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According to Oxford English Dictionary, Knowledge is defined variously as (i) expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject, (ii) what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information or (iii) awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.

 

What is Knowledge Management?

Dozens or even hundreds of documents are intended to provide people from different areas of business with the knowledge they need to compete. Yet, because the information generally arrives from many different sources, neither its content nor format is consistent. The result is a scarcity of knowledge in an abundance of information.

Knowledge Management comprises of a range of practices used by organizations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge. Today, many large companies have resources dedicated to Knowledge Management, often as a part of ‘Information Technology’ or ‘Human Resource Management’ departments. Content Management and e-business are inseparable. E-business infrastructures and applications must be content centric to compete.

 

What is Knowledge Article in SAP CRM?

Knowledge Article provides the means for the computerized collection, organization, and retrieval of knowledge. It can store a wide variety of information such as:

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Due to its multiple usages Knowledge Article component in SAP CRM can be used with sales, marketing, and service processes in the interaction center (IC) and CRM service management such as Service Order, Complaints, Incident Management, Problem Management and Request for Change.

Some of its features include:

  • Faster access to specific information via categorization and full text search.
  • Easy integration to other CRM objects e.g. customers, products, installed bases, campaigns, opportunities, incidents and… more.
  • Multilingual and multiple text authoring.
  • Attachment capability and special authorization scopes.
  • Open interfaces for import and export from and to existing knowledge bases.
  • Automatic update/creation of knowledge base index when a knowledge article is saved.
  • Creation of  knowledge articles in multiple languages
  • Ability of IC Agents to search for knowledge articles so as to email them as attachments to the customers
  • Provision of knowledge article templates with prefilled details to create knowledge articles from it, without wasting time.

 

How is Knowledge Article in SAP CRM implemented?

A knowledge base is a special kind of database for knowledge management. It provides the means for the computerized collection, organization, and retrieval of knowledge. With CRM 7.0, SAP has implemented knowledge base that would allow representatives to look for knowledge articles in the knowledge base. It would allow representatives to search for articles either by defining specific attribute search or by free text search using an information retrieval system (search engine).

The search engine Text Retrieval and Information Extraction Engine (TREX) which is based on the Client/Server Architecture uses multiple method searches such as exact text, linguistic, wild card, phrase and fuzzy search methods for searching knowledge located across enterprise. As a result the user can use either text or attribute search to search for similar Knowledge Articles or a particular one.

As the size of the knowledge base increases due to the addition of new knowledge articles, the time taken to retrieve a desired article also increases. This is where indexes are used to reduce the retrieval time. An index is a data structure that improves the speed of operations. Indices can be created using one or more key attributes such as status, priority, customer, keywords etc. thereby, providing the basis for efficient ordering of access to records. For knowledge articles to be returned in searches, they must be compiled. The knowledge base index should therefore be updated regularly when new records are created, or existing records are changed. This enables TREX to find the relevant documents in a search. 

The Power User/ Administrator would have the access to compile the Knowledge Base Index for faster retrieval of records. The compilation of knowledge base which is currently offered is divided into the following options: 

  • Full Compilation: Compiles all documents. This option is recommended initially and if the index is corrupted.
  • Delta Compilation: Compiles all new and changed documents since the last compilation and removes deleted documents from the index. It is also provided as a batch job.
  • Deletion: Delete an Index from the search engine
  • Start Background Job: Schedule Delta compilations as background jobs at regular intervals
  • Stop Background Job: Any queued or in-process compilation tasks can be cancelled.

In addition, the administrator would be able to view the log for the particular Index of the Knowledge Base by clicking on the corresponding Knowledge Base Index link. Compilation log is useful for an administrator because it would provide the user with different details such as errors, number of documents, inform as it would provide information regarding full compilation, delta compilation, current schedule, Index details etc.

This solution forms an important part of Customer Service and Support segment in our service management portfolio.

 

Where can it be implemented?

