Capture and Create Aren’t the Same

In a maturing KCS environment, we are always Capturing and Searching so we can find existing knowledge for Reuse. Capturing doesn’t always result in Creating new articles. 

There was a lively Open Space discussion at the 2023 Member Summit in San Diego focused on the need to differentiate the KCS Practice of Capture from the occasional activity of creating an article.  Capture is a constant (and non-negotiable) whereas the creation of articles will ebb and flow based on demand. As a KCS implementation matures, the creation rate slows thanks to Reuse.

The KCS v6 Practices Guide was written before today’s common workflow of capturing requestor context in case fields; many tools required knowledge workers to capture in a work-in-progress knowledge article. Because of this, much of the Consortium’s documentation uses the words “capture” and “create” interchangeably. As the technology we use to do KCS continues to evolve and mature, it has become evident that some clarity around these two things would be helpful. 

Why is Capture Important?

Capture and share knowledge in the moment, and in the context of the question-asker, because otherwise the solution is hard to find (or recreate) later.

  • Capture Knowledge in the Moment because that’s when the context is clearest, and when we are able to access tacit knowledge.
  • Capture the Requestor’s Context because that’s what improves recognizability and findability.
  • Searching is Creating: that’s where gaps are immediately identified.
From KCS v6 Practices Guide Appendix H: The “Why” Behind Each Practice

What is the difference between Capture and Create?

Capture is what we’re doing with the requestor’s context in every interaction.  We capture context in the moment, and use it to search to find existing knowledge. When we find knowledge, we reuse it, and improve it if we need to. We only create an article if we discover one doesn’t exist after searching early and often. Create is what we’re doing when we need to turn our captured notes into a new article. 

Why is it important to differentiate between Capture and Create?

For shared understanding and expectation setting, it is important that we talk about Capture and Create as two different things. A common misunderstanding at the beginning of a KCS journey is that every case forever going forward requires time for a brand new article to be created. While our Create rates might be high at the outset, they will normalize over time. But there is never a time that we are done capturing context.

Organizations who don’t emphasize the importance of consistently capturing and using the requestor’s context for searching and improving often end up struggling with findability: their knowledge base fills up with articles that are not findable or usable by requestors.

Illustrating the Difference: Two Scenarios

Capture

  • Hector is a knowledge worker who is proficient at the Publisher level. 
  • In his case workflow, Hector opens a new case from the queue (web-to-case) and starts to read through the issue the customer provided in the case form. 
  • As he reads through the details, he takes notes of relevant context about the issue and captures the context to preserve it in the designated case fields or case notes.
  • Hector uses the captured context and searches the knowledge base to find matching articles.
  • He reads a few articles and realizes he has a few follow up questions for the customer. He reaches out to the customer, and the customer responds.
  • Hector captures (adds) the additional relevant context in the designated case fields and searches the knowledge base again. 
  • Hector finds an article that solves the customers issue! He links the article to the case, replies to the customer, and closes the case.

Create

  • Our friend Hector opens a new case from the queue, and captures relevant customer context in the designated case fields or case notes.
  • Hector searches the knowledge base and finds some promising articles, but discovers he has more questions for the customer. 
  • He reads a few articles and realizes he has a few follow up questions for the customer. He reaches out to the customer, and the customer responds.
  • Hector captures (adds) the additional relevant context in the designated case fields and searches the knowledge base again. He does not find an article.
  • Hector does some analysis and research to solve the customer’s issue.
  • Hector uses what he has captured in the case fields to create a new article with the resolution.
  • Hector publishes the article, links the article to the case, replies to the customer, and closes the case.

The Ripple Effect

There are a number of places we expect this clarification will impact, including the Practices of Capture, Process Integration, and Performance Assessment in the KCS v6 Practices Guide. But before we head down that road, we want to hear from you:

  • How are you addressing the difference between Capture and Create?
  • Has this been a big issue for your implementation?
  • What questions does this bring up (or have you already solved) regarding this?

Let’s improve the methodology together!


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