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					Knowledge Centered Support:                   Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
                                              Fundamentals of knowledge management and Knowledge
A best practice-based approach to knowledge   Centered Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
                                              Principles of effective Knowledge Centered Support . . . . . . .5
management                                    Creating a Knowledge Centered Support-based knowledge
                                              management practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
                                              About HP ServiceCenter Knowledge Management . . . . . . .8
                                              Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
                                              Footnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
Knowledge Centered Support (KCS)
has emerged as the most complete
and effective approach to the practice
of knowledge management in service
and support environments.

        Introduction                                                  In recent years, Knowledge Centered Support (KCS)
                                                                      has emerged as the most complete and effective
        Knowledge is the engine that powers your IT service
                                                                      approach to the practice of knowledge management
        and support system. The idea is simple—giving your
                                                                      in service and support environments. Knowledge
        technicians the accurate and up-to-date knowledge
                                                                      Centered Support (formerly known as Solution
        they need to solve user problems and keep your IT
                                                                      Centered Support) recognizes that knowledge is
        environment running smoothly and efficiently.
                                                                      created whenever a support technician resolves an
        The reality, of course, is much trickier. What, exactly, is   incident, and thus seeks to capture and leverage that
        “knowledge”? How is it created? How is it managed?            knowledge across the entire support organization. In
        How can it be kept current? Are “knowledge” and               this way, information gained in every interaction
        “information” really the same thing?                          evolves (based on demand and usage) into a compre-
                                                                      hensive and effective knowledge base that is the sum
        It is clear that providing access to knowledge articles       total of the organization’s collective experience at any
        alone is not enough. Unless those knowledge articles          given moment.
        are also relevant, your users will not be able to help
        themselves when IT issues crop up. This, in turn, increases   By implementing a Knowledge Centered Support-
        dependence on your service desk and keeps support             based knowledge management solution, your support
        costs high. The same information is created over and          organization can address virtually every aspect of the
        over to resolve recurring mundane incidents, which            knowledge challenge it faces. Knowledge Centered
        lowers efficiency and causes a backlog of larger prob-        Support can make the solutions to about 80 percent of
        lems. Technicians spend a lot of time duplicating             IT-related problems available both to your help desk
        efforts because they aren’t aware that their co-workers       and to your end users, so employees can successfully
        already have found solutions to the same incidents they       deal with more problems on their own. Technicians
        are addressing. Frustration builds because customers          can leverage existing knowledge so they aren’t
        feel as if they can’t get their larger issues resolved.       resolving the same incidents over and over. Efficiency
                                                                      improves, costs are lowered, customer satisfaction
        Add to this the increasing complexity of the IT environ-      grows and technicians have more time to focus on
        ment, exploding user demand and pressure for IT “to           using their skills and experience to solve the backlog
        run more like a business,” and the depth and breadth          of really tough problems. This results in greater job
        of the knowledge challenge becomes clear.                     satisfaction and lower turnover.
        The practice of knowledge management has evolved to           The purpose of this paper is to promote an under-
        address this challenge. Generally speaking, knowledge         standing of both knowledge management and
        management is a set of practices designed to collect,         Knowledge Centered Support, review their major
        organize, structure and distribute knowledge for              benefits, discuss the principles of an effective
        ongoing use and training and for enrichment of                Knowledge Centered Support practice, and provide a
        the corporate culture.                                        step-by-step guide for getting started on implementing
                                                                      a Knowledge Centered Support-based knowledge
                                                                      management solution.




