2.123.2 Knowledge Management Process Description

Manual Transmittal

June 29, 2020

Purpose

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

Material Changes

(1) Revised entire document with updated IT IRM policy and process templates incorporating required internal controls.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 2.123.2 dated March 04, 2016 is superseded.

Audience

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

(06-29-2020)


Nancy A. Sieger
Acting Chief Information Officer

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. Overview - This IRM establishes uniform Information Technology (IT) Knowledge Management (KM) standards for requesting IT support, services and products through the Service Desk. KM comprises a range of strategies and practices used in this organization to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of knowledge articles. 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 Knowledge Management (KM) process. The IT infrastructure at IRS is expanding and increasing in complexity. As the interdependencies within the IT infrastructure continue to grow, the need for a strong KM process is essential.

  3. Audience - This process description is applicable to all organizations within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requesting Information Technology (IT) support and requests for 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 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, User and Network Services.

  5. Program Owner - Information Technology (IT) User and Network Services (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 Technology Officer (CTO) and Associate Chief Information Officer (ACIO) for User and Network Services. All proposed changes to this process must be submitted to IT UNS CSS.

  7. Program Goals - The concept behind Knowledge Management (KM) is to ensure useful information is readily available to all other IT Service Management processes. KM will ensure that 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 goal and objectives of the process, definition of roles and responsibilities and the process activities that are involved in KM.

Background

  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 a strong Knowledge Management (KM) process is essential.

  2. The purpose of this document is to describe the Knowledge Management process. The concept behind KM is to ensure useful information is readily available to all other IT Service Management processes. KM will ensure that 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 goal and objectives of the process, definition of roles and responsibilities and the process activities that are involved in KM.

Process Description
  1. The purpose of the 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 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.

Goal
  1. As with all the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes, KM is a process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. The KM Process Manager performs a role similar to a librarian. He or she is responsible for facilitating the approval of Knowledge Articles (KA) from the information received from Authors/Contributors. Once approved, the KM Process Manager uploads the information to the Knowledgebase and ensures it is accessible to all who need it.

  2. From a technology perspective, the Knowledge Management System (KMS) and the Repository are a data store that ensures useful information is available to all Divisions for managing and supporting IT Services. When a user access 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 (TGs) and other KM documents). The EOPS, Problem Management Branch, IT Command Center Division, owns the Problem Management Process, and is responsible for creating and maintaining the KEDB.

Objectives
  1. This document defines the step-by-step instructions on how to conduct the activities used to implement the KM procedures in Knowledge Management. The purpose of a procedure document is to institutionalize and formalize the preferred method of performing tasks that staff is using. The objective is to have everyone using the same tools and techniques and follow the same repeatable steps so that the organization can quantify how well the procedure is working and train future staff members who may not currently know the routine. Ensuring consistency is a critical component for ensuring optimum efficiency.

Authority

  1. All proposed changes to this document are to be directed to the Customer Service Support Director (CSS) in User and Network Services (UNS) under the IRS Information Technology (IT) organization. CSS is the owner of this process description and is responsible for facilitating changes. Changes to this process description can be pursued via the Integrated Process Management (IPM) process to clearly define interfaces, roles, responsibilities and coordinate participation and collaboration between stakeholders.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Each process defines at least one role. Each role is assigned to perform 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 Owners may be anyone 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 End Users are recipients of the knowledge published in the Knowledgebase.
    First Level Support Service Desk IT Specialist Perform recording, classification, initial support, resolution, dispatch, closure and monitoring procedures related to incidents using the approved instructions in the IT Knowledgebase.
    Knowledge Management Approver Reviews the content of the Knowledge Article for completeness. The approver either approves or rejects the knowledge. If approved, the knowledge is published in the Knowledgebase.
    Knowledge Contributor The Knowledge Contributor is responsible for making sure that the request or knowledge provided is submitted to Knowledge Management 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 Knowledge Management Process activities. Conducts periodic process reviews. Produces process management reports. Acts as the "point person" for the process. Takes 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. Provides confirmation of proper format of information received and works with submitters to make corrections. Ensures information is reviewed by owners and reviewers as needed. Provides customer service and support for making Processes and Procedures into IRMs. Provides publishing of information and knowledge in media of appropriate type (self-help, websites, KAs, IRM).
    Problem Management Coordinator Responsible for reviewing requests for problems, opening, assigning, updating, closing and reopening problem records, problem tasks, and known errors. Creates and maintains the KEDB.

Program Management and Review

  1. Knowledge Management (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 creation, review, approval, storing, and publishing, maintaining, and sending notifications of Knowledge actions as well as the steps to complete requests for closure.

