Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) is a methodology and a set of practices and processes that focus on knowledge as a key asset of the customer/technical support organization. Unlike the traditional add-on process of knowledge engineering, KCS is an integral part of day-to-day operation in support centers. KCS becomes the way people solve problems and creates knowledge as a by-product of problem solving.
While KCS is enabled by technology, KCS is primarily about people. People are the source of knowledge. KCS has proven that the best people to capture and maintain support knowledge are the people who create and use it every day - the support analysts.
Goals of KCS are:
1. Create content as a by-product of solving problems, which is also known as incident management process, as well as the problem management process. As support analysts capture information related to an incident, they create knowledge that can be reused within the support process by other support analysts as well as customers with access to a self-service knowledge base.
2. Evolve content based on demand and usage. As people interact with the knowledge base within the incident management process, they should review it before delivering the knowledge to a customer. If they discover the need to correct or enhance the knowledge, they will fix it at that time or flag it for another person to fix it if they do not have the access authority to the knowledge base. Under this model, knowledge is evolved just-in-time based on demand instead of just-in-case. This lowers the cost of knowledge management.
3. Develop a knowledge base from an organization's collective experience to date. New knowledge capture within the incident management process is an experience resulting from one interaction. This knowledge has not been validated or verified beyond the initial incident. Thus the initial knowledge is not as trusted in this state, which is referred to as Draft knowledge.
It is not until reuse occurs that trust is increased. At some point the knowledge will be marked as trusted and either approved for internal use or published for self-service. The knowledge base under the KCS methodology includes knowledge that is at different states of trust and visibility. The collective experiences to date challenges the traditional thinking that all knowledge in a knowledge base must be perfect, validated, and highly trusted.
4. Reward learning, collaboration, sharing and improving. The culture of the organization should change to recognize the value of an individual based on the knowledge they share that enables the organization to be more effective and efficient.
KCS breaks through the limitations of current support strategies and enables support organizations to deliver greater value with more efficiency. The secret? Capitalizing on what they already have - knowledge. This increased value is created and managed by capturing the collective experience of solving problems and answering questions, making it reusable, and evolving it to reflect organizational-level knowledge.
KCS takes teamwork to a new level. The organization must shift to a perspective that sees knowledge as an asset owned and maintained by the team, not by an individual or a small group of dedicated content creators. The focus of the team is to capture and improve the collective knowledge, not only to solve individual customer issues, but also to improve organizational learning.
For optimum performance, KCS practices and the tools that support them must be integrated with other support and business systems, including incident management, change management, and service level management processes and systems.
Companies that have implemented KCS in both their internal and external support organizations are reporting dramatic improvements in incident resolution, training times, in customer satisfaction, and in analyst job satisfaction. As a result, they are realizing substantial savings in operating costs at the same time they are seeing improvements in service levels.