                                                                                                                               2
Fundamentals of knowledge                                    Thus, context for knowledge is vital—in fact, it is the
                                                             central characteristic of knowledge. Once that context
management and Knowledge                                     is achieved, what remains is to deliver the knowledge
Centered Support                                             to your users as quickly and accurately as possible.
Knowledge management                                         Knowledge Centered Support
According to Larry Prusak, executive director of the         The Knowledge Centered Support approach was
Institute for Knowledge Management, the practice             developed in the early 1990s as a way of applying the
of knowledge management is “getting the right                principles of knowledge management specifically to
knowledge in the right context to the right people           service and support organizations. Its objective is to
at the right time.” It’s important to note that the term     capture, organize and use support knowledge in ways
“knowledge”—for the purpose of knowledge manage-             that benefit all enterprise stakeholders: end users, the
ment—is completely distinct from data or information.        support/IT organization and the company as a whole.
                                                             Knowledge Centered Support is now recognized by
In essence:
                                                             the Help Desk Institute as a knowledge management
• Data is a set of unconnected facts.                        best practice. To be clear, all Knowledge Centered
• Information is data associated with meaning (what,         Support is knowledge management, but not all
  who, when, where).                                         knowledge management is Knowledge Centered
• Knowledge is information associated with strategy          Support.
  or process (how).1                                         Consider the scenario above, which defines the
For example, the terms “100 dollars” and “5 percent”         process whereby data becomes information and
are just random pieces of data—alone they can mean           information is made into knowledge. Knowledge
almost anything. If you establish a bank savings             Centered Support provides the system and the structure
account, context begins to appear: interest, principal       to keep the support organization moving along this
and interest rate become meaningful information: One         continuum. User incidents and calls (data) are investi-
hundred dollars is the principal—the amount of money         gated and defined (information), and solutions are
in the account. Five percent is the interest rate the bank   devised, applied, shared, tested, adjusted and
uses to compute interest on the principal.                   improved over time (knowledge).

Knowledge results from the application of the interest       In the Knowledge Centered Support environment, a
rate: If you deposit $100 in the account at 5 percent        knowledge object or knowledge article is called a
annual interest, at the end of the year the bank will        solution. When people interact with the knowledge
compute the interest of $5, add it to the principal, and     base, they should only find solutions that are relevant
you will have $105 in the bank. The more you deposit,        (unlike the usual experience with keyword searching).
the more interest you earn, and the more you withdraw,       Individual solutions are written in the context (vocab-
the less interest you earn.2                                 ulary, level of complexity) of the intended audience
                                                             so as to be both understandable and actionable.




                                                                                                                   3
Knowledge Centered Support defines a simple                     From the support organization’s perspective, the
structure for each solution, a structure that drives both       Knowledge Centered Support approach is superior
the relevance of the responses from the knowledge               to enterprise knowledge management because it is
base and the usability of the information. The                  designed specifically for support and help desk
Knowledge Centered Support environment focuses on               environments. The Knowledge Centered Support
both process outcomes (time to resolve, first contact           approach usually is delivered in stand-alone systems
resolution rate, removal of what caused the incident)           that provide full authoring and publishing capabilities,
and the value of the contribution to the knowledge              allow for editing and incorporation of changes, use
base (solution reuse, subjective feedback about                 search methodologies based on content and theme,
accuracy, completeness and usefulness). This “Bal-              include taxonomies and provide access to web and
anced Score Card” approach makes a clear distinction            file systems.
between performance drivers (alignment, understanding,
                                                                Benefits of Knowledge Centered Support
commitment), leading indicators (activities, events) and
                                                                With this level of accurate, current and time-tested
outcomes (results).
                                                                knowledge available to both your support technicians
In a Knowledge Centered Support-based system,                   and end users, the benefits are dramatic and imme-
interactions, incidents and calls are logged and                diate in terms of efficiency, cost reduction, self-service
immediately become part of the knowledge base.                  resolution, and support organization job satisfaction.
When an incident is closed, its resolution also
                                                                From a financial standpoint, the Knowledge Centered
becomes part of the knowledge base in the form of a
                                                                Support approach to knowledge management reduces
solution—in real time. Thus, when technicians begin
                                                                total cost of ownership for the help desk, lowers overall
searching for answers to a given incident, they have
                                                                support costs by decreasing the number of calls/
access to the most current knowledge. Incidents can be
                                                                incidents and improving resource utilization, and
solved and leveraged across the support organization,
                                                                reduces employee turnover by building job satisfaction.
and users can do more for themselves.
                                                                In terms of performance, Knowledge Centered Support
For example, suppose one technician is working on
                                                                reduces overall demand on your support organization
a certain incident and a second technician gets a
                                                                and dramatically streamlines support operations by
call about the same thing. In the Knowledge Centered
                                                                letting the same people both create and manage
Support environment, the two can instantly collaborate
                                                                knowledge. The knowledge base is continually
to arrive at a solution faster. Once that solution is logged,
                                                                expanded and updated with relevant, easily-applic-
a technician can post it immediately, associate like
                                                                able solutions. Both technicians and end users can
incidents to the solution, and thus enable both end users
                                                                obtain the best answers in the least amount of time—
and fellow technicians to leverage the knowledge,
                                                                increasing overall satisfaction in both cases.
reducing downtime and increasing efficiency.




