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Consortium for Service Innovation

Appendix B: Glossary of KCS Terms





Leading indicators that count activity (# of articles created or reused). 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

See "Content Standard Checklist"


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.


A Solve Loop practice. While solving the problem, the knowledge worker 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 supports the development of KCS Candidates and KCS Contributors.


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 knowledge workers 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 asking, and in a maintained repository.

Content Health

An Evolve Loop practice focused on article structure, content standards, content quality, and article life cycles.

Content Standard

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

Content Standard
Formerly known as the Article Quality Index or AQI, the Content Standard Checklist provides the structure to ensure a KCS Contributor understands and can create articles based on the criteria defined in the KCS Content Standard.
How often a knowledge worker is reusing, modifying, or creating a new knowledge article.
Contribution Index The ratio of the number of times a knowledge worker appropriately contributed as a percentage of their total opportunity to contribute.


Captured in the Solve Loop, it is the description of the needs and experiences of the requestor in their own terms.

Cost per incident

Total support costs divided by the number of incidents closed


The author of a KCS article.


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

Knowledge workers' 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 knowledge worker.


Unorganized words or numbers.


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

Internal attrition rate at which knowledge workers 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 metadata field is set to either partner, customer, or public.

Executive sponsor

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 knowledge worker can modify it.


A Solve Loop practice. Knowledge maintenance and updates happen through real time, demand-driven 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 over a period of time.


Organized data without an associated action

Internal Feedback

Sharing of information with knowledge workers; i.e. Monthly assessments, Content Standard Checklist 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

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

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
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 who 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.  Currently Verified tools are listed at the Consortium for Service Innovation.


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

Domain Analysis
Evolve Loop activities performed to maintain knowledge base health and assess and increase knowledge base impact.

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.  Often used to refer to people doing Solve Loop work.

Lagging indicators

Qualitative outcomes: a measure of value.


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

Leadership &

An Evolve Loop practice 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 structured according to KCS standards.

Licensed Users

KCS Contributors and KCS Publishers


Attaching content that solves an issue from a request.


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

Not Validated A KCS article state that indicates low confidence in the article content or structure.
Organizational Value
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.


An Evolve Loop practice that 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.

Plan and Design
(phase of adoption)

The Plan and Design phase 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 & Transformation Guide for more on phases of adoption)

Adopt in Waves
(phase of adoption)

The goals of Adopting in Waves 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.

Build Proficiency
(phase of adoption)

An organization expands their focus toward Building Proficiency 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. Building Proficiency includes coaching, developing Evolve Loop content, and delivering value to the requestor through self-service and business improvements. 

Optimize and Innovate
(phase of adoption)

Phase of KCS transformation that enables continuous improvement and a sustained focus over time.  Optimization 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

An Evolve Loop practice focused on designing and optimizing the KCS workflow.

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


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


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

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

Ratio of known to

Reuse of existing articles versus new articles created in the knowledge base.


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

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


The 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

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 through a self-service mechanism.

Self-service use

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

Solve Loop

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


A 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

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

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 an article 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 at least three 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

An incomplete KCS article. The problem or question has been captured but the resolution is not known.


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