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Top 10 KCS Questions

In 2020, Excalibur Data Systems hosted a 3-part webinar series on KCS (Knowledge-Centered Service). You can learn more about KCS at

In order to get dramatically different results, we have to do something dramatically different. For most organizations, KCS® represents a new way to think about knowledge, and the benefits are profound. There are many benefits to implementing the KCS methodology at your organization like:

• Solving cases and incidents faster

• Optimizing use of resources

• Enabling a Self-Service strategy

• Building an organizational learning library

We picked the top 10 questions from our webinar series and answered them below!

I’ve not heard of KCS until now. Is this some new idea?

o Answer: Nope, however it may come as a surprise that The Consortium for Service Innovation started work on KCS in 1992, so needless to say it’s been around for a while!

We don’t have a great way to deal with knowledge. How would you suggest we proceed?

o Answer: This is somewhat dependent on your current state. The process is typically the place to start with many things. Otherwise, you’re just cobbling technology over bad flow. That said, it is important to investigate a toolset that will support your process so you can be as effective as possible.

Can individuals play more than one role?

o Answer: Yes. Often “Coaches” and “Domain Experts” serve in a part-time capacity in the “Evolve” loop but operate on a day-to-day basis in “solve” loop activities, likely as Publishers. In fact, being right in the middle of the Solve loop action can hone a Coach’s or Domain Expert’s craft.

Does Every Role Need to Exist?

o Answer: In the Solve Loop, no – but weigh this carefully. Often organizations will attempt to minimize the number of roles in the Knowledge Worker space in order to maximize the possible contributive factor of process participants. But you still need a place where new participants can learn and grow, hence the KCS Candidate role. In the Evolve Loop, if you don’t have individuals that can coach or provide domain expertise, your process and content will suffer.

Does anyone actually “approve” an article?

o Answer: Not explicitly, however content “Publishers” are implicitly “approving” by presenting content to the KB. Although it’s not a “volume” game, certainly the more people we trust – which is a critical component - to perform this activity means the higher quantity of articles can be presented without an approval bottleneck. This is one of several key differentiators between KCS and the “typical” knowledge process.

If you’re taking on a KCS initiative after spending a lot of time compiling knowledge a different way, what happens to all the existing content?

o Answer: Typically, the “old” content is archived, not deleted. If during the process it’s discovered certain content is of value, it can be harvested for that purpose., but the knowledge base is not “seeded” with this content.

Without approvals, how does the Publication process work?

o Answer: Depending on your role, you are “licensed” to publish and fix content. Article “confidence” or lifecycle is the way we communicate its trustworthiness. This isn’t just a one-time thing though. KCS tells us that “reuse is a review”, so each time an article is utilized, by examining the content you are re-validating the article, thus increasing its quality. Even if you’re not licensed to publish you are a significant part of this effort. However, if you are licensed to publish straight-away, you don’t even have to wait for someone else to sign off.

Who or What would be a good candidate group for the first “wave”?

o Answer: Organize a core group of committed and excited participants to kick things off. This gives you the best chance the make a great impression and set a positive tone for the program. Because some – if not many – of the members in this initial wave will be looked to as thought and process leaders, make sure that you have individuals that present a high probability of playing the role of Coach, which is required to help foster growth with subsequent “waves”.

Is an Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) Something I Can Do On My Own?

o Answer: Perhaps, although if you are serious about conducting one formally, it’s best to hire a subject matter expert to help guide and provide third-party analysis for you. Additionally, you’d want to consider the possible impact (positive or negative) that an ONA might have – for example, because the purpose of this exercise (at least in the context of KCS) is to identify those individuals who are at the center of things and respected, it may also reveal who is not). Someone who has conducted this kind of thing can bring a wealth of experience, understanding, and sensitivity to the exercise.

Is KCS Certification required?

o Answer: No, although as long as you truly understand the content and method, certifications (even generally) can not only serve as a pedigree but indicate to others your commitment to the cause. In the case of KCS, the entire methodology is spelled out (for free) out via the Consortium for Service Innovation ( and the KCS Academy ( and is pretty easy to digest.

Looking for our webinar recordings? Watch the first webinar of the series below. The rest you can find here.

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