Research on Enterprise ITSM Knowledge Management Model

WENG Liang
Shanghai Tontron Information Technology Co. Ltd. Shanghai, P.R.China
Abstract—In the process of enterprise ITSM operation, the management of IT knowledge is of crucial importance. Based on the knowledge management process and SKMS of the service transition process in ITIL v3, this paper raised a reference model for enterprise ITSM knowledge management, which provides detailed design for function layers as data collection, information integration, knowledge processing and knowledge presentation, and is fully immersed with knowledge lifecycle management. This paper further discussed the application of the model in the arena of small to medium enterprise and large enterprise respectively. The model could be used as a guide in enterprise ITSM knowledge management practices. Keywords- ITIL, ITSM(IT Service Management), Knowledge Management, Lifecycle Management, Reference Model

WENG Baozhang
Shanghai Jiaoda Withub General Tech. Co. Ltd. Shanghai, P.R.China under a typical enterprise IT operation arena. An illustration of such an arena is shown below:

I. A.


Concept of ITSM Knowledge Management With the upgrade from ITIL v2 to v3[1], the connotation of ITSM is ceaselessly being enriched, and ITSM is becoming a major management system throughout the enterprise IT service lifecycle. The effective operation of such a management system will inevitably be involved with abundant of IT service related knowledge, and how to effectively accumulate those knowledge and make full use of them, to support decisionmaking, is a key issue in successful implementation of ITSM. ITSM knowledge management will help solidify personal service knowledge from IT staff into the enterprise’s ITSM knowledge, assure the relative independence between the IT service quality and the IT personnel, and ensure the consistency of IT service quality. Owing to this consideration, much attention is paid to ITSM knowledge management in ITIL v3, a knowledge management process in service transition stage is defined, and the former CMDB is upgraded to a more general SKMS (Service Knowledge Management System), which collects running data from various stages of ITSM model, integrates, processes and presents the data, and finally manages and maximizes the value of ITSM knowledge. B. Typical Enterprise IT Operation Arena This paper will research on a reference model and implementation methods for ITSM knowledge management

Figure 1. Illustration of Typical Enterprise IT Operation Arena

Main factors within the arena include: • ITSM platform: the carrier platform of the enterprise’s ITSM processes, which drives the daily operation of IT services. Enterprise’s IT system resources: the collection of all IT resources within an enterprise, including privatelyowned IT resources and trusteed IT resources (including devices/system trustee, application trustee, ASP, SaaS, cloud computing), which support the running of kernel business within the enterprise. Here, the privately owned IT resources are usually deployed in an EDC(Enterprise Data Center), while the trusteed IT resources are deployed within IDCs(Internet Data Center). Enterprise’s IT management resources: the deployed or leased 3rd-party professional IT management tools and resources, which help monitor, manage the enterprise’s IT resources and provide relevant data and functions support for ITSM. IT staff: the executing personnel of enterprise’s IT services, including internal IT staff, and out-sourced IT

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staff, professional 3rd-party ITSP(IT Service Provider) service team, and external virtual IT staff, which altogether form a generalized IT staff community. All IT resources and IT management resources put together form the enterprise’s generalized IT resources. The above IT operation arena fits for most enterprises from small to large scale, covering real and virtual enterprise operation modes, and is typical for the research of ITSM knowledge management. C. Knowledge Flow Analysis of Enterprise ITSM The ITSM platform in ITIL v3 contains KMS functions, and the enterprise ITSM KMS(Knowledge Management System) is a generalized KMS, including ITSM platforms and knowledge management related functions of any other 3rdparty professional IT systems, and is a distributed knowledge management system. The knowledge flow in enterprise ITSM operation mainly contains the following: • ITSM platform: the ITSM process running data, data in integrated CMDB, and SLAs and KPIs for enterprise IT services are the incoming sources for ITSM KMS, and the KMS will generate optimization suggestions for relevant service SLAs, processes and CMDB for better ITSM operation, after analysis and mining of those data collected. Professional 3rd-party IT systems: the statistical data, service views, service KPI data and professional KMS knowledge interfaces are input sources for ITSM KMS, and the KMS will generate optimization suggestions for the work mode, parameter settings to make the IT system better suit the enterprise’s service demands, after the analysis and processing of these data. Generalized IT staff: which is the part that involves creative capabilities within the knowledge flow. The personal service experiences of generalized IT staff, social search services and online technical support via the Internet are also complementary sources for ITSM KMS. And the output from KMS will also provide training material and online technical support for the IT staff community.

