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Build new content, consolidate, and review your entire inventory

Discover how to create new knowledge articles and prepare your final inventory.

  • After you take inventory, identify your knowledge gaps and build content to fill them.
  • Before you put your new articles into a standard template, look for duplicates.

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

Now that you’ve collected your organization’s existing knowledge, the next step is to create new knowledge articles to fill in any remaining gaps in your KB.

Build new content

How do you get the information you need? You’ll find great information when you interview or survey your most knowledgeable HR experts. To find these experts, look for the people who are currently answering employee questions. While this process may be time consuming, it’s essential to ensure the success of your KB. Here’s what you should ask them:

What questions are you most commonly asked? These questions might include, "What is our vacation policy?" "does our company allow employees to work from home?" or "does our company offer a referral bonus for open positions?" Also think about what the different ways employees ask the same questions are and where the key information is currently stored.

The most frequently asked questions will differ from company to company and from region to region. It’s also important to ensure that your HR team is thinking broadly across the organization and not just about a certain employee group—ask about hourly employees or other global locations, for example. Though executives may use the KB less often, you’ll also need to include their frequently asked questions.

Once you have gathered what you consider to be the majority of your frequently asked questions, it’s time to write the responses to these questions. Think about how you would respond to the question based on who is asking it. You may have multiple answers for the same question, and you need to tag these answers accordingly so the right employee group can access them.

Using ServiceNow, you can create knowledge base articles directly from a case. This means you can save the time you would otherwise spend writing a new KB article from scratch.

Expert Tip

EXPERT TIP

Incentivize HR support agents to create or identify new content, like a $20 Starbucks gift card to agents who generate the most draft articles in a week.

Articles for global companies

Global organizations have the challenge of making sure articles address local needs:

  • Use different sections in articles as well as attachments and links for each region. These are often called snippets.
  • Consider creating different articles for the different regions so you can make them very specific and localized.

 

Expert Tip

EXPERT TIP

You can also manually key articles into ServiceNow.                                                        

Build your knowledge base with the consumer in mind

Your knowledge base can be either internal, external, or both. You could create a simple version with detailed information for your external knowledge base that employees can access, while simultaneously building an internal knowledge base with specific details for your HR support staff. This eliminates the need for separate training for new staff and also makes it quick for them to access information.

Your internal KB is available only to HR or shared services staff as a single source of truth and:

  • Ensures consistency of response across your organization
  • Allows organizations to train new HR support agents quickly
  • May include unique language that might help explain content to employees
     

Your external KB is searched by employees to get answers to HR‑related questions and:

  • Allows for greater Tier 0 service or self‑service
  • Includes content that is targeted to the audience
  • When combined with case management, drives greater self‑service


When writing knowledge base articles, give clear instructions in simple language for your readers to understand. It’s not wrong to be very granular, because what you believe might be a very commonplace thing for you might be difficult for your employees. Do not assume that your employees will understand what you know very well. Explain concisely and thoroughly.

Review, identify duplicates, and merge articles or policies

At this point, you’ve created knowledge categories and have placed your existing and newly created inventory of articles into categories. Now it’s time to:

  • Place articles into one central place for review. See Table 5 for a suggested folder structure.
  • Review each article for relevance and accuracy, ensuring each article is updated with the latest information.
  • Consider assigning a document reference number for each article. In speaking with one customer, they had other departments creating overlapping articles. For example, the Talent Management Center of Excellence created an article as part of the onboarding process that housed some benefits documents. Using a document reference number will help identify duplicates or overlapping articles and which COE the article belongs to. This helps with both SME review and ownership
  • Assign a content owner as part of the review process and have them participate in reviews and updates.
  • Make sure each article is placed in the proper category.
  • When duplicates are identified, merge articles as needed.

Folder name

Folder description

Pending review

Place all knowledge inventory into categorized folders (maybe on a network drive or file sharing site).

Review by SME complete

Content owners/SMEs:

  • Review inventory of articles being stored in a category folder
  • Update content as needed
  • Identify duplicates and merges articles as needed and retire duplicate articles not to be moved on (Note: Store these for a short period of time in case they need to be referenced in the later stages of the review process.)

Review by content writer complete

Content writer:

  • Reviews each article and make updates as needed
  • Polishes articles for consumption according to company brand, grammar, writing style, structure, and UX

Ready for template

After content writer(s) review is complete, place all articles into the final stage folder. They’re now ready for Stage 4 of this best practice.

Table 5: Suggested folder structure to review articles

Figure 7: Visual of the article review process

Figure 8: Lessons a ServiceNow customer learned from implementing knowledge management

Did you know…?

We talked to a few customers that narrowed down their knowledge base articles significantly after going through this process. Here’s what we learned:

  • An enterprise ServiceNow customer reviewed over 100K documents globally and consolidated them into a few thousand knowledge articles ready for consumption.
  • An engineering consulting customer reviewed over 6K documents and narrowed down to only 60 articles at deployment
Did you know…?

We talked to a few customers that narrowed down their knowledge base articles significantly after going through this process. Here’s what we learned:

  • An enterprise ServiceNow customer reviewed over 100K documents globally and consolidated them into a few thousand knowledge articles ready for consumption.
  • An engineering consulting customer reviewed over 6K documents and narrowed down to only 60 articles at deployment

Explore additional phases

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