By Rob Teel

As I’m sure you already know, if you can teach your end users to do some troubleshooting on their own, you’re sure to save your support folks some time. In my IT shop, we’ve developed an interactive knowledge base that has significantly cut down on IT’s time and effort. We post troubleshooting and procedural steps to some of the more common situations that may arise for an end user. Our knowledge base is actually an open source arrangement, because if our end users have a solution, they’re also able to post it themselves (after our review, of course) in a Tips & Tricks area.

To help you get a sense of how this knowledge base would work in your enterprise, TechRepublic is offering two examples from our Tips & Tricks database. You can download them here.

The first tip you’ll get is our battery backup tip. This tip has saved us a lot of time because my company is housed in an older building that gives us regular brownouts and power fluctuations. We would regularly get calls about beeps and flashing lights. These calls were easy to resolve, but they still required the IT staff’s time. This addition to our Tips & Tricks section of our knowledge base has almost totally eliminated our trouble calls concerning battery backups.

The second tip in the download is one that acquaints users with e-mail archiving in Novell’s GroupWise. Getting users to archive their e-mail can be an arduous task for any IT department. There is a magical balance between what the users are actively using and what can be archived. Any kind of auto archiving disseminated over the network could quickly create problems and demand lots of productivity hours for our department. This tip instructs users on how to archive their mail themselves, preventing hundreds of phone calls from users asking, “How do I archive my e-mail?” after we send out an agency reminder for people to archive. Now when we send out an archive reminder to our users, we simply include a link to the instructions in Tips & Tricks.