KCS Series – What is KCS? 

I often get this question from friends or former colleagues who know I work in Knowledge Management and see me post something on KCS® but without knowing what this is about. So, let’s start this KCS series with the basics: “what is KCS?” And no, it has nothing to do with “Kentucky Chicken Something?”. 

KCS or Knowledge-Centered Service, is a methodology on knowledge sharing. Well, that’s a very short and simplified way to say that… But it is so much more. Since the world of Knowledge Management is vast, KCS is one part of it. This is more about how to create, maintain and leverage your support knowledge base through a set of principles, double loop processes and best practices that has some real differences to your classic knowledge management way of running a knowledge base.  

OK, getting better, but still a limited definition of what KCS does… It will unlock employees potential: people will develop their skills and grow their career in your company thanks to it. It will improve your business: higher customer satisfaction, higher retention, people are more efficient at work, etc. It will enable continuous improvement and innovation for your company: getting more time and insight for it. You get it, it’s touching every aspect of your company and for the better. 

“Ok let’s slow down a bit. Where does this come from?“  

Who came up with that? And can you trust them? KCS has been built over the years by the members of the Consortium for Service Innovation such as Dell, HP, Oracle, Red Hat, PTC and so many more. If you are getting curious about KCS, the next thing you’ll hear about is that “Consortium”. The Consortium started in 1992, celebrating their 30 years this year! The methodology is still evolving with the help of its members. 

 KCS version 6 Practices were released in 2016. I personally started to research best practices for knowledge bases around 2011-2012 when working on the replacement of a knowledge base, it took me some time until I found KCS back then, now KCS is getting more visibility. Since then, I never stopped learning about it and there is always some interesting topics coming up for discussion with the Consortium. 

Thanks to the practical experience from the Consortium members on what works and what does not, the KCS methodology avoids classic knowledge management pit falls and it keeps evolving! Even if the version 6 was published in 2016, there has been a few changes to it already. 

“Alright, got it. Now let’s talk about those principles.” 

Abundance, demand driven, trust, and value creation are the 4 guiding principles. KCS is all about sharing is caring. The more we trust and enable people, and the more the merrier, to participate on what matters, the more we know of what we need to know and the better the knowledge will be.  

Of course there is much more behind those four principles, but that gives you an idea without drowning you in details. So far, classic knowledge management has always limited knowledge sharing ability to a few people: the key experts, who usually are too busy for that and that’s why or one of the reasons why your knowledge base has been suffering… 

”Ok, that sounds interesting. How do I learn more about it? Any training?” 

So now you have a little bit more understanding of what KCS is (at least you can see the top of the iceberg), there is so much more to talk about but then this post would become way too long. If you want to learn more about KCS, discover the practices and discuss with an expert, I recommend joining a KCS Overview training.  

If you are really into it and want to get deep understanding to potentially implement this in your company, your best next step is to attend a KCS V6 Practices workshop. You’ll then be able to get a stronger grip on the topics, find out how to design, implement and sustain KCS in your company.

KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation™.