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What are the top 5 differences between classic Knowledge Management and Knowledge Centered Service (KCS)? 

How does Knowledge Centered Service (KCS) differ from your classic Knowledge Management or Knowledge Engineering strategy when it comes to maintaining a knowledge base? Let’s have a look at the top 5 aspects:

1. Collective Ownership, Collective Experience and Trust 

Knowledge engineering relies on the knowledge from a few key experts to maintain and create articles in your knowledge base for your organization. These experts “own” their articles, meaning no one else is allowed or should do any updates on the articles than the expert himself.
  
 
KCS looks at having knowledge integrated into everyone’s job. Everybody participates thus the organization gets the collective experience of many. We are starting by trusting each other and breaking this misconception of only some are worth sharing their knowledge. 

Everyone is responsible to create, maintain articles and everyone is responsible of the quality of the articles they interact with, so it becomes a collective ownership or all hands on deck as I like to call this. That alone already helps lifting off the workload of the key experts and helps maintaining an up-to-date knowledge base. Everyone is part of the solution. We work as a team, collaboratively, not against each other’s. 
 

2. Just in Time

A lot of the knowledge base is created “just-in-case” based on hypothesis of what the customer could be calling about. Readers would be allowed to leave feedback to identify an outdated article, but it usually takes several weeks/months to get the update on the article: the experts do not have time for this (since they are the only one in their field, priority will go to other projects with deadlines).
 
No more spending time on “what if” with KCS. Knowledge is created when it is needed, just-in-time and no longer just-in-case. If a question is asked, then we use that opportunity to create an article and share our knowledge to all at that moment. If feedback is received it is addressed either during the next time the article is used or by Knowledge Domain Experts. We save a lot of time and efforts to produce value. 

3. Assess value 

Management will look at incentivizing activities such as putting targets on how many articles have been created during the month, to have proof of activities, which can lead the authors to create articles that are not needed or worse to create duplicate so they can attain their KPIs for creation. 

Knowledge workers have targets to link a certain number of articles and do not see benefits of having to use an article when they know the solution for their ticket. They would rather achieve some easy target to link x number of articles per week by linking to the first random article that shows up than spending time finding the right article. 

KCS reports on activities are not used as KPIs, instead they give Leadership and Coaches a trend on what is going on. Instead, the focus from reports is on value creation coming from everyone’s work and is transparent to the knowledge workers. They see how their work creates an impact with value. 

4. Sufficient to solve  

One of the main challenges of the classic knowledge engineering is that articles usually go through multiple rounds of reviews between publishers and technical experts until deemed perfect for self-service portal or general consumption.  It can take several weeks, sometimes even months, to publish an article to a self-service portal.

According to surveys, readers are not looking for the perfect article. They want information to be findable and useful. KCS does just that. We no longer wait for perfection: we look for good enough. Knowledge workers are trained on an agreed quality standard (the Content Standard) defining the qualities that all are looking for in their articles. No more indefinite loops of reviews that takes weeks until the article gets published.  

5. Buy in at all Levels, Coaching for Success 

In classic knowledge management, it is hard to get knowledge workers to share their knowledge. They do not support the idea of sharing their knowledge as they fear job loss. Also, knowledge workers see sharing knowledge as an additional burden on their already heavy workload for which they are punished, but never rewarded – they get rewarded for the incident KPI’s not knowledge.

With KCS, Knowledge workers finally see the value they create through knowledge sharing, they receive support from their Coaches to help them build good knowledge practices habits, they understand how KCS supports them, how it helps them in their career and KPIs are reviewed in overall to support hand in hand incident and knowledge management. 

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