Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) is nothing new. It promises to make service faster, better and more efficient. But before we talk about KCO – what is behind KCS and how does it work?
Knowledge-Centered Service is an approach that was originally developed in the field of IT as Knowledge-Centered Support and has evolved into Knowledge-Centered Service in version 6. Continued development is controlled by the Consortium for Service Innovation.
The basic idea of the approach is based on the assumption that improvements in service essentially originate in gathering knowledge and putting it into writing. The organization’s knowledge is made available to all, and applying this knowledge/information makes the organization more efficient and effective. “KCS is not something we do in addition to solving problems. KCS is the way we solve problems.”
These are the main benefits for organizations implementing KCS (see also: The KCS Academy Website):
- Solve cases / incidents faster
- Optimize use of resources
- Enable self-service strategy
- Build organizational learning
KCS is by no means a niche strategy for smaller organizations, but rather a success strategy used by many market leaders. Prominent examples of successful KCS initiatives include ServiceNow and Salesforce.
The KCS Academy offers further information about the organization, concepts and further education and certification offers.
The Essential Elements of KCS
The essential components of KCS include methodology, four basic principles and 10 core concepts (see also: Consortium for Service Innovation Website).
Unsurprisingly, the success essentially lies in the methodology and is not primarily dependent on the technologies used. The methodology can be summarised in 4 points (see also: The KCS Academy website):
- Integrate the reuse, improvement, and (if it doesn’t exist) creation of knowledge into the problem-solving process
- Evolve content based on demand and usage
- Develop a knowledge base of an organization’s collective experience to-date
- Reward learning, collaboration, sharing and improving
You Just Have to do it: the Knowledge-Centered Organization
If we look at organizations in general, the following question arises: How would a Knowledge-Centered Organization differ from a Knowledge-Centered Service approach? Does the approach need expanding? Does it require an overhaul? Our answer is as follows: There is no need for an overhaul; the current approaches bring gains in effectiveness and efficiency to every organization.
The Consortium for Service Innovation is constantly developing the approach further. From the perspective of information management, what would we want to bring into the discussion on the continued development of the standard? In our view; the methodology, principles and benefits offer additional aspects for further discussion.
KCS is largely a bottom-up approach. In the long term, we would place even more emphasis on the role of the Information Manager and, as well as the bottom-up concept, we would place a slightly stronger emphasis on the top-down element. The tasks of the Information Manager include limiting content to the bare essentials (less is more), avoiding redundancies for better maintainability, and aligning with stakeholder objectives.
For us, the Information Manager is the role that controls the entire knowledge/information management process in three areas:
- Manage Information
- Manage People: Information User, Information Provider, Stakeholder
- Manage Information Management Technology
See also the article on Operational Excellence Without Correctly Working Knowledge.
The Principles of KCS are: abundance, create value, demand driven and trust. Demand driven is an important part of every Knowledge-Centered Service/Knowledge-Centered Organization initiative and is essentially bottom-up driven. Knowledge is in the head of the individual and should be made available to all. In our experience, however, it is important not to tackle all areas at the same time. Here the rule is, “Think big, start small.” This is where the stakeholders come in. They set the goals and are responsible for prioritization. In larger organizations there are usually many stakeholders with very different interests. The Information Manager is responsible for managing the communication process between the stakeholders, for aligning goals and for overall prioritization.
For a modest amount of effort, KCS offers an enormous amount of added value for every organization. In addition to those mentioned by the Consortium (see also: The KCS Academy Website), we would like to emphasize three further advantages that result from a Knowledge-Centered Service/Knowledge-Centered Organization for every organization:
- Processes in the organization become faster and better
- The organization becomes more customer- and business-oriented
- Cooperation with suppliers and partners is improved
Rethinking Organizations and Processes: Cultural Change is Easy
Knowledge-Centered Service has proven its worth in practice and is leading to a cultural change in the organization. Efficiency and effectiveness increase with minimal initial effort. Even if further development can be useful at one point or another, the principles of Knowledge-Centered Service can basically already be applied to any organization today.