Knowledge Centered Support Glossary of terms

A

  • Author - The role of the knowledge base article author.  See Role.  The author is the person responsible for writing knowledge base content.  The author isn't necesarily an expert in the subject matter being written, but they have the literary skills to turn technical knowledge into easily digestible knowledge content.  A knowledge base author is likely to consult extensively with a subject matter expert in order to turn "geek-speak" into language for the n00b.
     
  • Article - A knowledge base article.  This is the document that user can search for.  It may be delivered via the desktop, the web, a phone, or something else.  A knowledge base article is the thing that users need to solve their problems and issues.

B

  • Best practice - Structuring your helpdesk/service desk on the principles of delivering relevant, contextual knowledge is best practice.  People want answers.
     
  • Brain - According to KCS - "The KB does not replace people’s brains; it complements their brains. People have to be able to recognize a correct answer when they see it. A user should never deliver/apply an Article they do not know enough about. They must have some level of certainty that it fixes the problem."

C

  • Capture - The process and stage by which a helpdesk or service desk operator understands and documents the isses that a client/customer may have.  Capturing data is what helpdesk is all about.  Whether it comes via phone, fax, email, Twitter, Facebook or whatever, capturing the customer experience is vital to the knowledge centered support methodology.
     
  • Cause - A section within a knowledge base article that explains why an issue has arisen.  A "cause" may also be a code within service management software that is entered at the point of job/ticket resolution.
     
  • Certified - Did you know you and your organization can become KCS certified?
     
  • Consortium for service innovation.  Custodians of KCS www.serviceinnovation.org
     
  • Classification - The process by which knowledge is organized.  Each knowledge base article is classified according to it's purpose, intended audience, technical level, content etc.  Classification plays an important part in how knowledge articles are searched, found and rated.
     
  • Collaboration - Creating a culture of knowledge is a team effort.  Unify your management, helpdesk staff, technical geeks and others to make it work.  

D

  • Database - The storage mechanism that keeps all of your data and knowledge.  Most ITSM software stores its information in a database system.
     
  • Double loop - The process by which knowledge is delivered via a solve loop, and an evolve loop.  Knowledge articles are created to solve a problem, and then evolve over time (or are retired) as required.
     
  • Domain - The field of expertise in a subject matter.  If you are an expert, or know something about something, then you are an expert in that "domain".  Domain experts should be consulted as part of the knowledge base creation process.  Domain experts know the subject, but they don't necesarily know how to write.  This is where the "Author" comes in.

E

  • Efficiency - When you provide answers to your staff and clients, and foster an environment of knowledge creation, sharing and education, you realize this.
     
  • Email - The source of many KCS-related operations.  People email the helpdesk or service desk.  They want answers!
     
  • Environment – Associated with information within a knowledge base article.  Refers to the products involved (hardware, software, and networks) release or version, recent changes to the environment.  Gives context to searches, platforms and the users' experience.
     
  • Evolve loop - Knowledge content evolves over time according to relevancy, feedback and technical changes.  Different people with different skills assume roles to foster a continuous improvement process of knowledge content
     

F

  • FAQ - "Frequently asked question" - A style of knowledge article that "asks" the question, then answers it.
     
  • Fix - A knowledge base article may refer to a "fix".  This is the process/solution that will fix the issue experiences by the user.
     
  • Feedback - Feedback is vital in effective KCS.  Articles are improved over time due to feedback from clients, customers, collegues, and anyone else who reads and consumes a knowledge article.  Make sure you take the time to notice and take action based on your feedback. See Evolve loop

G

  • "Gee!" - "I didn't think of that!  Let me try it.....".  Good knowledge content will surprise, enliven and sharpen your team.
     
  • Goals - Regularly review and report on your KCS progress.  The whole team needs to be involved to make it work.  KCS requires a cultural change in the way data, information and knowledge is stored, shared and nurtured.  Goal setting is an important part of the KCS journey.

H

  • Help - KCS is perfect for client self-service.  If you have a web-based self-service platform, the principles of knowledge centered support are perfect.  Clients help themselves.
     
  • Hero free zone - There is no place for knowledge heros with KCS.  Knowledge is shared and collectively improved throughout the organization.  Silos of knowledge and tech-heros are not compatible with the principles of knowledge centered support. Share the knowledge, don't hoard it.
     

