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Consortium for Service Innovation

Appendix B: Glossary of KCS Terms

Appendix B - Glossary




Leading indicators that count activity (# of articles created or reused). The activity alone is not
an indicator of value.

Add it

Creating a new KCS article in the workflow, if one does not exist. 

Article Quality Index (AQI)

AQI is quantitative measure that is based on a set of criteria to assure a KCS Contributor understands the criteria defined in the KCS Content Standard.


The collective experience of the support organization in solving problems and answering questions. Articles can include a variety of issues: usage or "how to", configuration, interoperability, performance, defects, procedural or diagnostic information.


The initial creator of a KCS article.

Average work time to resolve

Number of minutes consumed per incident in developing an answer, fix, bypass or workaround.
Determined by dividing the total minutes worked by the number of incidents resolved.

Balanced Scorecard

A method of goals and metrics that links individual and organization goals. Examines performance from multiple points of view. (see The Balanced Scorecard by Kaplan and Norton)

Call deflection

The number of customer issues solved through self-service that would have become incidents (this is a subset of self-service customer success)

Candidate Knowledge

Search words become part of the knowledge base as standalone article or part of an existing article.


The first Solve Loop practice, while solving the problem the Analyst captures the customer's context.


The underlying or root cause of the problem.


Reuse of your articles by others

Closed loop feedback

Insight generated by the Evolve Loop that continuously improves the customer experience as well as the information in the knowledge base.


KCS role that support the development of the KCS Candidates and KCS Contributors.

Communication Effectiveness


Used to assess the level of buy-in and understanding across the organization

Compelling purpose

The purpose of an organization; people should connect with it on a personal, emotional level.

Competency profile

Percentage of Analysts at each level of the KCS competencies: KCS Candidate, KCS Contributor, and KCS Publisher.


Various forms of content that solve a specific issue, including KCS articles, white papers,
documentation etc. This content must be searchable, answer the specific issue in the context of
the audience with the issue and maintained.

Content Health

The first Evolve Loop practice focuses on article structure, content standards, content quality, and
article life cycles.

Content Standard

A formal document describes decisions the organization has made about KCS article content and

Contribution Indicators How often a knowledge worker is reusing, modifying, or creating a new knowledge article.
Contribution Index  It is the ratio of the number of times a knowledge worker appropriated contributed as a percentage of our total opportunity to contribute.


Captured in the Solve Loop, it is the description of the needs and experiences of the customer in
his or her own terms.

Cost per incident

Total support costs divided by the number of incidents closed


The author of a KCS article.

Cross-functional measures

Measures to which multiple functions within the organization contribute. For example, product
improvements require support to capture the interactions and recognize trends to give development credible input on high leverage opportunities for product improvement. Development must execute on these opportunities. The measure is shared by support and development. (See Transforming Performance Measurement by Spitzer)

Cultural Health

Support Analysts' attitude with respect to trust, commitment, conflict resolution, accountability, and focus on results.  Measured through surveys.  See Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Customer loyalty

The level of emotional connection a customer feels towards the company, a longer-term measure of overall relationship. Indicators include renewal rate, new product/upgrade adoption rate, and
reference ability.

Customer Satisfaction

Transaction-based measure of the degree to which we have met the customer expectations. This is a short-term measure of the customer experience with support. Indicators are speed or average work time to resolve, "percentage first contact resolution," technical knowledge, and politeness of the Support Analyst.


Unorganized words or numbers.

Demand-Driven Visibility

As articles are found and used they are improved. Articles are migrated to a broader audience as they are proven accurate and useful.

Employee turnover rate

Internal attrition rate at which Support Analysts are leaving the support organization.


An element of a KCS article that contains product information or technology (hardware, software,
network, etc.) the customer has that is relevant to the issue. Has anything been changed recently?

Evolve Loop

A continuous improvement process that integrates individual and organizational processes.

Evolve Loop content

Content that is created outside of the workflow from a collection of articles created in the Solve Loop. Includes FAQ's, Hot articles, and Root Cause Analysis.


Any type of issue including • "How to" or Q&A
• Interoperability issues
• Configuration issues
• Defects
• Diagnostic procedures
• Procedural

External Indicates a KCS Article is available outside an organization. The audience meta data field is set to either partner, customer, or public.

Executive sponsor buy-in

The executive champion for the KCS program, who understands KCS and is vocally committed. This is a qualitative measurement, but may be judged by the willingness of the champion to present the plan for the project to executive management, to host a kickoff with the project team, and to support communication efforts with email and other outreach.


