Altiris Case Study - Part of a case study delivered at the SSPA National Conference in 2007 (now TSIA).
The Air Force case study below is just a summary, but the results were extraordinary and show what KCS & KM can do.
The following slides present the first year KCS results, but keep in mind that we went live in April, so the 2006 metrics actually represent 9 months, not a full year as 2005 does.
Air Force Case Study Summary
Lackland Air Force Base, Texas - 2013: The U.S. Air Force was a year into a support services consolidation that affected all Air Force bases world-wide. Prior to this effort, each base had its own helpdesk to support the technology used on the base. The consolidation was gradually eliminating those individual helpdesks, and routing the support cases to the new consolidated center. When Tom was brought in as a Knowledge Management (KM) consultant and Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) expert, there were approximately 700 agents (8 months later this was reduced to 500 due to sequestration).
Each month dozens of additional bases were added, meaning call volume was increasing from natural growth, and even more so from the new bases added each month. The center was experiencing very poor morale, conflict between the military and the civilian contractors, very low customer satisfaction (the customer being the airmen globally, and a number of other serious and complicated issues.
Turnover was extremely high, which, of course, negatively affected agent competency and the morale problems. There was a downward cycle with each of these problems feeding the others. One of the serious consequences of these issues was a ticket backlog of approximately ten thousand (10,000) cases. Yes, that is ten thousand! And it was slowly growing each month.
Tom started by doing a deep assessment of the organization, including the normal things a consultant would analyze, and also an assessment of the culture, which few consultants understand or evaluate. This analysis gave Tom a clear understanding of the root causes of the problems, and equipped him to develop a detailed strategy to overcome them.
This strategy included guiding improvements in technology, metrics, and reporting associated with knowledge creation, sharing and utilization. He also improved and streamlined a number of processes, and using his extensive experience with conflict resolution, guided and coached the agents and managers to resolve the issues causing so much conflict between the military and the civilian workforce.
He also guided tool improvements including search engine optimization, and eliminated a number of process bottlenecks. He facilitated new training to the teams to improve communication and collaboration, and instill understanding and confidence in KCS and KM, and each other. These and a number of other activities transitioned the culture to one of trust and confidence; in each other, in their knowledge, and in their ability and enthusiasm to share that knowledge.
Eliminated the backlog of 10,000 incidents
As morale improved, turnover dropped from nearly 40% to around 20%, which also started a positive cycle of increasing competency and efficiency
A major documentation effort that had been projected to take 6 to 8 months was completed in 6 weeks, and received a perfect score as part of a squadron inspection.
The support center is a Squadron in the Air Force, with several Squadrons making a Group, and several Groups making a Wing. Each squadron goes through a major inspection each year. In their first inspection, the squadron received the lowest scores of all the squadrons, which has a dramatic impact on promotions and careers. At the end of 8 months the squadron had their annual inspection, and not only had the highest scores of all the squadrons, but for the first time of any squadron in the wing, they received a perfect score on their inspection!
There were, of course, many other positive consequences as a result of the ones listed above, but this summarizes the dramatic shift this organization experienced by adopting true knowledge management and KCS principles and methodologies. One of these positive consequences was that when the center had to reduce headcount by nearly 30%, the efficiencies already created allowed them to handle the reduction without a significant drop in service or customer satisfaction. Prior to these changes it would have been an absolute disaster.