A common understanding and realistic expectation about knowledge and the knowledge base is critical for a successful KCS adoption. We must develop an appreciation for knowledge and its attributes. Knowledge is not perfect, pristine, static or approved by experts. It is messy, constantly changing and validated through use.
We also need to acknowledge that not all knowledge is the same. KCS enables organizations to capitalize on the collective experience of the knowledge workers: we call this experience based knowledge while at the same time controlling knowledge that has compliance requirements such as company policy or legal and regulatory information: we call this compliance based knowledge. The governance (who can create or edit) of compliance based articles is restrictive where the governance of experience based articles is open. Each organzation must decide what types of knowledge fit into each category and to what degree the governance is restricted or open. Keeping in mind the principle of abundance, the more knowledge eligible for a broad audience of editors and creators the move valuable the knowledge base will be.
KCS seeks to capture the collective experience of the organization and manage the risks of knowing that this collective experience (knowledge) is:
Gained through interaction and experience
Never 100% complete or accurate
Validated through use (not by subject matter experts)
Acknowledging the true nature and attributes of knowledge is one of a number of required shifts in thinking and culture for a successful KCS adoption. For most organizations, the adoption of KCS represents a major shift in thinking. It requires a shift in the organization's culture (values and focus) from:
Individual to Team
Activity to Value Creation
Completion to Evolution
Escalation to Collaboration
Content to Context
Knowing to Learning and Sharing
KCS is a journey, not a destination. We hope that the KCS Practices Guide will provide some direction. This guide is a compilation of the proven practices of KCS from the problem solving and individual daily workflows, to content quality management, to insights for team leadership and performance assessment. We break out the eight practices of the KCS methodology into two reinforcing loops:
Leadership & Communication
The concept of double loop processes, as opposed to linear processes, is taken from research in the complex adaptive systems area. We will describe more about the double loop concept in the next section.
After an overview of the double loop process, we provide a description of each practice area. We discuss techniques, concepts, and vocabulary and in many cases cover implementation variations and lessons learned. We emphasize the practical experience captured through years of work with support teams around the world. The experience across the membership also reflects a variety of support environments:
Internal as well as customer facing
Low volume, high complexity as well as high volume, low complexity
Software, hardware and network environments
Enterprise, small to medium business and consumer customers
We should note that the KCS principles apply to any information or knowledge intensive business, not just technical support. A number of members are adopting KCS across their entire company. They are implementing the KCS practices in HR, legal, marketing, sales, product management and development organizations.