I

  • Improvement - This is a key principle of KCS.  Whatever you have written...improve it.  As environment, users and technical details change, update your content to keep it relevant.
     
  • Incomplete articles - Refers to knowledge base articles that are a work-in-progress.  Role-based knowledge creation is a central theme in knowledge centered support.
     
  • ITIL - Information Technology Infrastructure Library.  Processes to guide your helpdesk and servcice management journey.

J

  • Just in time -...or JIT.  The concept that information is available in real time.  You have a problem....I have the solution (and I'll write it in a knowledge base article).  If an article doesn't exist, start work on it right there and then.
     
  • Journey - KCS is a journey.  It takes time to adopt, to train, to embrace it.  Getting the organization to collaborate, share and improve articles may take a significant cultural shift.  Enjoy the journey - it's worth it.

K

  • KCS - Knowledge centred support.  KCSsm  is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation
     
  • Knowledge base - A repository of information.  A knowledge base is arranged and organized into topics and categories that address specific issues and problems.  A knowledge base is the mechanism through which helpdesk and service desk operators search for information so that they can provide resolution and information about a given topic.
     
  • Knowledge management - The discipline of appreciating, organizing and working with information in a way that it provides value to your staff, your clients and your business.  Knowledge management is the process by which you create, store, curate, publish and make available information.
     
  • Known issue - An issue, helpdesk request, or service management problem that has already been documented, resolved and closed.  Knowledge base articles can be created for the benefit of other clients/customer who experience the effects of the known issue.
     
  • Known error - An ITIL term relating to something that is already known.  Link these to your incidents, problems and change management jobs.

L

  • "Let me Google that for you" -  www.lmgtfy.com .  The ultimate knowledge base.  Don't underestimate this source of knowledge.  Why create content if it's already available?
     
  • Linking - Once a knowledge article has been created, link it to other knowledge content.  This may include other articles, incidents, problems, websites, other documents etc
     
  • Listen - LIsten to the way people express their problem, their issue and their concerns.  Use this language when you author knowledge articles.  People will search for words in the manner in which they speak.  Use synoymns in your article, or in additonal searchable fields.

M

  • Meta data - The "other" information that compliments a knowledge article. "Meta"=Greek for "around".   Data like "date created", "created by", "last updated by", "date last updated", "Rating"....etc.  This is important information - data that "surrounds" your knowledge.
     
  • Methodology - A structure approach.  KCS is a process, an approach, a methodology.  A way of making knowledge work harder in your organization.  It takes committment, discipline, structure education and persistence....like any methodology.
     
  • Moderator - A role within the KCS process.  When customers, staff or others rate knowledge base content, they may leave comments and feedback.  The role of the moderator is to determine whether that feedback should be make public so that other people can see it.  A moderator may decide to remove the knowledge base article from public attention based on feedback.
     
  • Monitor - Keep an eye on your knowledge processes.  Define roles and assign responsibility to people so that they check and refine knowledge base content.  See Feedback.

N

  • "No worries" - Phrases you'll hear around your helpdesk if you start implementing knowledge centred support principles.
     
  • "Not invented here!" - A term you'll hear at some helpdesks.  Usually followed by ...."click..."  Avoid this if possible.

O

  • Opinion - Embrace feedback!  Give your clients a say- they have opinions!  When you create knowledge base articles for public consumption, be prepared to accept, acknolwedge and act on the feedback that comes your way.  Client feedback and rating is a key part of KCS principles.

P

  • Problem –  A description of what the user/customer is trying to do and the issues that they have experienced.  May include system and error messages, screen shots, log files or a verbal description of the issue.  ITIL may terms this as an incident or problem.
     
  • Publish - When knowledge base articles have been written, checked and are ready for public consumption, go public!  Let your customers be able to search, view and comment on what you've written.

Q

  • Question - "How/what/why....?".  Any business knows this one.  This is exactly the reason you need to embrace KCS.  The sooner you start, the sooner you realize the benefits.

 R

  • Reviewer - The role of the knowledge base article reviewer.  This is a person who doesn't necesarily have the knowledge to write an article, but has the literery skills to know whether a knowledge base article is well written.  It's their job to review, advise and correct knowledge base content.
     
  • Return on investment (ROI) - KCS allows you to solve cases quicker, solve more cases on the first point of contact, and improve overall employee and organizational efficiency.
     