  2. Related Process Artifacts

    • Knowledge Articles

    • IRM

    • Service Level Agreements

    • Knowledgebase

    • Knowledge Article Request Form

    • Documentation of Solutions of Problems

    • Known Error Record

  3. Related Directives

    • Training Data Directives

    • Service Level Agreements

    • Operational Level Agreements

    • Underpinning Contracts

    • SOP’s and IRM’s on Incident Procedures

    • KM Playbook

  4. Entry Criteria

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

    • Knowledgebase Contribute Queue Entries

    • Knowledge Information is reviewed to determine validity

    • Known Error Record is Opened

Program Control

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

Controls
  1. Access to Knowledge Management Module
    Obtain access to Knowledge Management Module via Online 5081.

Metrics
  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, Knowledge Articles are incorporated after the following events have occurred:

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

    • Knowledge Information is reviewed to determine this is a valid entry.

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

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

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

     

  4. Process Activity - Activities:

    • Post Knowledge and Notify IT Community.

    • Notify Author 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 and ACIO UNS groups is completed.

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

    • The information for the Knowledgebase is current.

    • This Knowledge Management Process is completed and Request is closed.

Tailoring Guidelines
  1. This procedure may be tailored to meet specific project requirements. If tailoring is permitted, refer to the tailored approach according to what has been documented in the KM Publish, Notification, and Closure procedure owner’s Tailoring Plan. At a minimum, acceptable execution of the KM Publish, Notification, and Closure procedure specifies that the following mandatory activities be completed: A1 to A6. All tailoring requests, with supporting rationale, should be submitted in writing to and approved by the IT UNS Customer Service, Knowledge Management Director.

Terms/Definitions/Acronyms

  1. Terms/Definitions/Acronyms

Terms and Definitions
  1. Terms and Definitions

    Terms Definitions
    Add 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.
    Escalation The action taken to change an interaction into an incident. May also refer to Managerial Escalation when an incident is elevated to Management to assist in resolution. This could involve a change in the impact or urgency if the event warrants a more immediate response.
    Event System occurrences triggered by the creation or updates of quotes, orders, and line items.
    Impact The value measure of the effect on the IRS Business Operations of an Incident, Problem, or Change. Impact and Urgency are used to assign Priority.
    Incident A contact or event.
    Issue Enterprise Learning Management System
    KISAM See System definition.
    Knowledge Article An article providing written instructions or guidance on process or procedures on policy. Each article within the Knowledgebase bears an ID number and articles are often referred to by their Knowledge Base ID (KA).
    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 are able to search for and use knowledge articles developed from prior incidents or problems to resolve a new instance of the same type of incident.
    Known Error A problem with a documented root cause and workaround. Known Errors are created and managed throughout their lifecycle by problem management.
    Known Error Database A database containing all known error records. This database is created by problem management and used by incident and problem management and is stored in the Knowledge Management System.
    Modify To update or change an article in the Knowledgebase.
    Priority The sum of the Impact and Urgency assigned to an incident are used to determine Priority.
    Problem A cause of one or more incidents. The cause is not usually known at the time a problem record is created, and the problem management process is responsible for further investigation.
    Problem Coordinator Responsible for reviewing requests for problems, opening, assigning, updating, closing and reopening problem records, problem tasks, and known errors.
    Problem Management The process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all problems. Problem management proactively prevents incidents from happening and minimizes the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented.
    Request A request for products and services.
    Resolution The process taken to resolve (fix) an issue. Also the point at which an event effects are resolved for the user by implementing a workaround, solution or providing a service but before the event is closed.
    Retire To remove an article from the Knowledgebase, and place it in an inactive state.
    Risk An uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a negative effect on the project.
    Role A set of responsibilities, activities, and authorizations.
    Status The current stage in the Lifecycle of the associated configuration item, Incidents, Problems, etc.
    System The IT Enterprise Tool that is used to record, classify, priorities, document, provide supporting information, route, and track all events, incidents, problems and requests within the IT environment. This tool KISAM (HP Service Manager) was introduced in 2011.
    Tool Job aid for a specific purpose, e.g., Checklist, Template, Application, etc.
    Urgency The value ranking of the Incident, problem or change within the impact category is assigned. The lower the value number the sooner it must be addressed. Impact and Urgency are used to determine the Priority. Example: Urgency 2 with a 4 impact is completed before Urgency 3 with a 4 impact within the same starting period for FIFO.
    Workaround A workaround reduces or eliminates the impact of an incident or problem for which a full resolution is not yet available.
Acronyms
  1. Acronyms

    Acronyms Definitions
    ACIO Associate Chief Information Officer
    AD Applications Development
    CMMI Capability Maturity Model Integrated
    CR Change Request (Synonymous with RFC)
    CSS Customer Service Support
    CTO Chief Technology Officer
    ELMS Enterprise Learning Management System
    EOPS Enterprise Operations
    ESS Employee Self Service
    FIFO First In First Out
    IM Incident Management
    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
    KB Knowledgebase
    KEDB Known Error Database
    KISAM Knowledge Incident/Problem Service Asset Management
    KM Knowledge Management
    KMS Knowledge Management System
    MSLA Master Service Level Agreement
    OLA Organizational Level Agreement
    PD Process Description
    PMI Project Management Institute
    RFC Request for Change (Synonymous with CR)
    SD Service Desk
    SLA Service Level Agreement
    SOP Standard Operating Procedures
    TG Technical Guide
    UC Underpinning Contract
    UNS User Network Services

Related Resources

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

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

    • CTO, CIO, and ACIO approved official Play Books

    • CTO, CIO, and ACIO approved Business rules

    • CTO, CIO, and ACIO approved Business Measures

    • ITIL V3

    • Enterprise Operations Problem Management Standardization Process Description

    • Integrated Process Management IPM

Training

  1. The Knowledge Management team will provide Knowledge Management training sessions and one-on-one training sessions.

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

    This is an Image: 68610001.gif
     

    Please click here for the text description of the image.

