The Consortium for Service Innovation just published a new KCS case study we wrote highlighting the success of Extreme Networks in implementing KM, self-service, and communities. I encourage you to read it—there are good lessons for any KCS practitioner.
In this blog, I’d like to complement the case study with my perspective as their consultant. A good consultant’s favorite client isn’t the one that pays you the most; it’s the client that follows your advice and successfully executes. Extreme Networks was that client. Here’s what I observed in working with them.
- Active, effective senior leadership. Executive sponsors need to do more than just sign off on the program. They need to be articulate advocates for a vision, and how KCS fits into that vision. During the first ten minutes of our design workshop, the VP laid out exactly why the program was important to him, to Extreme, and to customers. The message was clear, concise, and compelling. I noted his points on a whiteboard, and we referred to them again and again through the week. Ten minutes in to our engagement, I knew we were set up for success.
- Starting with the end in mind. Extreme is a large global organization that had just completed a significant acquisition at the time of the roll-out. There was no way to flip a switch and make communities, self-service, and KM happen overnight. But they laid out a plan to get there over months and years, and implemented one step at a time. As my colleague Francoise Tourniaire likes to say, “Dream big, but implement small.”
- Embracing best practice. It’s human nature to want to put your own stamp on things, but when there’s a well-proven path to success like KCS, it’s generally good to do things by the book whenever possible. Extreme was punctilious in following the guidance of KCS documentation—not blindly, but precisely, and within their context. The Extreme KCS program leadership quotes Consortium materials back to me every time we make contact! I love it.
- Driving decisions with data. Extreme invested significant staff time to generating the right metrics and performance indicators to assess and manage the program as it moved through its phases. When the data validated their actions, they could proceed with confidence. When the data was showing that things weren’t going as expected, they took action. They never just “winged it.”
- A relentless focus on execution. It’s easy to get complacent and reactive in any job. The program has launched, there are new initiatives—it’s easy to take your eye off the ball. The Extreme program leadership was, in my view, unremittingly proactive about the program. They continually ask, where are we relative to our plan? What could go wrong? Are there any worrying signs? If things are going well, what new thing should we start measuring and improving? There was no resting on success.
I often tell clients that I hope to someday write their case study. I’m glad my hope was fulfilled with Extreme!
Download the KCS case study.