Knowledge Articles – or “how end users will find the help articles they are looking for”

The Service Manager portal offers a possibility to publish Knowledge Articles to consumers. This is a great thing, especially when articles are “connected” to Service Offerings or Request Offerings so that they are available at the correct place. But for articles that are not linked to offerings, e.g. articles that are used by consumers to help themselves to resolve issues, it can be very hard to find the correct articles. There is a search box that allows to find articles quickly, but when the wrong key/search words are used, the result list may be empty. Read on to see another approach of structuring knowledge articles on the portal.

This is how the default search looks like. Often end users are reporting that they cannot find the correct articles in here.

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A way to solve this is to structure the articles in a way that consumers are comfortable with – for instance it makes sense to use a product or technology-based structure. This is how the end result could look like: users access the portal and will find a Service Offering called something like “Help Articles”.

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When they choose the Service Offering, multiple Request Offerings are presented. These offerings are used as “containers” or “groups” for help articles.

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Inside every Request Offering, related articles are displayed that can now be opened by consumers. The “Go to Request Form” button that normally appears top right is not displayed as it is not used in this scenario.

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With such a structure, consumers can find articles more easily. But how was this built? Here are the steps …

1. KB Articles

First create and publish the needed KB articles.

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2. Create a Service Request Template

Because we are using Request Offerings, we will need a Service Request Template. This is only used as a “dummy”, so you dont have to configure the template.

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3. Create a Service Offering

Now create a Service Offering called “Help Articles” or something and publish it.

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4. Create Request Offerings

Create multiple Request Offerings. Use the Service Request Template created in step 2 and choose a MP.

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Now link the desired knowledge base articles and publish the Request Offering.

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5. Add Request Offerings to Service Offering

Now it’s time to link the ROs with the SO.

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6. Remove Button

As a last step I want to remove the “Go to Request Form” button from the Request Offerings because I dont want users to go to the form (that does not really exists). This can only be done with some XML editing. So export the MP that holds the Offerings and open it in your favorite XML editor. Then search for the Request Offerings.

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Now change the file so that the button will be hidden.

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Actually that’s it. Pretty easy but maybe very helpful. Have fun!

Marcel

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6 Responses to Knowledge Articles – or “how end users will find the help articles they are looking for”

  1. Pingback: Categorizing Knowledge Articles - System Center: Service Manager Engineering Team Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

  2. Oscar Aguilar says:

    Hi Marcel

    I want to know how can i list and use all my KB when i make click into the button “Help Articles”, ’cause only show me the find option, but i would like present the list.

    Best Regards
    Oscar

    • Pete barbuto says:

      I would also like to know how to show the KB knowledge articles by default. Having to search is a bit of a pain while the SSP is already cumbersome.

  3. Fabian says:

    Hi Marcel,

    thanks for that post. Can you help me a bit. I have 110 help articles, all for publishing into the Self Service Portal. But i don’t find the “publish this online”-Button. :)

    Thank you!
    Greetings,
    Fabian

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