge provided is submitted to KM for review.
    Knowledge Management Process Manager Defines the standards for the process and is responsible for the day-to-day management and coordination of all KM Process activities. Conducts periodic process reviews. Produces process management reports. Acts as the "Lead" for the process, taking direction and vision from the Knowledge Process Owner.
    Knowledge Management Process Owner An Executive with the ability and authority to ensure the process is rolled out and used by all departments within the IT organization. Specific responsibilities include: defining the overall mission of the process; establishing and communicating the process mission, goals and objectives to all stakeholders; resolving any cross-functional (departmental) issues; ensuring consistent execution of the process across departments; reporting on the effectiveness of the process to senior management; initiating process reviews; and initiating any process improvement initiatives.
    Knowledge Management IT Specialist Provides electronic data management services. Responsible for the proper format of information received and works with Authors/Owners to make necessary corrections. Ensures information is reviewed by Authors/Owners and stakeholders as needed. Provides publishing of information and knowledge in media of appropriate type (Self-Help, KAs, SOPs, IRMs).

Program Management and Review

  1. KM Procedure Overview
    The purpose of this procedure is to outline the steps required in order to resolve and close a request. Steps cover the types of knowledge, review, approval, management, and notification of Knowledge actions as well as the steps to complete requests for closure.

  2. Related Process Artifacts

    • Knowledge Articles

    • Knowledge Article Request Forms

    • Request Tasks

  3. Related Directives

    • Service Level Agreements

    • Operational Level Agreements

    • Underpinning Contracts

    • KM SOPs and IRMs

    • SOPs and IRMs on Incident Procedures

    • Training Directives

  4. Entry Criteria

    • A Request to add, modify or retire one or more Knowledge Articles

    • Knowledgebase Contribute/Pending Queues

    • Knowledge Information is reviewed to ensure documentation adheres to KM publishing standards

Program Control

  1. Activities involved in ensuring a process is predictable, stable, and consistently operating at the target level of performance.

  1. Access to Knowledge Management Module
    Obtain access to Knowledge Management Module via current IRS-approved Access Request System.

  1. Metrics are used for the quantitative and periodic assessment of a process. They should be associated with targets that are set based on specific business objectives. Metrics provide information related to the goals and objectives of a process and are used to take corrective action when desired results are not being achieved and can be used to drive continual improvement of process effectiveness and efficiency.

  2. Entry Criteria - Generally, KAs are incorporated after the following events have occurred:

    • Information to be added and/or modified is received and verified by the Author/Owner.

    • Information is reviewed to determine if valid and not a duplicate entry.

  3. Input - The following are inputs to this process step:

    • The request to add, modify or retire one or more KAs is validated.

    • Stakeholders have been identified and the resulting approval/disapproval is confirmed.

  4. Process Activity - Activities:

    • Knowledge is in draft.

    • Notify Author/Owner reason for Denial.

  5. Output - The following are outputs to this process step:

    • The Knowledgebase content is added, modified, or retired and published.

    • Notification to Stakeholders is completed.

  6. Exit Criteria - This process step is complete when:

    • The information for the Knowledgebase is current.

    • This KM Process is completed, and Request is closed.

Tailoring Guidelines
  1. This procedure may be tailored to meet specific project requirements. If tailoring is permitted, all variations must, at a minimum, align with KM publishing standards which are documented within the KM SOPs. All tailoring requests, with supporting rationale, must be submitted in writing to and approved by the KM Process Manager. Tailoring may be requested by submitting an official Request via the approved Service Manager or by email to the KM Process Manager. At which time, the determination will be made if tailoring will negatively impact any current or future operations.


  1. Terms/Definitions/Acronyms

Terms and Definitions
  1. Terms and Definitions

    Terms Definitions
    Access Request System IRS-approved system used to request access to and perform recertifications on entitlements.
    Add Knowledge Article To create an article in the Knowledgebase.
    Catalog Entries in the Service Catalog that are associated with a specific product or fulfillment service that needs to be delivered.
    Knowledge Article An article providing written instructions or guidance on processes and procedures. Each article within the Knowledgebase has an ID number and articles are often referred to by their Knowledgebase Document ID (KM#).
    Knowledgebase A published source of approved definitive workarounds and solutions for known errors commonly experienced. Integrates with interaction, incident, and problem management so that users can search for and use knowledge articles developed from prior incidents or problems to resolve a new instance of the same type of incident.
    Modify Knowledge Article To update or change an article in the Knowledgebase.
    Request A request for products and services.
    Retire Knowledge Article To remove an article from the Knowledgebase and place it in an inactive state.
    Role A set of responsibilities, activities, and authorizations.
    Service Manager The IT Enterprise Tool that is used to record, classify, prioritize, document, and provide support information; route and track all events, incidents, problems, and requests within the IT environment.
    Status The current stage in the Lifecycle of an article configuration: Draft, Published Internal/External, or Retired.
    Tool Job aid for a specific purpose, e.g., Checklist, Template, Application, etc.