A common belief is that the Knowledge Management is primarily used for Service sector to help find a potential solution of a perspective problem, for instance: Reason for a Blue Screen error. However it can be extended for marketing and sales too. Marketing activities focuses on managing strategic partnerships and positioning the organization in a competitive market and with the aim of delivering superior values to its customers. Information regarding Market environmental factors such as market size, market share, brand loyalty, competitors, competitors, concentration of the industry, barriers to entry, market trends etc could also be maintained. With the rapid growth of sales automation, many corporations have rushed to deploy systems for distributing information and documents of all kinds to their sales people. As markets and products change with accelerating pace, sales people must assimilate and apply vast amounts of current information about their markets, their competition, and the solutions they can offer to customers.

To see the video click here

Benefits of Knowledge Management

  • Increases customer satisfaction as its an added convenience for 24 hour support
  • Reduces cost per interaction by empowering the customer to help themselves
  • Provides consistent and accurate information for the customer.
  • Improves operational efficiency by removing agents from interactions that can be resolved using self service
  • Reduces the total cost of ownership
  • Greater transparency of information
  • Maximize the usage of intellectual assets
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41 Comments

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  1. Lyda Osorio
    Hi,

    I common question between SAP EP KM consultant and SAP CRM Consultant, is how SAP CRM Knowledge management has relationship with SAP EP Knoledge Management?.

    If I defined a database in CRM, I can use the same in EP KM? My database defined in CRM is accesible in EP KM?.

    For the final user, why SAP has two different tools and how this tools work together?.

    Thanks in advance.

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  2. Akash Winny Post author
    The knowledge articles in SAP CRM is primarily meant for sales, marketing and service and is used to store information for these different lines as its present on the CRM side. I would assume that it can be integrated with EP as a result when you search for something in EP then it would pick it up from knowledge articles too. Through EP knowledge management you can search through a wide variety of sources in the case Knowledge articles the seearch is provided only on the CRM side.
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    1. Pablo Rodríguez Mateos
      Hello,

      I have read and watched your blog about Knowledge Articles in CRM 7.0. We are currently developing a CRM Service Project, and I am wondering which is the Knowledge base for KA, or how shall I proceed in order to compile KA.

      When I record KA and then try to search, I get the following error:

      The search service has received error Index does not exist;index=saf:bcd_200_kaen from TREX.

      If I log in spanish: index=saf:bcd_200_kaes.

      I would really appreciate any help on this issue.

      thanks in advance.

      Pablo

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      1. Akash Winny Post author
        Hi Pablo,

        Incase you want to manually complile and create a knowledge base then you have to get in the IC Manager role. Please do note that when you create a knowledge article even the first time in a particular, a Knowledge Base is created.
        The reason as to why are getting the error message is because the TREX is not setup/configured properly. If you have a problem configuring the TREX please do send me an email so that I can help you out.

        Regards,
        Akash

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        1. Pablo Rodríguez Mateos
          Hi Akash,

          I have just solved my problem. KA database was not created when I recorded the first KA, but TREX was working fine with SDB. So I decided to create KA base manually and configure compilation. Compiled it and now it’s working fine!! In fact, I have almost decided to use KA instead of Problems&Solutions, since it looks more powerful.

          thank you for you help!!!

          regards,

          Pablo

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          1. Akash Winny Post author
            Hi Pablo,

            It has been my pleasure and I am quite happy to know that you like Knowledge Articles. Please do let me know your feedback and suggestions via email.

            Thanks a lot once again,

            Regards,
            Akash

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    2. Pablo Rodríguez Mateos
      Hi again Akash,

      We have configured KA Database and have the functionality working on development landscape. We wonder now if it is possible to carry out an initial load of KAs and in that case if there is any standard tool to cope with it, since our customer has already got its own MS Access Database, and wants to load it into CRM.

      Thank you in advance.

      Regards.

      Pablo

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      1. Akash Winny Post author
        Hi Pablo,

        I dont think there are tools that allows the initial load of of knowledge article from a 3rd party system(MS Access) into the CRM.

