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I have been searching for a tool to help my team organize its knowledge for resolving recurring support cases.

Context: our team is developing and supporting an huge applications (lots of different screens and workflow processes. We already have a good tool for managing our documentation, but we are struggling with support cases.
Support action involve often quite a lot of manual steps to fix stuff and the knowledge for these actions is more 'oral transmission' than modern tools.

We need an efficient way to store them in a knowledge base to be able to retrieve similar cases based on patterns (a stacktrace, an error message, a component name, a workflow step, ...) and ranked by similarity.

Our wiki search is not very powerful when it come to this kind of search and the team members don't want to 'waste' time writing a report that will never be found...

Do you know efficient knowledge base tool for this kind of use case ?

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closed as not constructive by Walter, GlenH7, Robert Harvey, Ryathal, thorsten müller Nov 28 '12 at 9:18

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I know this isn't really what you're looking for but I do the same sort of work and everything tends to get sorted out at the dev support stand-up. We have a few wiki pages for some standard fixes but people rarely use any written documentation other than the business specs so there seems little point in extending it. –  Inverted Llama Nov 26 '12 at 11:25
Store each case details in a separate file. What is wrong with that? –  Emmad Kareem Nov 26 '12 at 12:43
@EmmadKareem I think every software house already does that the issue is that cases repeat and some cases may be different but related to the same route cause ect –  Inverted Llama Nov 26 '12 at 13:35

1 Answer 1

I've found wikis to be the best tool for this kind of thing by far. Of course you need one with good full text search, possibly a WYSIWYG editor, and users need to learn how to use it well (mainly by choosing search patterns likely to be unique for the specific problem).

But the big advantage is that it's easy to add and edit entries, and include all necessary information. This is absolutely crucial. If users balk at adding content for fear that it won't be useful, imagine how much worse it would be if the system forced them to fill out 20 metadata fields and make difficult classification decisions.

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Hi Michael, we already have a wiki with WISIWYG, which is good and we are happy to use it for our regular documentation. But when it comes to organize and search across support resolution the it is useless... We need something really aimed for this kind of usecase. –  Guillaume Nov 26 '12 at 11:48
@Guillaume I think you could tailor it to support development if you wanted to. Just give each type of issue a separate page and use categories if it becomes too big to be handle. I think the bigger issue is getting people to contribute to any system, allocate some time to actually writing the documentation instead of just expecting it to be done. –  Inverted Llama Nov 26 '12 at 13:40
@Guillaume: In my experience, full text search is the only useful tool for that usecase - you just need to use it better. Millions of support requests each day are resolved by people searching via Google. –  Michael Borgwardt Nov 26 '12 at 13:46
what wiki are you using? Maybe it's not too suited for what you are trying? –  stijn Nov 26 '12 at 15:32
We are using confluence and the search result are often not good for this kind of stuff: either too much pages are found or no page at all. It is also hard to browse all issues as a table for quick glances. Google is working with text, but I don't think they are using a simple 'contains' operation... I don't disagree about using a wiki: that what we are using now! It is much about having a proper tool to be more efficient. In a way I'm feeling being advised to use a wiki when I'm looking for something closer to a bug tracking system. –  Guillaume Nov 26 '12 at 15:37

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