Inputs

  1. The following are inputs to the Knowledge Management Procedure:

    • Enter Request from System

    • Information on open issues and incidents

    • Service Level Agreement Processes

    • User Entitlements

    • Definition of Knowledge types

    • Problem Management (PM)

Outputs

  1. The primary outputs of Knowledge Management Procedures are:

    • New Knowledge Article

    • Modified Knowledge Article

    • Retired Knowledge Article

Activities

  1. This Procedure covers activities as follows:

    A1 Knowledge Analyzed, Researched & Identified
    A1.1 Determine Type of Knowledge
    A1.2 New Knowledge
    A1.3 Modified Knowledge
    A1.4 Retired Knowledge
    A1.5 Send E-mail to Owner
    A1.6 Edit/Maintain/Store Knowledge
    A2 Knowledge is Published / Notifications Sent
    A2.1 Post Knowledge / Notifications sent to IT community
    A2.2 Notify Author reason for Denial

Procedure

  1. Procedure Flow Diagram

    Figure 2.123.2-2

    This is an Image: 68610002.gif
     

    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.

    A1: Knowledge Analyzed, Researched & Identified  
    Steps Roles
    A1.1: Determine Type of Knowledge KM IT Specialist
    Determines type of Knowledge (New Knowledge, Modified Knowledge, or Retire Knowledge) via Knowledge Management standardized Article Template
    • If New Knowledge, go to A1.2 New Knowledge

    • If Modified Knowledge, go to A1.3 Modified Knowledge

    • If Retire Knowledge, go to A1.4 Retire Knowledge

    A1.2: New Knowledge KM IT Specialist
    1. Determines if the new KA provides duplicate information
    • If yes, go to A2.2

    • If no, continue

    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: Modified Knowledge KM IT Specialist
    1. Receives request that an Author/Owner has edited an existing KA with either additional knowledge or removal of outdated knowledge.
    2. Determines if the Author is the Owner of the targeted KA.
    • If the Author is the Owner of the KA, go to A1.6

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

    KM IT Specialist
    A1.4: Retired Knowledge KM IT Specialist
    1. Receives notification of an Author’s request to Retire KA from the Knowledgebase.
    2. Determines if the Author is the Owner of the targeted KA
    • If the Author is the Owner of the KA, go to A1.6

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

    KM IT Specialist
    A1.5: Send E-mail to Owner KM IT Specialist
    1. Communicates with Author/Owner of the existing KA to verify satisfaction with the final draft product
    2. Receives concurrence from Author/Owner if the KA is to be modified or retired. Go to A1.6 Author/Owner
    3. Receives denial from Author/Owner if the KA is not to be modified or retired. Go to A2.2 Author/Owner
    A1.6: Edit/Maintain/Store Knowledge PM Coordinator
    1. Manages (edits, maintains, stores) all Known Error Knowledge document types
    2. Receives communication from Author/Owner to verify they are satisfied with the final draft product KM IT Specialist
    3. Determines if spelling and grammar errors exist. Corrects any that are found KM IT Specialist
    4. Verifies links are working properly and determines if all links and attachments are accessible to users KM IT Specialist
    5. Designates Internal or External KA; decides the sensitivity of information shared (for IT only, Internal or for all IRS users, External) KM IT Specialist
    6. Validates each KA annually. Each KA expires one year from Creation or Last Modification date, unless otherwise requested KM IT Specialist
    A2: Knowledge is Published / Notifications Sent  
    Steps Roles
    A2.1: Post Knowledge and Notify IT Community KM IT Specialist/PM Coordinator
    1. Publishes - Updates/Uploads to Knowledgebase and/or Repository as needed when Knowledge is accepted
    2. Notifies IT community and the Author/Owner via E-mail of new, modified and retired KAs KM IT Specialist/PM Coordinator
    3. Proceed to Incident Management or Request Fulfillment Process (Closure Procedure) KM IT Specialist
    4. Proceed to Problem Management KEProcess (Closure Procedure) PM Coordinator
    A2.2: Notify Author Reason for Denial KM IT Specialist
    1. Notifies Author via E-mail of reason for denial for addition, modification or retirement/deletion
    2. Proceed to Incident Management or Request Fulfillment Process (Closure Procedure) KM IT Specialist