Knowledge Base Structure and Process for Improved Usability and Reduced Support Costs
IT giant Lenovo faced several challenges in supporting its knowledge base for LanSchool, the company’s cloud-based classroom management solution. Designed as a critical resource for its user community, the knowledge base needed significant improvement, as users were not able to easily find the content they were looking for and, when they did, it could be difficult to understand. The issues included:
- Inconsistent organization of information made it difficult for users to find the specific content.
- Content was written in ‘developer speak,’ which was not appropriate for the target audience of elementary school teachers and administrators.
- Fluctuations in the availability of the Lenovo team often delayed updates to the knowledge base.
- Lack of coordination across the Lenovo team could result in multiple people addressing the same issue or providing conflicting information.
While there was a significant amount of useful content in the knowledge base, Lenovo knew it was imperative to address these issues so that users could derive more value from LanSchool, and Lenovo could reduce its internal support costs.
Orbis Technologies began the engagement with a discovery phase that gave us insights into the Lenovo team’s operational challenges, as well as an understanding of how and why end-users were using the knowledge base. Orbis mapped out the current processes supporting the knowledge base, such as who could post articles and which subject matter experts needed to review content. With this baseline established, Orbis then began implementing improvements in three major areas:
- Tools and Processes: Orbis Technologies defined a new workflow for developing/updating articles, developed a process for tracking delivery dates, and moved the development of the articles to Trello, a platform that was already being used within Lenovo.
- Organization: Orbis established three levels of articles — general topics and product information, teacher-specific topics, and technical topics and issues. We also ensured that articles were focused, eliminated redundancies, and provided links between relevant topics. In addition, we applied new naming conventions in order to make navigating the knowledge base more intuitive.
- Writing Quality: Orbis began eliminating the developer-speak and ensured that each article’s content was both relevant and written for end-users. We also defined standard terms and applied a common ‘voice’ across all articles, which made it easier for end-users to understand the content and also promoted the use of the knowledge base as a primary support tool.
The enhancements to the LanSchool knowledge base were well received internally and, based on the increased use by end-users, externally as well. In fact, based on this success, Lenovo has replicated the knowledge base structure and processes Orbis introduced to support another product line. Orbis was also engaged to provide ongoing support for the knowledge base, allowing us to become an integrated part of the LanSchool product support team.