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Great to be back at the beautiful ARIA in Los Vegas for Technology Services World, which is my 24th TSIA conference! Today was the opening day, and I was up early for our Partner Advisory Board meeting, which included a facilitated session by our new Consulting Alliance Partner, Method Garage, on the business of customer journey mapping. I’m very excited about this conference theme, The Art and Science of the Customer Journey, which is so relevant to our industry and really resonating with our members, across disciplines.

Pre-Conference Keynote

After a quick presentation for our EXPO partners, the next stop was my pre-conference keynote, “Self-Service 2.0: Embedding Support into Applications.” I had a surprisingly large crowd for my overview of the results from my 2017 Knowledge Management Survey, including three reports I created based on the survey data, which are available to current TSIA members: “2017 State of Knowledge Management:  Ignore Culture’s Impact to KM Success at Your Peril,” “TSIA Knowledge Management Maturity Model: Mapping Evolution of KM from Recognition to Strategic Program,” and the position paper for my keynote, “Self-Service 2.0: Embedding Service into Applications: Increase Deflection and Adoption Using Help within Applications.

I started talking a couple of years ago about the impact of corporate culture on the success of knowledge management, and I ask a question about culture in the survey:

knowledge sharing culture  

(Click image to enlarge.)
Source: TSIA 2017 Knowledge Management Survey

Out of curiosity, I filtered the survey results to compare data from high-culture companies (those who rated themselves 6-10) and low-culture companies (those who rated themselves 1-5). In almost every case, there was a dramatic difference between the two, with higher culture companies more likely to have dedicated resources for managing and creating knowledge, more likely to invest in innovative technology such as intelligent search, and more likely to adhere to best-in-class processes, such as Knowledge Centered Support (KCS).

4 Examples of Embedded Support

The topic of embedding support into applications fascinates me. I talked about early examples, such as Microsoft’s Clippy, and newer examples, such as Amazon’s Mayday feature on the Fire tablet. While most companies don’t provide much in the way of embedded help other than field-level help or access to a manual, there are new approaches emerging, and I highlighted four use cases:

  1. Intelligent search: Embedding this into an application means the customer can search the manual, the knowledgebase, the community, and whatever other content libraries exist to access more content to help answer their questions.
  2. Learning content: Most companies have created a library of learning content, often accessed online in bite-sized chunks in a learning management system. Embedding this content within the application means customers don’t have to navigate elsewhere for a tutorial.
  3. Walk-throughs: New technology is making it easier to create wizard-like step-by-step walk-throughs of how to complete a form or a process, which is great way to illustrate complex procedures, or as a reminder for features you don’t use very often.
  4. Chat: Embedding a chat control within the application, like Mayday, can give the customer direct access to a live agent for assistance, with a great opportunity for screen sharing/remote control.

TSIA Power Hour

Then, in my 4:15 PM Power Hour, I continued on this topic with an expert panel of partners whose technology can be used to accomplish these use cases. A big thanks to Mal Poulin, Sr. Director, Product Strategy, ANCILE Solutions; Mike Raley, VP, Marketing, Coveo; Dave Campbell, VP, Product Marketing, LogMeIn; and Dan Adika, CEO and Co-Founder, WalkMe, for participating and providing great insight for the audience on how to lobby development and product management to go this route, and how to create the business case for funding.

It was a long day, but some great conversations and it is always fun to share new data and new thinking on some old topics. Tomorrow is my 1:1 day, I’m spending the day in a meeting room talking to members and partners, and though they usually are coming to me for advice, I think I always learn more than they do! See you in the EXPO! And as always, thanks for reading.

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John Ragsdale

About Author John Ragsdale

John Ragsdale is a distinguished researcher and the vice president of technology ecosystems for TSIA. His area of expertise is in creating strategies for improving the service operations and overall customer experience by leveraging innovative technology. John works closely with TSIA’s partner ecosystem, identifying leading and emerging technology vendors whose products help solve the key business challenges faced by TSIA members. He is also author of the book, Lessons Unlearned, which chronicles his 25-year career inside the customer service industry.

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