  1. Acronyms

    Acronyms Definitions
    ACIO Associate Chief Information Officer
    CSS Customer Service Support
    CIO Chief Information Officer
    DCOS Deputy Commissioner Operating Support
    EOPS Enterprise Operations
    IAW In Accordance With
    IRM Internal Revenue Manual
    IT Information Technology
    ITIL Information Technology Infrastructure Library
    ITPAL Information Technology Process Asset Library
    ITSM Information Technology Service Management
    KA Knowledge Article
    KCS Knowledge-Centered Service
    KEDB Known Error Database
    KISAM Knowledge Incident/Problem Service Asset Management
    KM Knowledge Management
    KMS Knowledge Management System
    SLA Service Level Agreement
    SOP Standard Operating Procedure
    TG Technical Guide
    UNS User & Network Services

Related Resources

  1. A Glossary is available on the IT Process Assets Library (IT PAL).

  2. References - The following resources are either referenced in this document or were used to create it.

    • DCOS, CIO, and ACIO approved Business Rules

    • ITIL Foundation

    • KCS Methodology

    • IT Service Management Principles

    • KM SOPs


  1. The KM team will provide group and one-on-one training sessions to assist with Service Manager-related tasks and functions. The type of training provided is determined by business need, current priorities, and resource availability.

  2. Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) is a methodology that empowers candidates and associates with the ability to respond to customer problems in the work environment, with real-time solutions by adding and modifying their own KA(s).

Process Workflow

  1. A process workflow consists of Activities and Tasks, Inputs and Outputs, Roles, and Flow Diagrams. It describes the tasks, procedural steps, organizations, or people involved, required input, and output information, and tools needed for each step of the process.

Main Process Diagram

  1. Process Flow Diagram

    Figure 2.123.2-1

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    Please click here for the text description of the image.


  1. The following are inputs to the KM Procedure:

    • Knowledge Articles

    • Knowledge Article Request Forms

    • Request Tasks


  1. KM performs additional functions; however, the primary outputs of the KM Procedure are:

    • Add Knowledge Article

    • Modify Knowledge Article

    • Retire Knowledge Article


  1. This Procedure covers activities as follows:

    A1 Knowledge Analyzed/Processed/Completed
    A1.1 Determine Type of Request
    A1.2 Add Knowledge
    A1.3 Modify Knowledge
    A1.4 Retire Knowledge
    A1.5 Notify the KA Owner
    A1.6 Update/Manage Knowledge
    A1.7 Close RF IAW KM Standards


  1. Procedure Flow Diagram

    Figure 2.123.2-2

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    Please click here for the text description of the image.

Activity and Steps
  1. This section delineates the activity steps, including roles and tools or templates, needed to perform each step of these Procedures. Further detailed instructions are documented in the current KM Standard Operating Procedures.

    A1: Knowledge Analyzed/Processed/Completed
    Steps Roles
    A1.1: Determine Type of Request KM IT Specialist
    Determines type of Request (Add Knowledge, Modify Knowledge, or Retire Knowledge) via KM Knowledge Article Request Forms
    • If Add Knowledge, go to A1.2

    • If Modify Knowledge, go to A1.3

    • If Retire Knowledge, go to A1.4

    A1.2: Add Knowledge KM IT Specialist
    1. Determines if the new KA provides duplicate information
    • If yes, Notify the Requestor

    • If no, go to A1.6

    2. Determines the new KA provides accurate and timely information to IRS employees and meets the needs for targeted area of concern KM IT Specialist
    A1.3: Modify Knowledge KM IT Specialist
    1. Receives request to edit an existing KA with either additional knowledge or removal of outdated knowledge
    2. Determines if the Requestor is the Owner of the targeted KA
    • If the Requestor is the Owner of the KA, go to A1.6

    • If the Requestor is not the Owner of the existing KA, go to A1.5

    KM IT Specialist
    A1.4: Retire Knowledge KM IT Specialist
    1. Receives request to retire an existing KA from the Knowledgebase
    2. Determines if the Requestor is the Owner of the targeted KA
    • If the Requestor is the Owner of the KA, go to A1.6

    • If the Requestor is not the Owner of the existing KA, go to A1.5

    KM IT Specialist
    A1.5: Notify the KA Owner KM IT Specialist
    1. Communicates with the Author/Owner of the existing KA to verify satisfaction of the final draft product
    2. Receives concurrence from the Owner if the KA is to be modified or retired, go to A1.6 Document Owner
    3. Receives denial from the Owner if the KA is to be modified or retired, Notify the Requestor Document Owner
    A1.6: Update/Manage Knowledge KM IT Specialist
    1. Manages (edits and maintains) all Knowledge document types
    2. Determines if spelling and grammar errors exist, corrects any that are found KM IT Specialist
    3. Verifies links are working properly and determines if all links and attachments are accessible to users KM IT Specialist
    4. Designates KA Internal or External; decision depends on the sensitivity of information and a need to know (for IT only, Internal or for all IRS users, External) KM IT Specialist
    5. Revalidates each KA annually. KA expires one year from Creation or Last Modified date, unless otherwise requested KM IT Specialist
    6. Receives communication from Author/Owner to verify satisfaction of the final product KM IT Specialist
    A1.7: Close RF IAW KM Standards KM IT Specialist
    Closes the Request Fulfillment Task in accordance with KM Standards