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KCS: Ask an Expert

This is a place to ask your burning questions about KCS and have them answered by the community that develops and maintains the KCS methodology.


Responders may include Consortium for Service Innovation staff, Consortium Innovators, and KCS Certified Trainers.  


It's always a good idea to search KCS documentation before asking a question; the search bar in the upper right will return results from this Q&A as well as from the extensive KCS documentation provided in this library. 


A list of questions is below (most recent last), or ask yours in the comment box (registration required).


Viewing 15 of 15 comments: view all
I'm trying an experiment. I am working on correlating KB article view counts created for a particular product with new cases for that product. I know there are several factors for a fluctuation in new cases created (like sales and product quality); however, is there a case study drawing conclusions contrasting KB metrics with new cases? Thank you. --Josine, Juniper Networks
Posted 05:43, 17 Sep 2017
My organization is interested in using some of the KCS methodologies, but our compliance team has blocked us from proceeding.
We provide support and service to FDA medical devices, and currently we have support and service teams where the individuals are all utilizing their own personal knowledge (notepad files, onenote, access DBs, etc).
We were going to begin documenting our calls in such a way that they get flagged for review by our subject matter experts, who correct/modify and then approve for publishing (internally) so they can be searched and used by our support and service teams.
The compliance team says that these published calls can't be created/used, but turns acknowledges that there's no regulation on each person having their own notes.
I worked at a previous organization where this very same issue was raised, but eventually the legal team was provided with something that allowed them to approve the process. I wasn't part of the legal discussions at my prior organization.

Can anyone provide any kind of reference to a webpage or KCS resource that I could have our legal team evaluate to understand the value and legality of KCS in a FDA regulated environment? To be clear, none of the cases will ever be made customer-facing (everything will stay internal). Thank you
Posted 19:53, 27 Sep 2017
@Josine - Unfortunately, one of the best case studies for this comes from you guys! (Do you remember @Keith Redfield's "Scary Snake" chart?) @Peter Case also made this a centerpiece of his KDE "Choose Your Own Adventure" program which he presented to us in Orlando last year: see https://docs.google.com/a/serviceinnovation.org/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=c2VydmljZWlubm92YXRpb24ub3JnfHdpa2l8Z3g6N2E1NGY4ODc4MzlhODkx

I think Peter's presentation implies a good point. If you look at reduced case volume associated with a self-service article in general, many factors could contribute. But if you go target an article, and following Evolve Loop work, the links to that article go way down, you can make a pretty compelling argument that it was because of what you did. So I think the targeting is key.

(I'm not sure this is a good enough answer to make an article of, so I'll leave it here in the comments for now.)
Posted 15:42, 28 Sep 2017
@mandrewskm - this is a perennial challenge in the medical device market. Unfortunately, I'm aware of no single magic "webpage or reference" that will convince a compliance person that KCS is OK, but here are some tools our clients have used with some success:

- Compliance governance status. In V6, it's now possible to call out just a subset of Articles to go through a compliance review. It's sometimes possible to get compliance people to agree that only certain content needs to go through the full process (i.e., content that the FDA might consider to be part of the product). This leaves other content to go through the KCS process.

- Every Use is a Review. When content is reused, it's reviewed. Content that has been linked N times has had N-1 reviews. We can change a status after a critical number of reuses / reviews (typically two reviews / three links).

- Industry peers. Some of your industry peers are doing KCS. Consultants and Consortium Members should be able to point you to them. Perhaps your compliance people can take comfort in talking with them.

- What's the alternative? An appeal to logic. You're getting at this with your observation about personal repositories. Compliance people like to live in a fantasy world where no one talks with each other or shares information except via channels that they've blessed. Of course, this is nonsense. Support staff talk with each other, email, IM, and look at historical case notes. All but the "talking" part can be discoverable. So, the question to them is, since in the real world people will share information, do you want them doing it in unmanaged and opaque ways, or do you want them to do it in a way that provides visibility, transparency, and the ability to quickly identify and correct errors?

When I've talked about people reading old case notes as a de facto knowledge base, I've had compliance officials blanch and nearly put their fingers in their ears saying "La la la, I'm not listening!" But it's important to have them compare KCS not against some theoretical state, but against what's actually happening.