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  3. Akash Winny Post author
    The knowledge articles in SAP CRM is primarily meant for sales, marketing and service and is used to store information for these different lines as its present on the CRM side. I would assume that it can be integrated with EP as a result when you search for something in EP then it would pick it up from knowledge articles too. Through EP knowledge management you can search through a wide variety of sources in the case Knowledge articles the seearch is provided only on the CRM side.
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  4. Ly Quoc Nguyen
    Hi,

    Thanks a lot for the useful blog here.

    I have successfully implemented the knowledge article for CRM7.0. However, I am facing a problem with the button Suggest Knowledge Article. When I click on the button, there is always no suggestion although I have mantained the same Categorization and detail.

    Do you know whether any settings or notes need to be implemented to make it work?

    thanks a lot
    Ly Quoc Nguyen (nguyen.ly@ecenta.com)

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    1. Akash Winny Post author
      Hi Ly,

      The reason you are not getting any knowledge articles is because you need to manually attach. the knowledge articles. You can do so by going navigating to the categorization schema assigned to the knowledge article. In the categorization schema, you can select the category that you want to assign the knowledge article to. Once selected, you can hit the new/value help button to select the knowledge article and then manually assign the same.

      Regards,
      Akash

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      1. Ly Quoc Nguyen
        Hi Akash,

        Thank you very much for your help. The suggest Knowledge Article is now working.

        Please find below the steps of enabling the Suggest Knowledge Article button (courtesy of Akash)

        1.     Click on Service Operations in the navigation bar
        2.     In the search page, search for the categorization schema that is active and is being used for knowledge article
        3.     Navigate into the categorization schema and click on the edit button to make changes in the schema
        4.     Select a category in the categorization schema.
        5.     When you select it , on the right side there is an assignment block for knowledge article
        6.     Click on the New button and search for the knowledge article that you would like to assign to the category
        7.     Save the changes and make the categorization schema active

        Cheers,
        Ly Quoc Nguyen

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  5. Ini Antia
    We are installing TREX for CRM 7 and EIC please can you advise on how we can do this and also:
    1)Are you able to rank articles based on relevance to your questions in EIC – how is maintenance of the tool handled?
    2)Are you able to use TREX as an interface to external customers? It can not EIC agents use this feature? Do we need to build a separate interface?
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    1. Akash Winny Post author
      Hi Ini,

      1) TREX does allow to rank on the basis of the relevancy/frequency of the work that you have provided as a search parameter. This is currently not provided by default and will require some work. We have identified this and plan to address it as soon as possible.
      2) I am not sure what EIC means. Could you explain it to me? I can tell you what TREX does withregards to knowledge article search . TREX is a search engine. Currently, for KA we are using it within the system and unfortunately the search does not work outside the CRM for knowledge articles.For further information regarding TREX a good source would be http://help.sap.com/saphelp_crm70/helpdata/EN/48/72305df518055ee10000000a42189b/content.htm

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  6. Thimo Korffmann
    Hi,

    I hope anybody can help me out with this issue.
    We have succesfully created Knowledgearticles (KAs) and compiled them using TREX. By adding the KA Knowledgebase to the knowledge search profile, the KAs can be searched in the ICWC in WebUI application IC_KNOWS_SEARCH.
    But we are not able to search the note texts of the KA (solution description, problem description).
    Using transaction TREXADMIN, i can see that the texts are contained in the index as attribute note_text.
    But using the text search of the Knowledge search, only the KA description and the KA keywords are searched.
    What did we miss or is this the standard behaviour?

    Thanks for your help!
    Best regards,
    Thimo

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  7. B Tilak
    Hi Winny,
    Thanks for your article on KA.

    Can you kindly answer my questions below.

    1)It might a silly one;I have created a KA Transaction(with Categorization say A,B,C) saved it.I assign the same Transaction number  to the category modeller(lowest level). When I look for Suggest KA in a Service Request I find my related KA…So the question of TREX does not come into picture here.Do we really need TREX in this instance.