Term used to describe the effectiveness of a search to returning relevant results.


A search engine returns a relevant KCS article.

Fix it

A KCS Contributor or Publisher modifying an existing article in the workflow.

Flag it

A non-licensed user commenting on an article so that an authorized person can modify it.


The fourth Solve Loop practice, knowledge maintains timely availability through real time reuse
and review.

In the Moment

Knowledge is shared and created while solving an issue.


A request for an answer to an exception or issue, tracked through an incident management system, CRM or call-tracking tool.

Incident volume

Number of incidents, cases, or tickets opened


Organized data without an associated action

Internal Feedback

Sharing of the Article Quality Index (AQI) with knowledge workers; i.e. Monthly assessments and feedback
attached to articles.


A field in a KCS article template where the question from requestor is recorded. Any type of interaction or exception including  "How To" or Q&A
• Interoperability issues
• Configuration issues
• Defects
• Diagnostic procedures
• Procedural

Just-in-Time article quality

Everyone interacting with the knowledge base is responsible for the quality of the articles; the articles are updated as they are being used to solve an issue.


Knowledge-Centered Service

KCS article

Is the physical document living in the knowledge base.  It contains the issue, environment, resolution, cause, and attributes.  It represents the collective experience of the organization in solving problems and answering questions. KCS articles can cover a variety of issues: usage or "how to," configuration, interoperability, performance, defects, procedural or diagnostic information.

KCS article confidence

The process a article undergoes as it matures; (work in progress, not validated, validated, archived).  Article confidence indicates how sure we are in the resolution and content standard of  the article.

KCS article state

A combination of article confidence, audience (formerly visibility), and governance.
KCS article audience Audience that the article is available to.  Internal, Customer, Partner, Public.  Formerly called article visibility.
KCS article governance User or user group who can create and edit articles.

KCS Candidate

Provisional contributor to the knowledge base; a basic user of the knowledge base is familiar with
capturing and structuring content. Can create internal articles and modify their own but cannot modify others.

KCS Coach

KCS role that supports the development of the KCS Candidates and KCS Contributors.

KCS Contributor

Creates, modifies, and reviews articles for publishing to a defined audience.

KCS Council

A cross-functional group that meets on a regular basis providing a forum for the continued improvement to the content standard, workflow, technology integration, and feedback systems.  Early in the adoption process, they are focused on the implementation activities.  Later on the journey, they are focused on continuous improvement.

KCS Publisher

Publishes content to an external audience.

KCS Verified

Software tools that have demonstrated certain criteria set forth by the Consortium.


Information that has an action associated with it and a context and experience related to its use. 
Information becomes knowledge at the moment of use. Gained through interaction and experience.

Attributes of knowledge include: Constantly changing, Never 100% complete or 100% accurate,
validated through use, experience, and interaction

Knowledge base

A technology built for the storage and retrieval of a collection of knowledge

Knowledge Domain Analysis (KDA) Evolve Loop activities performed to maintain healthy knowledge.

Knowledge Domain Expert (KDE)

Looks after the health of the knowledge base, has both technical expertise and extensive understanding of KCS processes.

Knowledge worker Anyone who does intellectual work as opposed to physical work. People who use data and information to make judgments and decisions and/or take action. Knowledge workers can play the role of responder or requestor.

Lagging indicators

Qualitative outcomes: a measure of value.


Define the vision of success within the organization; they support the Analysts in determining the
workflow and the content standard.

Leadership & Communication

The fourth Evolve Loop practice is concerned with communication, promoting an understanding of KCS, and the performance assessment model.

Leading indicators

Quantifiable activities: should be measured only to identify trends.

Legacy Data

Old knowledge content, usually stored in disparate systems and not according to KCS standards.

Licensed Users

KCS Contributors and KCS Publishers


Attaching content that solves an issue from a request.


Additional fields in the KCS articles to capture information such as article state (confidence, audience, governance), date created, number of times modified, history, number of time article has been reused etc.

Not Validated A KCS article state that is indicates low confidence in the article content or structure.
Organizational Value Indicators Used to assess operational efficiency, self-service success, and product, process, or policy improvement that benefit the financial state of an organization.


Lagging indicators, difficult to measure. Outcomes are the end result of activities and are an indicator of created value.

Percentage first contact resolution

Percentage of incidents resolved on the first interaction. Used as a customer satisfaction indicator as well as an employee proficiency or process goal.

