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Confluence Knowledge Base with Jira Service Desk: Tips and Tricks


Posted by
Jamie Newham

January 25, 2018

If you work in the realm of ITSM, you’ve probably heard the term knowledge base thrown around. Yet what exactly is a knowledge base and do you really need one?

In a nutshell, a knowledge base is a self-service library, documenting useful information about your services, products and topics. We’re talking about your HR information, troubleshooting guides for software bugs, project timelines, contacts, or ultimately anything else you want to include. However, a great knowledge base is much more than just a collection of pages – it’s built up of accurate, concise, useful and easily searchable data that satisfies its users demands for instant solutions. It will also deliver knowledge in multiple formats: text, images, diagrams, videos and instructional guides.

Creating and maintaining a top-notch knowledge base isn’t completely a walk in the park, however the rewards it brings are significant. You’ll find its one of the cheapest, least hands-on and most efficient ways of solving problems and keeping your users happy. Think about removing all the time and effort your service desk agents spend solving simple and tedious problems that crop up over and over again. A knowledge base can handle these high volume, simple customer and user interactions directly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! You’ll become accustomed to higher resolution rates, lower costs, greater customer satisfaction and be able to provide a more consistent service.

Getting convinced by the benefits is the easy part. However, what do you need to keep in mind when creating your knowledge base for Jira Service Desk?

Five tips for how to use a Confluence knowledge base with Jira Service Desk

Confluence is Atlassian’s collaboration and documentation tool to manage teams at the enterprise level. Fortunately, Atlassian has made it easy for Jira Service Desk customers to deploy an on-demand Confluence Knowledge Base for free – you’ll only need to pay for users who author content. Here are some concepts to help get you started:

  1. Only use one Confluence space to sort your content. Jira Service Desk uses a one-to-one relationship between a space and a Service Desk project, so splitting your content across multiple spaces in this scenario will be limiting. That being said, organizing your content within the space with logical parent and child pages is vital! Managing your page tree effectively will allow your content to be more viable and easier to find.
  2. Categorize your content! Although we can use the key word search functionality in Confluence, in most cases this won’t be targeted enough. Using Confluence labels will really make it easier to find information. You can use the Confluence macro to display content by labels and even map your service desk requests to specific labels to bring back the most relevant content. Trust me, spend time categorizing your content – it’ll pay off!
  3. Standardize your content with templates. Out-of-the-box Confluence has knowledge base templates for how to articles, troubleshooting articles, etc., however I also recommend spending time creating your own. Templates are an excellent way to remove barriers between content creation and management.
  4. Improve your content and listen to your user base! Maintaining, changing, improving and adding to your content is a must for any knowledge base. Were all those hours you put into producing flashy how to videos worthwhile? Or would the users prefer a simple page, could that be quicker and easier? The only way you will know is to ask for feedback. Using comments and suggestions for improvements on knowledge base articles is a great way to start – you may even want to consider using the Survey and Vote Macros app from the Atlassian Marketplace.
  5. Connect your knowledge base to Jira Service Desk… okay this last one isn’t really a tip, more of an obligation.

Setting up your Confluence knowledge base with Jira Service Desk

Linking your Confluence knowledge base to Jira Service Desk is straightforward and will give you plenty of extra benefits. If you haven’t yet done this, here’s what to do (in four easy steps!):

  1. Make sure your Confluence and Jira Service Desk are connected – applications links are the way to go here. These reciprocal links allow Confluence to talk to Jira Service Desk and vice versa, and the integration is seamless. You can configure the application links in the administration section of either application by using OAuth.
  2. You’ll want to allow Jira Service Desk to link to the Confluences knowledge base, so in the project settings enable linkage to a Confluence Space and allow unlicensed user access (assuming you want users and customers without a Confluence license to be able to view the knowledge base content).
  3. In your permissions, you’ll need to enable unlicensed user access in Confluence global permissions once connected to Jira Service Desk. You should also check your space permissions to verify that there aren’t any restrictions here that would limit content access.
  4. Back into Jira Service Desk now – link to the specific knowledge base space and test you can access via the customer portal.

The benefits of linking your knowledge base to Jira Service Desk

Well, apart from the numerous ones I mentioned above, here are a few more accolades to add to the list:

  • Your customers, users and whoever can now view your knowledge base content straight from within Jira Service Desk. No need for a Confluence license and the process is quick and intuitive.
  • Jira Service Desk will automatically recommend knowledge base articles depending on the customers’ request. All they have to do is head to the portal as they did before and Jira Service Desk will suggest recommended articles as they begin to type. (Hence why getting the categorization and request types set up correctly earlier is worth the effort!)

  • Standard searching works great when you have your labels and request type mappings set up and managed effectively, however Smart Graph – Atlassians machine learning based searching algorithm – takes it to the next level. It learns from past request types and key words used to create new associations for you. The more portals, articles and requests, the more associations are created and the quicker and more effective the search becomes. You don’t need to know how or why it works – just enjoy the benefits.
  • Knowledge base insights allows you to review the built-in deflected and resolved requests. These insight reports make it possible to see how your customers are responding to your content.

If you haven’t already, my final point is…

Get your Confluence knowledge base up and running with Jira Service Desk as soon as possible!

As always, if you want or need some guidance feel free to get in touch – Valiantys have the skills and expertise to put you on the right track for a great knowledge base!