    2)In a service scenario using Solution data base(Knowledge Search) we were able to select a Auto suggested solution in the form of alerts;Once clicked on the same it navigates to Knowledge search(by setting up IC Rules).This helps us to send the attached solution  via email directly..
    I guess this type of feature is not supported using KA.Can you share your inputs plz.

    3)In IC Webclient once the related Knowledge is identified and assigend to the Service Request the selected Knowledge does not get defaulted on
    the “Search KA” workcenter.Then if the user has to email the KA he then has to search for the same
    KA(under “Search KA” workcenter)select and then email it.This is non user friendly.
    It would be beneficial to the user “Once the related KA is identified and assigend to the Service Request the selected KA should be defaulted on the “Search KA” workcenter.

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    1. Akash Winny Post author
      Hi Tilak,

      Please see my responses below:
      1) There are 2 ways in which you can view knowlegde articles suitable for a Service Request. 1 is the way in which you have defined below. In the other case there is a button called Find Knowledge Articles. Clicking on this would trigger a search using the categorization. For this you need the TREX.
      2) At the moment we dont directly allow you to email the suggested knowledge articles. Instead you can search for the knowledge articles,select them and email them to the customer.
      3) I wouldnt really agree with you here as many a times customers want a blank search so that the can enter the values they want. I understand the problem here is unable to directly email the knowledge article/s from the service request. I completely agree with you here.It is something that we have come across and have noted it down in our backlog list. We hope to address it soon.

      Regards,
      Akash Winny

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  8. Janakiram Lakkapragada
    Akash thank you so much for a detailed insight on Knowledge Articles and their usage.

    We are trying to get our hands around the functionality and have just started off with two sample KA’s created from the Manager Role. Now when we are trying to search them in the UI, its through a BSP_WD_EXCEPTION_DISPLAY message.

    I went through all the comments and questions for this article and I saw a lot of references to compiling a KA base etc. Isn’t this something that happens automatically after the creation of first article? Or are there any pre-requisite steps that need to be carried out before creating and searching for KA’s (in terms of BASIS doing any setups, CRM functional config etc)?

    Also these knowledge articles are considered to be working in tandem with Solution Database? Or are they replacing Solution Database?

    Cheers
    Jack

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    1. Akash Winny Post author
      Hi Jack,

      Once the Knowledge Articles, SAF and TREX are setup the the knowledge base for a specific language is created automatically as soon as create the first knowledge article in that language.
      Knowledge articles do not work in tandem with SDB. The purpose for Knowledge articles at the moment is to replace SDB. Please do note that we would continue to offer maintenance support to our customers who use SDB.

      Regards,
      Akash

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      1. Janakiram Lakkapragada
        Hi Akash,

                 Thank you so much for your reply and it looks like the EXCEPTION error we got in our case has something to do with TREX, SFA???? (not sure never really checked on these)

        Cheers
        Jack

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  9. Pablo Rodríguez Mateos
    Hi,

    we have been working for 10 months with KA, and they seem to be more powerful than older SDB functionality. We had to do some research regarding its configuration though. KA database was not created when we recorded the first KA, but TREX was working fine with SDB. So we decided to create KA base manually and configure compilation. You can check it in this thread:

    Compiling and searching Knowledge Articles

    Then follow steps in Best Practice C13 CRM Service Master Data regarding SAF configuration and Database compilation.

    Hope it helps.

    Regards.

    Pablo

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    1. Janakiram Lakkapragada
      Pablo thank you so much for your reply. I was looking at the BADI’s and there is a standard BADI for Knowledge Article.

      Now when I am creating my KB do I create one with the same name or do I have to execute the BADI first and then define my KB?

      Cheers
      Jack

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      1. Pablo Rodríguez Mateos
        Hi Jack,

        you have to assign your new KB (we named it KA) to proper BAdI implementation. So execute BAdI Knowledge Bases. Select CRM_SAF_KB_KA implementation, and I can’t remember if you have to edit or create. Anyway, once in the implementation screen, you have to create a filter KB Name = KA, save, and follow the steps in orther to compile it. As Akash says, a new KA index is automatically generated.