Once again, I didn't give you what you were looking for, so I'll leave this as a comment.
Posted 16:00, 28 Sep 2017
@mandrewskm - is the compliance team willing to be part of a Compliance workflow? We live in highly regulated environment at University of Phoenix. Our compliance team agreed to be part of the approval process on articles that have compliance/legal verbiage. It is a very minor percentage of all our support and service articles but they keep an eye on all articles that have compliance related topics. They are able to accept changes and publish directly into the Knowledge Base.
Posted 21:25, 29 Sep 2017
@mandrewskm - Is the compliance team well briefed on the methodology? Are there issues with security of content and the permissions allowable to edit? Is the Compliance team aware of the costs associated with engaging their team such as training, responsibilities and quality control? All assumptions they may currently have regarding the KCS methodology will need to be discussed and addressed. Then conduct an analysis of their needs, particularly regarding controls (e.g. versioning, roles required, content management) and the commitment needed by compliance domain experts. After discussing all of the questions and concerns of the compliance group, they will then need details on how the technology will enable security, reduce errors, maintain quality and increase efficiency, e.g. where a number of experts may need to approve. I would recommend engaging a KCS consultant / expert to present on the methodology to your compliance team and include members of your management team to participate in this session. Edited 08:28, 26 Oct 2017
Posted 07:37, 26 Oct 2017
If introducing KCS in a (large) multilanguage, multicultural company, where the knowledge collected can be both countryspecific or global, where some participants do not speak (good) English and where the knowledge frequently needs to be used to exactly phrase answers to customers in local languages - is opting for an "all English" version a wise decision? As the organisation is large enough, why not accept several languages even if this means some information might not immediately be accessible to all participants? Not sure how to get best search results under these circumstances. Are there examples where such a system has been successfully implemented (europewide)?
Posted 22:17, 25 Nov 2017
We are looking for best practices on a simple but effective execution of validation status.

What are good names to simplify and easily explain validation?
We were thinking of using:
External - Validated
Internal- Validate
Not Validated

But there is confusion among the engineers that "validation" should mean external... so we were thinking of:
External - Validated
Internal Only
Not validated
But then this would only give us visibility into validated external articles.

We do not want to have MANY status to chose from and slow the process or confuse.

Therefore, we are looking for best practices on a simple but effective execution of validation status?
Posted 17:20, 29 Nov 2017
@Christie -
We typically use
- Validated
- Validated (Internal Only)
- Not Validated

(As your question implies, since you're using Salesforce and construct the Article initially in the Case, the "Work in Progress" Confidence state isn't usually relevant).

We then make a rule that says, in effect, "if Validation Status != 'Validated' and any channel other than 'Internal App' is selected, throw an error." It's a little bit of a belt and suspenders thing.

While "Validated (Internal Only)" isn't strictly necessary, I think it's nice for licensed Publishers to be able to say, "really, trust me, this shouldn't go to customers" in a Validation Status.
Posted 17:59, 29 Nov 2017
@Christie - is there confusion between the level of trust validated, not validates and visibility? Also, does validated internally imply less rigourousness than partner or external visibility?
Posted 18:23, 29 Nov 2017
@dbkay- thank you- that helps... I'll test it with the masses :-)
@JPCusty - we only have external and internal - the confusing is with the term validated internal. I'll try David's approach and see how that works out. Thanks for the quick replies team!
Posted 18:55, 29 Nov 2017
Do you have internal validated and internal not validated or I am guessing the issue here is how your toolset works and the status you can work with?
Posted 21:58, 29 Nov 2017
@JPCusty - we have nothing yet; still designing what we need without over complicating! Thanks!
Posted 02:19, 30 Nov 2017
Hello again! We have a link rate of 40% and are getting our KDE's to start using the PII. However, managers of the engineers are accountable for the engineers behaviour when it comes to embracing KCS everyday. Where is the balance in having KDE's do the research and Managers being accountable? If KDEs feed the managers feedback; then managers aren't fully self sufficient when it comes to managing engineers and the KDEs own more part of the game than they do. Any thoughts about this? Different way to think about it?
Posted 02:54, 13 Dec 2017
@Christie - what behaviors are you expecting from your managers that you don't think you are getting? What do expect the KDE to do vs. what are they doing? What are behaviors expecting from the engineers (which is their responsibility) are you not seeing? Looking for clarification to ensure suggestions/recommendations are appropriate.
Posted 15:34, 13 Dec 2017
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