                                                                                                                        4
Principles of effective Knowledge                        • Provide seamless integration with your overall service
                                                           management system. The entire Knowledge Centered
Centered Support                                           Support system should be administered from within
There are a number of key factors to consider in           the service management/help desk system. It should
developing the design and structure of an effective        resolve incidents in real time with fully integrated
Knowledge Centered Support-based knowledge                 knowledge, and use problem descriptions automatically
management system. Any such system should:                 for knowledge base searches. It should also include
• Capture new knowledge, in the words of the               a change management workflow encompassing
  customer, at the point that it is discovered and used.   phases, tasks and approvals.
  It is vital that the system acquire data, information  • Support the full knowledge lifecycle. The Knowledge
  and knowledge in real time, because this is the only     Centered Support system should offer multiple-user
  real way to enable technicians and end users to have     privileges that allow approved users to contribute,
  access to the most relevant information. The slower      draft, import, approve, publish and retire knowledge
  the movement along the data-information-knowledge        base content. It should enable a full workflow process
  continuum, the less effective the system will be.        with approval support for driving content through the
• Provide a consistent quality assurance process           lifecycle.
 flexible enough to adapt to the organization’s unique   • Foster self-service and enable feedback. The system
 needs. While timeliness is important, the knowledge       should make self-service as easy as possible, include
 base must also provide solutions of the highest           a button for direct end-user feedback, and offer a
 quality. Often, this is accomplished by re-use and        bulletin-style “Hot News” feature to provide up-to-the-
 testing of the knowledge created, so the Knowledge        minute news about critical issues in the IT infrastructure
 Centered Support system should include practices          that might be causing incidents.
 and processes that allow knowledge to be constantly     • Provide a powerful search engine. The search
 reviewed, tested, updated and measured.                   function should include natural-language search
• Support an adaptive environment that enables the         capabilities, accurate summarization, proper context
  most appropriate knowledge to be applied to each         and stemming, allow users to browse information by
  incident and problem. The system should learn from       means of cate- gory hierarchy, and provide search
  each incident to increase currency, consistency,         results based on individual user rights and access
  relevancy and accuracy.                                  to content.
                                                         • Be certified by the leading industry-standard best
                                                           practices. Since Knowledge Centered Support is a
                                                           best practice approach to knowledge management,
                                                           any effective system should be fully KCS-verified by
                                                           the Consortium for Service Innovation and also
                                                           should support IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best
                                                           practices for integrating knowledge management
                                                           into incident and problem management.




