I am looking for a Knowledge Base infrastructure for our IT department for a few reasons.
1.) Our documentation is all over the place: FAQs, forums, documents on a server share, this blog, and people’s brains. I’d really like to unify it in one location.
2.) FAQs are going the way of the past. They only highlight the frequently asked questions. We all know there are plenty of answers to the obscure questions that can save a lot of hassle if these articles could be easily found. It’s always the obscure questions that take the most time, not the ones you answer on a daily basis.
3.) A Knowledge Base allows a user to find the answer for themselves. Cutting down response time and freeing IT to work on other un-answered issues.
4.) A KB would allow IT to create generic responses to questions that may be frequently asked. A simple reply with a link to the KB article would allow the staff and faculty to address the problem themselves or know more about the situation before IT staff arrive. They could also provide a KB article when logging a ticket to better describe the situation/problems they are experiencing.
5.) A KB with public access would allow us to give back to the general community and in the true sense of a library, sharing and disseminating information from generic technical questions to the more advanced, library-specific configurations. (Part of the reason I write to this blog.)
Things I’d like in a Knowledge Base:
1.) Ability to fine-grain control access permissions: Public articles, IT internal documents, and then those who can create or edit articles at either group or individual levels easily.
2.) Searchable – User can find an answer to the problem they are currently experiencing.
3.) Browsable – Users want to learn more about the infrastructure, possible future problems, and other random facts to get them tuned into IT like a newsletter.
4.) Clean, professional interface that anybody can easily understand from reading to creating new articles
5.) Front page that highlights newly created and popular articles
6.) Link from one article to other possibly related articles
7.) Web interface so that no installation is necessary to make a user an editor.
8.) Able to handle different media types: text, documents, images (for screenshots), video (for screen-recordings or physical processes, i.e. printer maintenance)
Really cool features that would sell me instantaneously:
1.) Integrated into our ticketing system, OTRS i.e. after someone submits a ticket or at a preview point, the KB would be searched and offer possible articles related to the problem reported.
2.) Allow exporting of articles into a format for future migration, upgrades, or backup
3.) The price would be right at free/open-source or a great educational discount
I’m open to any and all suggestions of projects I should look into or other qualities I should demand and not overlook in a knowledge base.