Performance Assessment

The third Evolve Loop practice involves the ways in which performance is quantified and measured by the organization. Performance measures should be clearly linked to the strategic objectives of the organization.

Phase 1 - Planning and Design

Phase 1 of a KCS adoption builds the foundation for a successful implementation.  This includes assessing the current state of knowledge practices, getting the right people involved and trained, gathering baseline measurements, and setting realistic internal and external expectations. (see KCS v6 Adoption Guide for more on Phases of adoption)

Phase 2 - Adopting

The goals of Phase 2 of adoption are to develop KCS competencies in the knowledge workers, create excitement through early success stories, and establish internal referenceability.   This is typically done with a small first wave in order to create internal credibility of the KCS program.

Phase 3 - Leveraging

An organization enters Phase 3 of KCS adoption when the knowledge base for the knowledge domain has reached critical mass; most of what the organization has learned from their interactions has been captured in a way that is findable and usable by the audience making the request. Phase 3 includes coaching, developing Evolve Loop content, and delivering value to the requestor through self-service and business improvements. 

Phase 4 - Maximizing

Phase of the KCS adoption that enables continuous improvement and a sustained focus over time.  Phase 4 includes increased importance on reporting and feedback mechanisms in order to provide visibility to knowledge workers of their contribution and impact.


The situation in the customer's words. What are they trying to do, or what is not working?

Process Integration

The second Evolve Loop practice.

Process Adherence Review (PAR) is an indication of how well a knowledge worker is following the Solve Loop practices.  Formerly called Process Integration Indicators or PII.

Product improvements

(Number of RFEs accepted by product development)—the rate at which suggestions for product,
documentation, or service offering improvements are implemented by development: an indicator of influence


The people in the system: profiles include information about who knows what.


The article is available externally as indicated by the article audience attribute.

Quick Reference Guide

A one-page document that provides Analysts with a brief overview of the content standard.

Ratio of known to new

New articles created in the knowledge base vs. reuse of existing articles


Articles are easier to read by using complete statements instead of complete sentences.

Requestor A knowledge worker seeking information or resolution to an issue.


An element of a KCS article that contains the fix.

Resolution capacity

How many incidents can the support organization handle in a period of time? Indicators are incidents/month/Analyst or average work time to resolve (work minutes, not elapsed time).

Resolution or Fix

The steps required to solve the problem or answer the question or request.

Responder A knowledge worker providing a resolution to an issue or assisting in the development of a resolution to an issue.


How many times an article has been applied. Article reuse is a valuable method of measuring an
article's value.


Request for product enhancement

Search Indicators A indication if a knowledge worker is searching early  and often.

Searching is Creating

The third Solve Loop practice: content used for searching is saved and is used to enhance existing articles or frame new articles.

Self-service success

The percentage of time users find what they need on their own (most often but not always use of the web.

Self-service use

The percentage of time user use self-service before they submit of request.  Can we web based or integrated into the user interface.

Solve Loop

Represents the individual workflow that is driven by the problem solving process.


The second Solve Loop practice: involves breaking down the problem or issue description into the appropriate information and structuring it according to the appropriate format.

Subject Matter Expert (SME)

A person who is an expert in a particular area or topic.

Support Analyst

Someone handling a customer exception or issue.

Support cost as a percentage
of revenue

The ratio of support costs to total company revenue.  Used to normalize the cost of support in a
dynamic environment. Other possible ways to normalize the support costs include against products shipped, licenses sold, customers subscribed (cross functional measure).

Interaction Network

Anyone in contributing to support including employees, partners, customers and players in on-line
communities and social media.

Support Organization

A group of individuals within an organization who handle exceptions.

System of record A case, incident, email, and any type of recorded interaction of a request and response.

Tacit Knowledge

Implicit information that should become explicit in during the conversation with the requestor.

Time to adopt new/upgraded

Rate at which customers adopt new releases or products.

Time to close

The elapsed time from request open to request closed.

Time to proficiency

The number of weeks or months required for a knowledge worker to work with a high degree of independence: the learning curve.

Time to publish

Time from initial issue discovery to the time information is available externally.


Reflects the intangible nature of value - the idea that the creation of knowledge cannot be directly measured or counted. Involves looking at things from 3 different perspectives: Trends in Activity, Results/Outcomes, and the Article Quality Index.


A KCS article that is considered complete and reusable. We have confidence in the
resolution and it complies with the content standard. 

Work- in-progress (WIP)

A WIP KCS article that indicates an incomplete article. The problem or question has been captured but the resolution is not known.


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