When I was hired five years ago to implement knowledge base tools, I knew I had a challenge on my hands. What’s the point of having a tool when it’s not going to be used? And how would I convince people that it’s in everyone’s best interest to share what we know?

So I started my search for existing knowledge management best practices—surely I wasn’t the only one who was asking these questions? Having come up empty in my native country, The Netherlands, I expanded my search. It took me to the U.S. where I discovered Knowledge-Centered Service, or KCS® for short. A year later I was the first certified KCS Trainer in mainland Europe. I salute Steve Brand (UK), who as far as I know was the very first certified KCS Trainer in all of Europe.

What’s the point of having a tool when it’s not going to be used?

Today, Steve and I are certainly not the only certified KCS Trainers in Europe anymore. In my country alone there are now four certified trainers, the UK counts at least as many. And the trainer network is rapidly expanding to other European countries—Germany, Sweden, and Norway, to name a few.

The fact that the number of certified trainers is expanding so rapidly is due to a rising demand from the service and support industry. More and more companies are discovering KCS the same way I did: looking for a process blueprint for knowledge management. Also, more and more vendors in the knowledge management and service management spaces offer tooling which supports KCS workflows out-of-the-box and are raising awareness for KCS with their customers.

I see KCS going the same route that ITIL did, but in the opposite direction. Having been developed in the UK and quickly embraced by other European countries, it took about 20 years before ITIL found its way into the hearts of American IT businesses. KCS has been around since 1992.

Perhaps 20 is the magic number?

We often get the question: How many companies in Europe have adopted KCS? And the answer is: we don’t really know. Just like how I discovered KCS and passed the KCS Practices exam by studying on my own, there are companies who discovered KCS and who went ahead and adopted it on their own.

The Consortium for Service Innovation, the non-profit organization who owns and nurtures KCS, has all the documentation freely available on their website for everyone to view and download. I do know that our customer base is growing. And when talking about KCS, I don’t get the blank stare and “Kay Cee whatnow?” reaction as much anymore.

The Consortium has also recognized the growing demand in Europe. Since 2015, they organize regular meetings and conferences in Europe. If you’re interested, have a look at their events page. To get a better feel for what their events are like, we regularly attend and take notes on the sessions, here is a post from Europe Team Meeting “Evolution of Content.”

There’s still a long way to go before KCS is as standard in Europe as ITIL is today. Still, I’m excited and proud to be a part of that journey.

KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation.

Additional categories: Knowledge Management