KM Component 9 – KM User Assistance and Knowledge Help Desks

Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

May 20, 2021

User assistance and knowledge help desks are people and processes that provide support to users via phone, email, chat, enterprise social network (ESN), and screen sharing. 

This includes tool consulting, finding reusable content, connecting to knowledge sources, process support, training, communication, and other assistance.

In addition to the tasks described in KM User Assistance: The Knowledge Help Desk, user assistants participate in ongoing training and communications. They host webinars. They help people with training. They communicate information on a regular basis to employees. The knowledge assistant is someone to contact with a question about how to do something, where to find something, or for assistance with any process or tool.

For details on how HP implemented a knowledge help desk program, see Knowledge Advisors at Hewlett-Packard: Connecting People with Information by Chris Riemer and Pam Coulter Enright. Here are three job descriptions used for the HP Knowledge Advisors.

1. HP Knowledge Advisor Job Description – Generic

Role Description:

  • Assist with our strategic tools and processes within the Knowledge Network
  • Help users get up to speed on the Project Profile Repository, SharePoint, Forums, Knowledge Briefs, and other KM tools
  • Facilitate collaboration needs
  • Direct users to the right knowledge sources based on their specific needs
  • Assist users in searching for collateral and knowledge
  • Actively offer assistance to project teams
  • Review project profiles submitted for compliance to quality standards, and follow up as required to improve quality
  • Solicit user feedback
  • Conduct training
  • Participate in other user support initiatives
  • Participate in the Worldwide Knowledge Advisors team

Skills Profile:

  • Good people and communications skills
  • Able to quickly learn about tools and processes
  • Eager to be of help to users
  • Experience in one or more of the following areas: knowledge management, collaboration, help desks, intranet/Internet searching, peer-to-peer networking

2. HP Knowledge Advisor Job Description – UK

Major Responsibilities:

  • Adhere to the Knowledge Advisors processes
  • Resolve and, where appropriate, escalate queries raised by users where they include:
  1. Queries on how to use KM tools
  2. Requests for help in finding people or documentation
  3. Requests for help in design and set up of km tools for a business purpose/problem
  4. Queries related to bugs, access issues and file restoration with KM tools
  5. Requests for more information about KM processes
  • Provide feedback on the issues raised by the business to the wider KM function
  • Where requests are made that do not fall into these categories, they should be passed on to the relevant group/individual

Organizational Linkage:

  • Part of a Worldwide team of Knowledge Advisors – provide support to other team members
  • Well connected to main organizational areas of business

Minimum Role Qualifications/Skills:

  • understanding of KM strategy, principles, and enthusiasm for KM and its benefits
  • good understanding of TSG business and its needs/drivers
  • good communications skills
  • good technical understanding of tools and how to apply them
  • training skills
  • consultative approach
  • facilitation skills
  • fast thinker and flexible attitude
  • happy to ask for help and to support colleagues

3. HP Knowledge Advisor Job Description – Asia Pacific Region

Role Objective:

  • Help drive the Knowledge Capture and Reuse processes within Asia Pacific (AP) by assisting Bid Managers, Project Managers (PMs), Solution Architects (SAs), and Consultants in accessing and using Engagement Knowledge Management processes systems and tools.
  • Provide advice and KM consulting to project teams and individuals to increase reuse and repeatability across the region.
  • Network with Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs) and other AP and Worldwide KM resources to identify and deliver required knowledge, expertise or collateral to K-Advisor callers requesting assistance.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Act as a broker to connect people to the appropriate SMEs
  • Where appropriate provide expert advice based on personal subject matter expertise
  • Assist users in searching for selling and delivery reusable collateral.
  • Assists users that are wishing to contribute new or improved collateral for possible reuse
  • Help users get up to speed on the Project Profile Repository, SharePoint, Forums, Knowledge Briefs, and other KM tools
  • Facilitate collaboration needs
  • Direct users to the right knowledge sources based on their specific needs
  • Actively advice and guide project teams especially at bid development or project startup to ensure their collaboration workspace are established effectively and efficiently as well as to encourage the teams to search for Project profiles of similar projects to leverage and share.
  • Solicit user feedback
  • Conduct training on KM process, systems and tools
  • Participate in other user support initiatives
  • Provide Monthly AP K-Advisor report with key metrics, issues/problems with KM process, systems and tool, and recommendations


  • Good people and communications skills
  • Able to quickly learn about tools and processes
  • Eager to be of help to users
  • Subject matter expert in a solution set or discipline, e.g., PM, SA, Test Manager
  • Demonstrated understanding of C&I business initially, later expanding to the other business units
  • Excellent planning and organization skills, tracking and monitoring a range of activities at any one time
  • Good analytical and decision-making skills
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Intellectually curious, actively keeps abreast of knowledge developments
  • Uses own initiative, demonstrates a creative approach to problem solving
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Drive and resilience to achieve challenging objectives
  • Calm and collected, even when under pressure maintaining a high level of performance


  • 3-5 years’ team leader/project manager/solution architect experience
  • 2-3 years’ business pursuit/customer engagement experience
Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

Please read Stan’s additional blog posts offering advice and insights drawn from many years as a KM practitioner. You may also want to download a copy of his book, Proven Practices for Implementing a Knowledge Management Program, from Lucidea Press.  And learn about Lucidea’s Inmagic Presto and SydneyEnterprise with KM capabilities to support successful knowledge curation and sharing.

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