        Good luck. Regards

        Pablo

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    2. Akash Winny Post author
      Hi Pablo,

      I had actually checked with my dev and they have confirmed that when a KA is created a complete KB Index is created automatically. Do you have an OSS Message perhaps that I can look into ?

      Regards,
      Akash

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    3. Akash Winny Post author
      Hi Pablo,

      I had actually checked with my dev and they have confirmed that when a KA is created a complete KB Index is created automatically. Do you have an OSS Message perhaps that I can look into ?

      Regards,
      Akash

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    4. Akash Winny Post author
      Hi Pablo,

      I had confirmed with my dev colleagues as to whether  aKB Index is automatically created when the 1st KA in a particular language is created. It does so.

      Is there an OSS message that I can refer to

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  10. Alok Srivastava
    Hello Akash,

    Thanks for the nice blog. We have been able to successfully implement knowledge article with CRM 7 and it seems to be working fine. However I was wondering is there a way to control different version of Knowledge Article based on Status.

    For eg Say I have a knowledge Article in Published status. Now I want to make some updates to the KA. I then change the status to say Draft. The expected behavior is that the users continue to see the version of KA in published status, as we work on the draft version of KA. Once we review the draft version of KA and change the status to Published, all the users now access the updated version of KA?

    Thanks in advance for your response.

    Thanks
    Alok Srivastava

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    1. Akash Winny Post author
      Hi Alok,

      Unfortunately there is no status based version control in KA. I will definitely take this down in our backlog list.

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  11. Alok Srivastava
    Hello Akash,

    Thanks again for your earlier response. There has been a lot of request from users in my company to have some kind of support for Rich Text formatting for Knowledge Articles. Are you aware if there are any plans to enable any Rich Text support for Knowledge Articles in near future?

    Thanks
    Alok

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    1. Akash Winny Post author
      Hi Alok,

      I am sorry I took some time as I needed to get the input from another team. At the moment there isnt a plan to enable rich text for Knowledge Articles.

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  12. Mirza S. Baig
    Hello Everyone,

    SAP standard Knowledge Article transaction comes with 4 fields for “Subject” multi level categorization schema for these 4 subject fields.

    Can we enable/configure another set of 4 fields for “Reason” multi level categorization schema? In other words, we see both “subject” and “reason” fields for Service Requests and would like to see both in Knowledge articles.

    Would appreciate your input to see if this is possible and how?

    Thanks,
    MB. 

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  13. Kumar Kumar
    Hi,

    We have configured knowledge articles in CRM 7.0 but some how email option is not working from cart of knowledge article, we are using standard action profile for knowledge article transaction type.

    When I click on E-mail I am getting message no smartform is defined in the standard action profile.

    Pls let me know what went wrong.

    Appreciate your quick inputs on this.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Bharat

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  14. Tejas Chouhan

    Hi Akash Winny

    Thank you for the clear document.

    I was researching on knowledge articles. Though I am not from CRM area, being from abap background. Was curious where are these data getting saved in my backend system.

    I found one header table CRMD_ORDERADM_H , where I am able to get header level details like Knowledge article id, Posting date, Description.

    But I am not able to find table for following fields :

    Keywords

    Status

    Problem description

    Solution description

    Can anyone help here ?

    Or is there any standard rfc/bapi built in CRM backend ?

    Appreciate your response.

    Regards.

    Tejas

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  15. Azwan Nazran

    Hi All ,

    I got an message as below when trying to test search knowledge articles , how can fix that pop up information below ? I have configure all required step in  SPRO –> Customer Relationship Management –> Enterprise Intelligence –> Software Agent Framework –> Name and Configure Knowledge Base

    “Language was not specified and therefore set to logon language: English”

    You help is much appreacited .

    Thanks

    Lynn

     

    (0) 

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