This blog is a starting point to what will be a series of blogs with the goal of providing resources and guidance to those wanting to create knowledge. These being blogs, are by definition my experiences and my soap box – but I do hope that this will add some value to everyone. The blogs will be written for both external SAP customers and Internal SAP customers (employees if you will). This means some of the content may not directly apply to external members of SCN, but even then it will provide a peek at how SAP support works, or at least should work.
We all have large blocks of knowledge acquired through our work. But how best to disseminate this knowledge is a question brought about not because at SAP we have few avenues to do so, rather it is because we have so many. Perhaps too many… The most compelling reason for creating and sharing knowledge is to help all of us and most importantly our customers help themselves.
Why Share Your Knowledge
The reasons for sharing are many. They include the following, but no doubt the list is not complete:
- Sharing knowledge is part of the job
- Easy to find help reduces stress for everyone
- Making SAP products more easily usable
- Highlighting better ways to use SAP products
- Exposing known issues
- Describing work-arounds or alternative solutions
- Sharing is good – It feels good to share (Remember your mom told you so?)
Why not to Share Your Knowledge
The number of reasons we can decide to not share knowledge would probably create another long list. But, perhaps the most usual reasons are:
If I tell em my secrets, they will not need me.
Understandable argument, nevertheless it is a false argument. Since Business Objects became part of SAP I have created close to 700 pieces of Knowledge – from KBAs / Notes, to Wikis to Blogs, Articles and more. I still don’t particularly feel threatened that I’ve spilled it all and there is nothing more to share, so good bye SAP.
I don’t have the time. My manager is such a stick in the mud he won’t give me the time
Some knowledge takes minutes to create. A typical KBA should not take more than 15minutes. A blog should also be a rather easy content to pen as this is you talking. Just go and do it. Do it your way. Or, create a Jive Document a paragraph at a time.
Finally, the following is from an internal SAP blog that encourages Knowledge sharing through a fictional character called Sid:
I just don’t get it! I mean surely we have our own way of managing the knowledge in our heads! Why should I care about it?
I know how to help my customers. I know what their problems are and I help them. Why do I need Knowledge Management?
Really, the above tells me more about the person than they’d want me, or anyone to know. In a nutshell, I’d call them selfish and insecure.
How is Sharing Knowledge Helping?
Ever hear; Solve Once. Share Often? This phrase speaks to efficiency and thus the ease of use of any product. Sharing eliminates repeating the same information over and over and over. Most of the assets in what I’ll call the SAP Knowledge Toolbox display how many times the particular asset has been viewed. Perhaps not a perfect number, but a number that can be used as a guide. As an example, the Jive Document entitled How to WYSIWYG SAP Crystal Reports Export to XLS had 60 views within one day, almost 200 views in less than three days(!). Presumably this knowledge helped a few of those that viewed the content, thus relieving stress, helping to understand how the product works and deflecting a phone call or two.
Unfortunately, the usage numbers for KBAs and Articles are either completely lacking, or highly insufficient. In a perfect world a Dashboard collecting and reporting the data in one place would be great, but well, maybe one day. Bottom line is; it is possible to get an idea about the usefulness of most created knowledge.
In the next blog (Sharing Knowledge Is Not That Hard – Basic Tips) I will introduce the SAP Knowledge Toolbox available to most everyone to share their Knowledge.
Sharing Knowledge Is Not That Hard – SAP Idea Place