  • Role - A role in KCS refers to the different position a person may play in the knowledge delivery process.  Roles may include the following:

    Author
    Reviewer
    Technical consultant
    Auditor
    Administrator
     
  • Rating - All knowledge should be subject to a rating by the consumer.  When people search for information and are presented with a list of possible knowledge base articles, they should have the opportunity to rate the relevancy, content and quality of the suggested solution.  The overall rating of the knowledge base article reflects an aggregate of how good the article is for a given search.
     
  • Resuse - Refers to knowledge base articles that can be used over and over again.  The principle of "Write once - use often" applies here.  This is one of the key principles of KCS.  The higher the "re-use" factor a knowledge base article has, the better it is.  KCS administrators should monitor this statistics closely for changes and action it accordingly.  Do not underestimate the value of "resuse".  This is where it's at!
     
  • Resolution – The fix, work-around or course of action that should be taken in order to address the issue that the client is experiencing.  Each knowledge base article should clearly specify and delineate what resolutions are available.

S

  • Search - Something a user does....a lot.  When people search for knowledge, they are expecting answers.
     
  • Solve Loop - The time when helpdesk staff use the knowledge base system of their software to solve a customers issue.  They perform a search on the client problem and arrive at the solution which is conveyed to the user. 
     
  • Scope - Each knowledge base article should clearly identify what it relates to, what products, platforms, operating systems etc it relates to.
     
  • Subject matter expert - Every knowledge base article needs to be written by someone who has good knowledge on the subject.  If your article consistently gets back feedback, send it back to this person for a re-write!
     
  • Sugest an article - Allow your clients, customers and other users of your knowledge system to be able to suggest an article.
     
  • Symptom - A section of a knowledge base article that addresses an issue.  The symptom is something that has happened to a customer.  By defining what they might experience, you quickly gain their attention and direct them to your knowledge base article.

T

  • Take time - KCS takes time to implement and to succeed.  If a knowledge article does not exist at the time of searching for it, take the time to make one, or at least start it.  Get the key concepts down.  An investment in time now will save much time later.
     
  • Target audience - Write knowledge base articles for an audience. Clearly specify this in the article itself so that your clients know if it is applicable to them.
     
  • Taxonomy - Referring to classifying things....as in classifying knowledge base articles with codes, issues, "applies to" etc.  When you start making lots of knowledge base articles according to KCS principles, you're going to need a naming convention, or taxonomy. 

    eg:

         FIX001- "How to fix this..."
         Workaround_ABC - "Do this to avoid..."

         etc.

     
  • Turn it off an on again! - Never under-estimate this option.  It works.  No need for a knowledge base article.  Every IT worker knows this one.

U

  • UFFA - Use it, Flag it, Fix it, Add it.  Take ownership of your knowledge.  The people who use the knowledge, are accountable and responsible for maintaining and improving it, regardless of their position within the organization.
     
  • Unique - When a unique situation occurs, write an article for it!
     
  • Use it! - KCS works....but it involves a cultural change.  Educate you staff about it.  Teach them.  Help them to help others.

V

  • Verified - The Consortium of Service Innovation verify software vendors that supossedly implement these principles.
     
  • Value - Just one great knowledge base article can really save you time and effort.  If your company has

W

  • Workaround - A workaround is a section of a knowledge base article that gives possible solutions, or work-arounds to a given issue.  While not a complete fix, a work-around gives a possible solution to an issue.
     
  • Workflow - Each knowledge base article shoud be subject to a workflow before it is made public.  Define roles and responsibilities to ensure that every bit of knowledge is corectly authored, checked, approved and published.

X

  • X-ceed - client Xpectations with Xcellent service and knowledgeable staff
     
  • EXtend - KCS principles allow an organization to extend and scale their support capabilities by making efficient use of what they have.  Perfect for organizations with limited budget and staffing resources.
     
  • EXperience - Give your clients a better support experience.  Technicians have better access to information resources.  Clients have better access to self-help and web-published knowledge bases.

Y

  • Y are you waiting to implement better knowledge management!?
     
  • You - KCS involves everyone, even you.  Contribute to an article.  Review it, rate it, link it.  Share it.

Z

  • OrganiZation - Organizations that adopt and work with KCS principles benefit from the solve/evolve loop.  They capture, create and store knowledge that will improve the business
     
  • RealiZe - Operational efficiencies are realized when structured, methodical knowledge is created and used.
     
  • OptimiZe - Optimize business results, optimize client satisfaction, optimize use of resources