                                                                                                                  5
Creating a Knowledge Centered                                With such a commitment in place, here is a basic five-
                                                             step approach to creating a knowledge management
Support-based knowledge                                      KCS system based on your support organization’s
management practice                                          specific needs:
As previously stated, the Knowledge Centered Support         1.Define. The first step is to fully understand the way
approach to knowledge management provides                      knowledge management currently works in your
significant benefits in helping your IT organization           organization and to create a plan for designing,
better serve its customers, communicate in the                 developing and implementing a new system that
language of the end user in real time, and become              embodies the principles and practices of Knowledge
more closely aligned with enterprise goals and objectives.     Centered Support. How is the system currently being
                                                               used? What are its major drawbacks? What parts of
Clearly, however, these benefits cannot be realized            it work well? What functions/capabilities are needed
unless all the relevant stakeholders—your IT organization,     to serve the needs of your organization, both now
the users of IT services and senior management—buy             and in the future?
into the entire process. Making the kinds of fundamental
                                                              As with any plan of this sort, objectives, deliverables,
changes required to effectively implement this type of
                                                              timelines and projected outcomes should all be clearly
know- ledge management system will inevitably have
                                                              defined, as well as the rewards and benefits for all
significant short-term consequences for all the stake-
                                                              your stakeholders (particularly your support staff)
holders. So your entire organization must be prepared
                                                              along the way.
to see the process through. Rewards and recognition
are a key part in getting your support personnel aligned      Creating buy-in at all levels is a key factor at this
to this methodology, which in the long run can reduce         stage. Stakeholders—from your CEO to entry-level
costs as much as 30 percent and lead to better job            employees—should be educated on what Knowledge
satisfaction.                                                 Centered Support is, and how it will make the entire
                                                              service and support function work better and more
                                                              efficiently. Employees must clearly see that upper
                                                              management has thrown its full support behind the
                                                              Knowledge Centered Support initiative, because
                                                              without that overt support it will be easy to resist the
                                                              change and upheaval that are inevitable as the new
                                                              system replaces the existing one.




                                                                                                                   6
2.Implement. Next, the process moves to building the        3.Measure. Once the system is in place, you can
  envisioned Knowledge Centered Support system. This          measure results, make adjustments, improve proces-
  involves choosing the right technology partner and          ses and workflows, and reward people. It is impor-
  tailoring the system to meet the parameters laid out        tant to acknowledge the people who solve problems
  in the plan. Activities here include setting up all the     and consistently provide usable knowledge content.
  necessary workflows, document template styles,              It is also important to reward for outcomes, and not
  shared text for logos and disclaimers, approvals, and       necessarily for individual activities. Technicians and
  training, based on the best practices of Knowledge          engineers who produce positive outcomes should be
  Centered Support and ITIL. Although KCS is processed-       rewarded and then empowered to coach the rest of
  based, it is very important to have the tools in place      the team to foster constant improvement and growth.
  to support those processes.                               4.Coach. Knowledge creators who have demonstrated
 Once the system is ready, implementation begins.             KCS competency and have good people skills should
 This is where the across-the-board buy-in from Step 1        become the coaches for other technicians. This
 is vital, because this is where the biggest and most         coaching program can cut costs by as much as 30
 critical problems will occur.                                percent, increase support productivity and improve
 As with any major technology implementation, the             customer satisfaction. It can also reduce headcount,
 key message is, “Short-term pain, long-term gain.”           with more knowledge readily searchable via the web.
 Keep your stakeholders focused on the benefits and         5.Solve. Armed with best practice-based knowledge,
 rewards. Make sure your technicians and end users            encourage your support technicians to solve the tough,
 are fully trained on how to use the new system. Allow        more interesting problems and write about them.
 plenty of time to deal with feedback and make
                                                             Of course, these steps are only a high-level approach
 adjustments as the new system is put through its
                                                             to implementing a Knowledge Centered Support
 paces. Stress to your employees that they do not
                                                             knowledge management system. Each step represents
 have to be good writers in order to contribute know-
                                                             a number of sub-projects, some quite complex and
 ledge. Ask them to focus on “one problem, one
                                                             time-consuming. But these steps do provide a good
 solution,” and to avoid putting too much data in
                                                             general sense of how the process works and how
 a single document.
                                                             your IT organization can get started.




