Intelligent Swarming: More Than Collaboration

Intelligent Swarming is gaining momentum in the Technology Services and IT Service Management industries as companies look to optimize the way they connect their people with the work that needs to be done.  Often referred to as “collaboration on steroids,” Intelligent Swarming is a methodology that aims to get the right person working on a question at the first touch.

As Consortium for Service Innovation staff works with member companies on implementing the Intelligent Swarming Framework, there is always a point where we have to pause and define the difference between Intelligent Swarming and collaboration. Often, there is a misunderstanding that Intelligent Swarming means that multiple people will be collaborating on every single request that comes in. This is not the case! While collaboration is part of what makes Intelligent Swarming work, it is not the full equation.

Intelligent Swarming: People-Matching + Collaboration

Intelligent Swarming = matching work to people + collaboration

Matching Work to People

Matching Work to People is about getting the issue (case, service request, problem report, etc.) to the right person or team to solve the issue on first contact.  This requires us to think about how we classify both work and the skills of our people – ideally using the same classification model so it is easy to make the match quickly and efficiently. This is more than a case-assignment engine; it requires some thought as to how we structure our tools and processes so that people have visibility to all the work that is relevant to them.


Collaboration is about removing the barriers of access to the collective knowledge of the organization by making it easy for people to ask for and offer help. Members who have implemented Intelligent Swarming report that generally speaking, collaboration happens on less than 30% of issues, and that when collaboration does happen, it is a smoother and faster way to get access to the right resources.

When we combine the ability to Match Work to People and enable Collaboration, we have built an Intelligent Swarming system.

For more details on the pieces required to design an Intelligent Swarming process, please visit the Intelligent Swarming Design section of the Intelligent Swarming: A Framework for Collaboration paper.

One thought on “Intelligent Swarming: More Than Collaboration

  1. Well said, Matt. I believe Skill Matrix is a key aspect of this framework and have personally seen its usefulness in one of the IT Service Desks I handled. Though getting the right person with knowledge assigned to an issue is only 50% of work, it’s still the most crucial step in successful issue resolution. Does KCS prescribe a specific skill matrix framework / template for Intelligent Swarming?

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