- An article object and search engine
- Supports distinction between problem content and environment content
- Search engine granularity
- Search problem content against problem content
- Search environment content against environment content
- Ability to link/point/relate incidents to KCS articles and KCS articles to incidents
- KCS article visibility management
- KCS article state categories
- Search arguments are preserved as the basis for a new KCS article
- Reporting and metrics
- Functions at the speed of conversation
To find out which vendors’ products are certified or to get a detailed list of all the requirements, visit the KCS Academy web site at www.thekcsacademy.net.
Integration of Workflow and Technology with CRM, IM and Other Tools
Ideally, support technology enables the problem solving process in the Solve Loop at the speed of conversation, or real-time. Analysts become more proficient at the process and solve problems faster by using the experiences of the entire support organization and minimize rework.
To achieve this “speed of conversation” goal, the tools being used must be integrated to enable a seamless workflow where interaction with the knowledge base and KCS article creation are integrated with problem solving. For example, an ideal integration between a knowledge management system and an incident management system might include the following capabilities:
• Search the knowledge base using information in the incident record to launch or refine the search
• Link an existing KCS article to an incident and to retrieve information from the KCS article, such as the resolution, to populate the incident record. Linking can occur with two types of knowledge: reference information and resolution/fix information.
Reference information is information found in reference materials such as service manuals or installation manuals. The specific sentence or paragraph must be findable by the search engine, the information must be accessible by the audience being served, it must be in the context of the audience being served, and it must be in a maintained repository.
- View a KCS article that has been linked to an incident, and vice versa
- Modify existing KCS articles in the process of reuse (“reuse is review”) based on the KCS licensing model
- Create a KCS article in the knowledge base from information in the incident record
- Collaborate with the subject matter experts who are relevant to the problem and quickly contact them through email or chat
The following is a prototype of a Support Analyst’s view, or user interface, to the system.
The typical service environment we see has an application user interface that most often demands the users’ behavior align to the needs of the application. For organizations in a position to adapt the user interface, we are instead proposing a user interface that aligns more directly to the needs of the user.
The optimal environment has a tight integration between incident management and knowledge management systems such that users do not have to move between applications. However, most of the KCS adoptions have not had the luxury of starting with this kind of tight integration. Success has been achieved with very crude integrations. Don’t feel you cannot start on the KCS journey unless you have what is outline here. It is the ideal— something to aspire to as your adoption and technology infrastructure mature.
- Eliminating the notion of separate tools; the integration of case management, knowledge management and collaboration functionality.
- Make it easy and obvious for the Support Analysts to do the right thing
- Minimize context switching, screen changes/application changes – create “a single pane of glass” or a “one page interface” that has the functionality needed for the majority of the incidents (don’t waste real estate on seldom used functionality).
- Align with and support the Support Analysts’ problem solving process
- Capitalize on all that is known and already entered (no duplication of work)
- Integrate what is known from all/multiple sources
- About the customer, the account, entitlement, the product and the problem/question
We can have the best tools and user interfaces in the world but… if we don’t understand why and how to use them it won’t matter. A good user interface must be complimented with; good measures (based on outcome and value creation not activity), understanding and buy-in on the part of the Support Analysts and coaching to support behavior change.
Five things that influence behavior (in no particular order):
- The tool -functionality, navigation, integration – make it really easy to do the right thing
- Measures – how are people measured
- Recognition and reputation – ego food
- Understanding – the extent to which the Support Analysts understand WIIFM (what’s in it for me) as well as the bigger picture: what’s in it for the company and the customers.
- Coaching – peers who are trusted change agents and role models
The closed incident captures the KCS article, in the form of Problem, Environment and Resolution, as it was given to the customer—a snapshot of the KCS article. The KCS article continues to evolve as it is reused No support organization that has adopted KCS has had this “ideal” user interface. This level of integration should not be viewed as a requirement to get started; many have created great benefit with little or no integration between their incident management and knowledge management applications. However, sustainability of the KCS practices requires that the users see continuous improvement in the level of integration. The KCS Coaches and Knowledge Domain Experts should provide requirements to the owners of the user interface to promote continuous improvement in the design and functionality of the infrastructure.
Content as shown in KCS Version 5.3 Knowledge-Centered Support Practices Guide (2012) S3 [28.1-11]. KCS v5.3 was written and edited by Melissa George, David Kay, Greg Oxton, Rick Joslin, Jennifer MacIntosh, and Kelly Murray.
The entire suite of KCS topics is available in one location for FREE via my KCS video book/training course. These are designed to guide interested people through the entire repertoire of KCS concepts and practices, as well as provide evidence of understanding for those involved in a Knowledge Centered Support program of work or implementation. All you need to is register!
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