Figure 2. Typical ITSM Knowledge Flow Chart

Setting up a uniform ITSM KMS system will help concentrate and analyze the ITSM information from various sources in time to raise the IT service quality, and solidify personal service experiences to form the ITSM knowledge for the whole IT staff and the enterprise, independent of any individual IT personnel. Following the IT service lifecycle in ITIL v3, the ITSM KMS here will distill IT service operation related information, transfer those information between relevant ITSM processes according to enterprise’s service demands, and provide support for service operation and decision-making during the continual service improvement process. The ITSM KMS could be recognized as a reference model for SKMS in the knowledge management process of service transition stage (in ITIL v3)[2][3], or as a more generalized extended model. Since the KMS fully adopts knowledge lifecycle management, all knowledge within this model is referred to as the uniform ITSM knowledge object, regardless of the discrimination made between data, information, knowledge and wisdom in ITIL v3. A specific lifecycle stage attribute will be assigned to each knowledge object to denote the semantic differences. A layered structure is adopted in the model, which is basically consistent with the reference model of SKMS in ITIL v3(shown in Figure 3.). A. Data Collecting Layer The data collecting layer collects from such sources as ITSM platform, professional 3rd-party IT systems and IT staff those data related to enterprise ITSM operation. The data collected here are the original IT service data. A unified knowledge interface will be needed for these large scale ITSM data collection, to facilitate the information interaction between the KMS and any other professional IT systems, and to make necessary format and semantic translation and make them fully understood by all IT systems and the IT staff. After the encapsulation of the uniform knowledge interface, all ITSM relevant knowledge are

Combining the above knowledge flows, it comes to the following enterprise ITSM knowledge flow chart in Figure 2. II. ITSM KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT MODEL

According to the above ITSM knowledge flow chart, the ITSM KMS is the collecting, integrating, processing and valueadding platform for ITSM related knowledge within the enterprise, which will effectively integrate all knowledge management functions and resources to form a unified KMS for the generalized IT assets and IT staff.

integrated to form a virtual knowledge base, which structurally classify, organize and manage the knowledge according to enterprise’s service demands, and the underlying details are hidden from the upper-layer knowledge functions. The data collected here correspond to the original form of ITSM knowledge, i.e. the input stage of knowledge lifecycle.
ITSM KMS Knowledge Presentation Layer Value-add/Presentaion/Application
Functional View Knowledge Aggregation knowledge search E-Learning &Training Online Support Personalized KB Value-added Services Knowledge Self-service Knowledge LC Mgmt. LC Model Mgmt. Knowledge Strategy Mgmt. Integrated Search

All ITSM knowledge objects are stored in an ITSM knowledge base, which supports distributed deployment mode. Different ITSM KMS sub-systems will be grouped together to form a global knowledge view through the knowledge map function. And knowledge index and search services are provided to users to accelerate the location and query for the desired knowledge objects. ITSM KMS also provides the physical storage management of the knowledge base, mapping from the logical knowledge object to physical storage nodes, and also provides knowledge access control. C. Knowledge Processing Layer The knowledge processing layer further processes the knowledge objects within the ITSM knowledge base, and generate and derive new knowledge products according to enterprise’s service demands at strategic, tactical and operational levels. For the generalized IT staff mode, the analysis and data mining of ITSM knowledge will incorporate three major processors: • The internal processing functions within the KMS: including management of analytical models, data mining based on analytical models, and value-adding processing of knowledge. Administrators might set enterprise IT rules to denote certain analytical constraints to better suit the enterprise’s service demands. Processing functions provided by 3rd-party partners: 3rd-party partners are allowed to make professional analysis, evaluation, mining and value-adding processing of the knowledge within the knowledge base via a corporation interface, to produce more professional and valuable derived knowledge products. Complementary processing functions by IT staff via an online community: owing to the aggregation effect of web 2.0 community, personal experiences and analytical wisdom of the generalized IT staff are aggregated and integrated here.

Lifecycle Management

3rd-party Teams Knowledge Processing IT Staff, Layer online

Knowledge Analysis & Mining
Knowledge Evaluation Analytical Model Mgmt. Data Mining Knowledge Value-adding Enterprise IT Rules Mgmt. Analytical Models

Knowledge Proc. Interface

Basic Knowledge Mgmt Information Integration Layer
Knowledge Classification Knowledge View Mgmt. Knowledge Maintenance Content Filtering Knowledge Asset Mgmt. Knowledge Processing

ITSM Knowledge Base
Knowledge Index Knowledge Map Mgmt. Knowledge Storage Mgmt. ITSM KB Knowledge authorization Lifecycle Models

Knowledge I/O Interface

Data Collection Layer

Other sources

Data Collection Interface 3rd-Party KB

ITSM Platform

3rd-party Prof. IT Systems

ACRONYMS LC LifeCycle KB Knowledge Base

Figure 3. Enterprise’s ITSM Knowledge Management Model

B. Information Integration Layer The information integration layer provides basic management to those ITSM data collected: store them effectively into the ITSM knowledge base, and organize and manage them through a unified enterprise ITSM knowledge system. After being integrated, the ITSM knowledge object enters its growth stage, corresponding to information. The basic knowledge management functions provided here include: • Knowledge Classification Management: maintain the knowledge according to a structured scheme combining integrated and distributed modes. And the knowledge classification is periodically evaluated and updated according to enterprise’s service demands. Knowledge View Management: different knowledge views for different user roles and ITSM functions are defined and managed. Knowledge Maintenance Management: basic maintenance operations of ITSM knowledge, including adding, modifying, deleting and searching, with knowledge version control involved. Content Filtering: monitor and filter the content of ITSM knowledge. Knowledge Asset Management: manage the enterprise’s knowledge assets, and combine them into the unified enterprise IT assets category. Knowledge Processing: provide primary processing functions to ITSM knowledge, according to algorithms and regulations set beforehand.

