What is Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) and Why is It Important?

12/05/2017 by: Jaime Spector

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As we head further into a future forged by digital transformation, IT’s obligation to minimizing the ever-increasing volume of requests on the service desk is paramount to the overall success of the business. It’s crucial for ITSM teams to be productive and make the most of their time. However, when roughly 67% of service desks spend the majority of their days in the trenches, firefighting low-level requests and incidents, important tasks tied to service improvement tend to take a backseat due to an unrelenting ticket queue.

For these reasons, ITSM has become increasingly more reliant on self-service solutions that more effectively engage their end users while reducing the amount of low-level tickets that permeate the help desk. With that said, IT staff aren’t the only ones that benefit from highly operative self-service. End users would much prefer to quickly find a solution themselves rather than wait in a queue for days at a time. Harvard Business Review says that 81 percent of customers try to self-serve before reaching out to a customer service rep for help.

The problem, however, is that many organizations struggle to implement strong Knowledge Management processes that encourage engagement of self-service alternatives. Self-service portals are often stagnant, unresponsive, or not properly maintained by a service desk team that is bottlenecked by other short-term priorities.

Defining Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS)    

One methodology that aims to solve this issue is called Knowledge-Centered Support (also known as Knowledge-Centered Service). According to the KCS Academy’s own Consortium for Service Innovation, KCS can be defined as:

“…a proven methodology for integrating the use, validation, improvement, and creation of knowledge into the workflow. Inherent in the methodology is a process of continuous improvement that is based on the experience of those doing the work and the patterns that emerge from knowledge reuse.”        

KCS mandates that the creation and upkeep of knowledge must be fully-integrated into key support operations. In other words, support documentation and knowledge base articles are not relegated as “to-dos” whenever a technician has free time. Instead, the onus of knowledge management is made to be a collective effort, where the capture, curation, and improvement of knowledge is continuously performed across the organization.

 

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How Does KCS Work?

The goals of KCS are ultimately to:

  • Increase the efficiency of knowledge dissemination by reusing, improving, and creating throughout integrated support operations
  • Continuously improve the quality of content that supports knowledge within the organization
  • Maintain an up-to-date knowledge base via the collective efforts of cross-department collaboration
  • Improve customer sentiment and engagement of public-facing knowledge and support resources

To accomplish these goals, KCS sets in motion a continuous loop process that perpetually captures knowledge alongside end user requests, structures its content based on repeatable forms and/or templates, and improves itself as knowledge is collectively referenced throughout support operations. The process is very similar to crowd-sourced databases like Wikipedia. Content is built out incrementally by a collective, so mistakes and updates are made and course-corrected very quickly, as long everyone sticks to the rules of the process.

Evolving for the Future

As technology evolves, AI and smart automation will help to improve self-service by improving the dissemination of knowledge to end users. These new innovations will only serve to improve the KCS foundation, as chatbots, machine learning and big data can better automate the capture, structure and reuse of knowledge throughout IT service management operations.

For instance, let’s say an end user queries a chatbot on the self-service portal about a newly discovered bug related to a recent operating system update. The system can intelligently analyze the query using natural language processing, automatically create and pre-populate a templated KB article, and then immediately notify a help desk technician to complete the task of approving the article. KCS only stands to become more efficient as technology advances.

 Knowledge-Centered Support is a key strategy for improving self-service for IT organizations across all verticals. Have anything to share regarding KCS or ITSM Knowledge Management? Let us know in the comments below!

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| kcs / knowledge management / self-service

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Jaime Spector

Jaime Spector

Jaime is the Product Marketing Manager at SunView Software and feature writer for the SunView Blog. He enjoys writing about all things related to technology, IT, and IT Service Management.

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