                                                                                                                  7
                                       About HP ServiceCenter Knowledge                                             Knowledge Centered Support provides a structure that
                                                                                                                    allows for every call or incident to be immediately
                                       Management                                                                   logged into the knowledge base and updated in real
                                       The HP ServiceCenter (SC) Knowledge Management                               time as details are gathered and a solution is devised,
                                       module delivers all the fundamentals, principles,                            tested and re-used. In this way, all users of the support
                                       features and benefits described here, empowering                             system always have access to the most accurate and
                                       both your support staff and end users by leveraging                          up-to-date information. As a result, the Knowledge
                                       organizational wisdom. It reduces re-work for your IT                        Centered Support approach reduces demand on
                                       staff by making knowledge available across your                              support technicians, enables users to solve many
                                       organization, providing the best answers in real time,                       problems themselves, eliminates redundant problem-
                                       lowering the cost of ownership for your help desk,                           solving, encourages collaboration and improves job
                                       and reducing call resolution times.                                          satisfaction among support technicians. By fostering
                                                                                                                    greater efficiency and self-service, Knowledge
                                       The Knowledge Management solution integrates
                                                                                                                    Centered Support also lowers costs and reduces
                                       seamlessly with HP ServiceCenter software. It supports
                                                                                                                    staffing requirements.
                                       the full knowledge lifecycle, enables increased self-
                                       service support, provides a powerful search engine,                          Any effective Knowledge Centered Support-based
                                       and is built entirely according to industry best practices,                  knowledge management system should:
                                       including Knowledge-Centered Support and the IT                              • Capture new knowledge in the words of the customer
                                       Infrastructure Library (ITIL).                                                 at the point it is discovered and used.
                                                                                                                    • Provide a consistent quality assurance process
                                       Summary                                                                        flexible enough to adapt to your organization’s
                                       Without knowledge, the service and support                                     unique needs.
                                       organization simply cannot serve its internal or
                                                                                                                    • Support an adaptive environment that allows the
                                       external customers. The practice of knowledge
                                                                                                                      most appropriate knowledge to be applied to each
                                       management was developed as a structured way to
                                                                                                                      incident and problem.
                                       gather, organize and make knowledge available.
                                       Underlying the concept of knowledge management                               • Provide seamless integration with your overall service
                                       is the data-information-management continuum:                                  desk system.
                                                                                                                    • Support the full knowledge lifecycle.
                                       • Data is a set of unconnected facts.
                                                                                                                    • Provide a powerful search engine.
                                       • Information is data associated with meaning (what,
                                         who, when, where).                                                         • Be certified as adhering to the leading industry-
                                                                                                                      standard best practices.
                                       • Knowledge is information associated with strategy
                                         or process (how).                                                          When embarking on an initiative to implement a
                                       In recent years, the evolution of knowledge                                  Knowledge Centered Support system, it is vital to get
                                       management resulted in the creation of Knowledge                             complete buy-in from your senior management from
                                       Centered Support, a best practice-based approach to                          the very beginning. Implementing the system will
                                       knowledge management that is specifically applicable                         inevitably cause the problems and upheaval inherent
                                       to service and support organizations. Knowledge                              to any major technology change. If employees
                                       Centered Support seeks to capture, organize and                              continue to see that senior management is 100 percent
                                       utilize support knowledge in ways that benefit all                           supportive of the implementation there will be less
                                       enterprise stakeholders.                                                     resistance, and the new system will move more quickly
                                                                                                                    toward acceptance and toward delivering its very
                                                                                                                    significant benefits to your enterprise.

                                                                                                                    1
                                                                                                                     Gene Bellinger, Knowledge Management—Emerging Perspectives, published
                                                                                                                    at www.systems-thinking.org/kmgmt/kmgmt.htm
                                                                                                                    2
                                                                                                                        Ibid.




© 2007 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change
without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements
accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional
warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.




  To learn more, visit www.hp.com
  4AA1-3386ENW, June 2007

				
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Description: Knowledge Centered Support