D. Knowledge Presentation Layer The knowledge presentation layer is the knowledge presentation and access UI layer for IT staff and end users as well as an interface layer for the KMS to feedback generated knowledge and derived products to the ITSM platform, professional IT systems and IT staff, to better support the enterprise ITSM operation. The feedback functions actually implement the knowledge transfer between relevant ITSM processes and functions, and the knowledge transfer path could be dynamically modified according to actual service demands. The knowledge presentation functions provided to the end users including: • Various knowledge views for ITSM processes, to provide operation and decision making references.

• •

• •

Integrated knowledge search and online technical support for IT staff. Customized knowledge base and knowledge selfservices, to form personal ITSM knowledge portal fit for the operational habits of individual IT staff. Professional online learning and training for the generalized IT staff. Knowledge aggregation services to combine various knowledge within KMS and external relevant resources to form a unified knowledge portal both at global and enterprise levels. Other knowledge value-added derived services.

ITSM KMS usually could be recognized as an implementation version of the ITSM knowledge management process, but not a complete version since many functions required will be expanded through the out-sourcing system resources. • 3rd-party ITSP SKMS: will provide professional knowledge processing, knowledge synchronization and knowledge transfer services according to the service SLAs between the enterprise and the ITSP, and is usually an important and professional expansion to the local ITSM KMS. Other online resources (including the relevant web 2.0 community): will provide complementary and auxiliary knowledge and processing resources to local KMS, and is usually a more flexible expansion portion.

• •

E. Knowledge Lifecycle Management A dynamic management function based on ITSM knowledge lifecycle is incorporated through all the above function layers. The core is the knowledge lifecycle model, which represents the whole dynamic process containing the input stage, growth stage, value-adding stage and declining stage, and might help administrators to manage knowledge objects according to their respective lifecycle stages, in order to maximize the overall ITSM knowledge value contribution. System resource allocation priority is also determined according to the value of a given knowledge object. Administrators might set the stages and working parameters of the lifecycle models according to actual service demands. Another feature used simultaneously is the evaluation method for knowledge objects, which is widely used to judge the state transition of the lifecycle model. The value of a knowledge object is determined according to such factors as the value of correlated IT resource objects, the visit frequency, the user’s opinion, the matching of knowledge classification, the author’s experience level, and the duration of current state. For any knowledge objects entering the value-adding stage, the processing priority is also assigned according to the assessed knowledge value of that object. III. APPLICATION PATTERNS OF THE MODEL

The above three parts will finally be combined to form a virtual enterprise ITSM KMS, and provide support for local ITSM operation. The proportion of the three components will be correlated to the enterprise’s ITSM operation mode, and might be adjusted during the lifecycle of the enterprise. B. Application Pattern for Large Enterprises As for large scale enterprises, the local ITSM KMS is usually an independent and complete implementation version directly supporting the local ITSM operation, owing to the relative complexity of IT resources and relatively high skill level of the IT staff. Of course, in the actual ITSM operation, large scale enterprises will also adopt out-sourcing, crowd-souring policies for some professional IT services to lower the operational costs. In this case, the ITSM KMS will also incorporate 3rd-party ITSP and online resources expansion, but the share of these expansion parts will be much smaller. IV. CONCLUSIONS

A. Application Pattern for Small and Medium Enterprises For small to medium enterprises, the ITSM operation will rely on those flexible means as 3rd-party professional services and virtual IT staff to a large extent, owing to the limited IT budget and the relatively restricted skill level of the internal IT staff. Therefore their ITSM systems and ITSM KMSs usually adopt a distributed deployment mode, containing enterprise’s internet ITSM resources, 3rd-party ITSP professional services, and complementary online resources. Under this application pattern, the ITSM KMS operates in the following way: • Local ITSM KMS: will be running as the kernel ITSM knowledge base that satisfy the service demands, and directly supports the local ITSM system operation. The

The main characteristics of the enterprise ITSM knowledge management model raised in this paper including fully fit for the enterprise’s actual service demands, adaptability to typical ITSM operation modes for different enterprise scales, and incorporation with the knowledge object lifecycle management model, to maximize the benefit of ITSM knowledge management. The model is consistent with SKMS model from ITIL v3, and could be used as an implement reference model for SKMS in the knowledge management process. REFERENCES
[1] [2] [3] OGC&TSO. The Official Introduction to the ITIL Service Lifecycle, pp75-89 OGC&TSO. ITIL version 3-Service Transition, (4.7) Knowledge Management. OGC&TSO. ITIL version 2-Service Support, (7) Configuration Management.

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