TECO Energy was one of the three finalists for the HDI Knowledge-Centered Support Award in 2015. The finalists were honored, and the winner announced, at FUSION 15 in New Orleans.
Business Computing Services (BCS) provides service desk and desktop support to the entire TECO Energy family of companies, which includes Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas, and New Mexico Gas Company. Twenty-four analysts, including six field analysts, provide service desk and desktop support and handle first‐level support. They’re supported by two managers (one for the service desk, the other for desktop support), an IT service quality analyst, and a director. In 2014, the BCS team fielded 27,332 incidents and 20,893 requests opened by our customers. A total of 35,130 calls come through the service desk and another 22,821 tickets come through our web portal.
What was the situation before the launch of the knowledge management initiative?
Before implementing Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS), BCS faced a number of challenges:
- Our first contact resolution (FCR) had been hovering in the 65-71 percent range for a number of years. Despite our best efforts, we had been unable to move the needle.
- Our average talk time had been at eight minutes for a number of years.
- Our mean time to resolve (MTTR) was fourteen hours.
- We kept “knowledge” in an unstructured way in Microsoft OneNote. This resulted in duplicate information and no way of ensuring one solution was more accurate than another.
- We had an aging workforce with a number of analysts approaching retirement age. We knew that capturing and saving that collective knowledge was incredibly important.
- We saw a considerable delay with new service desk analysts as they required four weeks on average to be sufficiently prepared to take phone calls.
- We had no self‐service capabilities.
- We had an equal number of service desk and desktop support analysts, but the desktop support analysts were only seeing about five percent of the tickets escalated.
What was the knowledge management strategy?
After completing its reorganization in January 2012, it quickly became clear that for the reorganization to work, KCS would have to be institutionalized in our organization. The BCS management team developed an aggressive strategy that involved training 70 percent of the analysts on staff, as well as the management team. The strategy called for a four‐month implementation period, at the end of which the organization would be ready and able to implement and institutionalize KCS.
Throughout the training process, our vision of KCS became clearer and more tightly integrated into our support organization. We developed a common vocabulary for talking about knowledge and we created a theme – “Knowledge without Borders” – that would define what knowledge‐centered support meant to us. Moreover, we developed a definition of success for our implementation of knowledge‐centered support. These success indicators were:
- Increased FCR
- Decreased MTTR for both the service desk and desktop support
- Decreased average talk time for the service desk
- Decreased time to proficiency for new service desk employees
- Implementation of self‐service for our internal customers
Which processes and tools had to be implemented, modified, or leveraged to support the knowledge management strategy?
By July 2012, the implementation team had defined our KCS implementation and the team was ready to begin. We marketed KCS to the entire IT organization through a commercial we made in‐house. We also held several training courses for non‐support staff over the course of a month. We branded KCS as iSolveIT and used that to promote KCS within our internal IT department and to our end users, who would use it for self‐service.
To implement KCS, we had to modify our incident management and our request fulfillment processes to include:
- Search early and search often
- Use it, flag It, fix it, add it (UFFA)
- Knowledge through reuse
New processes were developed within our service management tool to allow knowledge articles to move through various phases until they were candidates for publication in self‐service. New performance assessment processes were also developed to include performing solution quality index scores and what we termed “article efficiency,” which is a weighted score of how well an individual is engaged in KCS processes.
What were some of the lessons learned?
- Secure buy‐in from both management and the analysts that will be implementing knowledge‐centered support before you begin. Don’t assume analysts will see the benefit once they start using it. They need a vision before they even begin.
- Be willing to take the time for the training and implementation. Don’t expect people to do their job and learn about and implement KCS on the side. Go all in and be willing to take a performance hit in the short‐term for the long‐term benefit.
- Let the people who will use knowledge‐centered support on a daily basis design your implementation. They will know best how to integrate into your incident management process and how it will fit culturally as well as technically.
- During design and implementation titles go out the door and everyone should have input in what is being created. Candid, direct, and frequent conversations will facilitate the type of dialogue that will produce a superior result. Don’t be afraid of conflict or hard conversations. They can produce some of the best ideas that will come out of the implementation process.
- Prepare analysts for new metrics and be ready to explain what you are measuring, why you are measuring it, and how often you will be measuring it. Be ready to talk about this often and be prepared for people to be nervous and even a little insecure when you first begin.
Has your organization implemented KCS? Get recognized for your work! Apply for the HDI Knowledge-Centered Support Award.