TSW Registration Desk Opens: Workshops Underway

I am onsite at the Santa Clara Convention Center for our Spring Technology Services World (TSW) Conference, sequestered in a sunny room for member 1:1 meetings.  For all of you attending the event, I have several 1:1 slots still open so please sign up!  The official open of the event is 3pm today, but many members arrived early for professional development workshops and advisory board meetings.

Spring TSW 2009 Registration is OPEN!!!

Spring TSW 2009 Registration is OPEN!!!

I just spent a few minutes in Implementing Knowledge-Centered Support, a workshop led by longtime SSPA friend and partner, David Kay of DB Kay & Associates. Knowledge management is one of the perennial hot topics at TSW, and there are signs that this event is no exception.  In fact, the few member conversations I’ve already had today are about this topic.

David Kay's Knowledge Centered Support Workshop kicks off

David Kay's Knowledge Centered Support Workshop kicks off

One of the main KM themes this year, I predict, is the merging of service and support KM practices and higher level corporate KM practices.  I am seeing inquiries from members about the differences between corporate content management strategy and tech support knowledge strategy, and I know this can be a big political issue within companies that have a CIO who is closely engaged with KM/CM, or companies with titles like CKO: Corporate Knowledge Officer.

While there is definitely a lot of overlap and some best practices both sides can share, I would advise everyone to keep in mind that these two initiatives have different business goals, different tools, usually different processes, so support executives should not let corporate KM gurus intimidate you or force you to assimilate.  Stick to your guns. Shaving seconds off a phone call is not a goal of corporate CM/KM initiatives.  1-click content retrieval is not a use case requirement for corporate knowledge repositories. And most of all, corporate KM systems are not usually available to outside users, while support center KM tools are purchased and implemented with customer self-service in mind.

I’ll be trying to post frequently this week to highlight some of the great content from presentations and hallway conversations. If you are at TSW, please track me down and say hello, and please attend my keynote presentation tomorrow at 10:45am in which I will present findings from my 2009 Member Technology Survey, and present the winners for the Spring 2009 Recognized Innovator Awards.

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One Comment on “TSW Registration Desk Opens: Workshops Underway”

  1. dbkayanda Says:

    John –

    Thanks as always for the good words!

    I’m really glad that you advised members not to get buried in an overall end-to-end knowledge management initiative — we were just having this conversation with a customer yesterday right after the conference wrapped up.

    There’s nothing wrong with thinking big, but the good news is, the best way to build an enterprise-wide strategy is by building on success. And technical support is an excellent beachhead for knowledge. Consider:

    1. Most customer-facing work in support comes in discrete units–cases, service requests, etc. These units may be small (15 minutes) or large (engineer days spread over weeks) but they’re still discrete. It’s easier to capture, reuse, and improve knowledge at the level of the case than (say) the new product development effort or a multi-month professional services engagement.

    2. Most cases are already documented — knowledge work of some kind is happening already! So in most cases, effective knowledge management in support is a matter of directing and tuning work that’s already happening, rather than adding a new process.

    3. Successful knowledge in support becomes viral. Developers join in because they want their inputs to be as technically accurate as possible. Professional and field services teams are heavy users, and can become valuable contributors over time. Partners see the benefit, and can get extra “juice” from insider access. Then, HR sees what’s happening in the customer-facing ecosystem, and wonders if it can’t do the same thing to provide employee services. And success builds on success.

    So, certainly, let’s begin with the end in mind…but as FT says, “dream big but implement small.” The first best thing that a would-be CKO can get from support is a working model of a bounded knowledge management activity that is showing real benefits and that can be extended and replicated as other team opt-in.


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