KCS By Any Other Name… is Still Just Good KM
Knowledge management (KM) is an essential aspect of any organization, regardless of whether it strictly adheres to the framework of Knowledge-Centered Services (KCS) or not. The ultimate goal of good KM practices is to ensure that content is healthy, well-organized, governed properly, and that appropriate processes are in place to manage it. While KCS is a proven methodology for implementing good KM practices, it is not the only solution to content problems. Good KCS practices are just good knowledge management practices and KCS doesn’t have to (and sometimes even shouldn’t) always go by that moniker.
KCS as a Systematic Approach to Knowledge Management
The KCS methodology is a systematic approach to knowledge management that emphasizes creating and maintaining knowledge articles as a byproduct of issue resolution. It is a fundamental process for delivering high-quality support services and improving organizational productivity. KCS has proven to be an effective way to establish a culture of continuous learning and improvement within an organization.
The KCS methodology is based on a few key principles:
- Create content as a byproduct of solving problems
- Evolve content based on demand and usage
- Establish a single source of truth
- Facilitate content findability and usability
While these principles have been proven to be effective in the context of KCS, they are not exclusive to it. In fact, they are fundamental principles of all good knowledge management practices, regardless of what they are called.
Why KCS Doesn’t (and Sometimes Shouldn’t) Have to Answer to that Moniker
My ultimate goal of a successful KCS program should be to integrate its principles so deeply into an organization’s culture that it becomes second nature, and we eschew the need to refer to it in name. This means that instead of treating knowledge management as an additional task on top of daily work, it simply becomes how cases are solved. The KCS paradigms should be so deeply ingrained that they become synonymous with how work is done, and knowledge articles become the byproduct of that work. If we continue through the maturity phases of a KCS program and still separate it from the rest of the processes within a support team, it will always be seen as “something extra” on top of case work instead of simply how we solve cases.
This doesn’t mean we should ignore all the benefits of a good KCS program. On the contrary, great KCS practices are excellent knowledge management practices. However, organizations should focus on the practices that work for them and adopt the approach that best suits their needs more than the terminology used to describe the program or paradigm.
Sometimes, the structure of the KCS methodology is not the right fit for a team or organization, and tackling content problems through good knowledge management practices using different words can be all that’s needed.
At various times in the past, I’ve encountered resistance when people hear the term KCS. Perhaps it was trauma from a previously failed attempt. Perhaps they’ve always been detractors who simply didn’t like the change merely because it was change. Possibly, they saw it as far too complex a system to fully embrace. In all of those cases, I found that diminishing the use of KCS phrasing and refocusing on the core concepts (trust, demand driven, abundance, and creating value) are often better ways to talk about the program and goals of the implementation.
Of course, we do know the frameworks provided by a comprehensive KCS implementation work and have seen that with tangible evidence over the past 30 years of the Consortium for Service Innovation’s work. But it doesn’t necessarily mean a strict adherence to the letters of the framework, rather simply abiding by the concepts contained within. After all, KCS requires judgment, and it empowers good decision making to ensure the flexibility needed for any implementation.
Here’s a pro-tip: The KCS principles and practices are a great playbook for implementing any foundational knowledge management practices. Use them to your benefit regardless of what you call it.
KCS is a highly effective methodology for implementing sound KM practices. However, it should be noted that KCS is not the only solution to content-related issues. While KCS is an excellent approach, it should not be viewed as a standalone program. Rather, it should be integrated deeply into an organization’s culture, so much so that it becomes a second nature. Successful KCS programs aim to ingrain the principles so deeply that they are not referred to in name or as a separate entity. To help, you can check out my post on How to Build a Knowledge Sharing Culture in your own organization.
It is important to remember that good knowledge management practices are crucial for any organization, regardless of whether they are labeled as KCS or not. Implementing KCS principles will ultimately lead to just good knowledge management practices in the end. It is essential to implement these principles deeply and effectively into how work is done on a daily basis. By doing so, an organization can ensure that its knowledge management practices are sound, efficient, and effective, saving time and money, something every business should be striving for.
KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service InnovationTM. The above content has been remixed/derived from the KCS v6 Practices Guide by Consortium for Service Innovation which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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