For the last decade, TSIA members have prioritized knowledge management, with the highest planned spending year after year. This isn’t surprising. For, while knowledge management (KM) isn’t new, it is now a critical function as we enter a content and data-driven economy. Businesses can not survive without the effective capturing, sharing, and maintaining of content.

EbookYour Guide to Building a Connected Workplace for Your Remote Workforce

As a result, more companies are seeking to understand the maturity of their KM initiatives and what can be done to enhance it. In response to the growing interest, TSIA has created a knowledge management capability maturity model.

TSIA chart of its Knowledge Maturity Model

In this post, you’ll gain an overview of the model and how it can be used to enhance knowledge management maturity within your organization. You will gain practical knowledge of the interconnected elements of a successful KM program, an understanding of where your organization ranks, and guidance that you can apply through your progression.

Knowledge Management Pillars

There are four key pillars in TSIA’s model which allow companies to self-assess their maturity level, and that must work together for an efficient and successful knowledge management program. They are:

  1. Corporate Culture: underlying beliefs, values and assumptions of those within your organization
  2. People: your stakeholders, champions and potential opposition
  3. Process: management systems, governance frameworks and best practices
  4. Technology: hardware, software, infrastructure, etc.

Knowledge Management Maturity Model Phases

For each of these pillars, TSIA’s Knowledge Management Maturity Model (KMMM) highlights four phases which identify the typical progression of KM initiatives from inception to the strategic planning process. 

white paper TSIA Knowledge Management Maturity Model
  1. Recognition – Knowledge programs are informal, with no defined processes in place and no metrics program specific to KM. Employees are often recognized and rewarded for being the only person to know something. This sends the message that knowledge hoarding is preferred to collaboration.
  2. Instantiation –  Processes are established for capturing and sharing tacit knowledge. Content repositories are identified, and executives understand the potential for improvements to quality, productivity, and cost metrics if the program succeeds.
  3. Value Realization – With tools and processes established, measurable returns on investment (ROI) are identified in this phase. Initial processes are adjusted to accelerate publishing and maintenance, and interest in KM spreads beyond a core department.
  4. Strategic – Knowledge creation, sharing and collaboration are now commonplace, allowing new approaches to staffing and organizational structures. KM processes are extended through every phase is applied to each pillar, the progression looks different for each of the four aspects being examined for the development of knowledge management.

Each phase is designed to guide internal conversations about what is needed to improve knowledge sharing and progress through the model across the four pillars or levels of knowledge management. Here’s the breakdown.

Pillars Across All Phases


In the recognition phase of corporate culture, employees are regularly recognized and rewarded for hoarding knowledge, rather than sharing it with their peers. When knowledge is shared, it is common for people other than the creator or expert in that field to take credit.

Instantiation is the next phase. Here executives realize that a proper knowledge management strategy not only has the potential to boost employee proficiency and productivity – but to cut costs. 

Once executives see the ROI for their KM program, you are in the value realization phase. The KM program begins to expand beyond support and into other areas of the business.

The strategic phase is the final one, in which you will typically see executives lead by example and reward knowledge sharing. Typically, a cross-enterprise knowledge czar is appointed to manage the ongoing maintenance and enhancements of your program. This person sends regular reports on KM efforts to the executive team.


The recognition phase in regards to the people aspect is painfully apparent as you’ll notice little or only informal collaboration. There are few goals or incentives for your team to share their knowledge

As you progress to the instantiation phase, knowledge management training is provided. The team shares goals and incentives for KM outcomes, and someone is held accountable to maintain the editing and maintenance of resources.

In the value realization phase, you will be able to gauge the impact employees have on core productivity metrics, such as FCR, talk/resolve time, cost per incident, and ESAT. You will also begin to see an increase in assisted and unassisted support CSAT, self-service success, and deflection.

Once in the strategic phase, your customers are involved in the creation and maintenance of content. Improved collaboration among customers and employees enables “swarming” support. The executive team commits to long-term, dedicated KM funding.


There are no formal processes in the recognition phase. At best, your knowledge tracked in support cases and on Post-it notes scattered across your desk.

Process establishment for knowledge capture, publishing, and maintenance begins in the instantiation phase.

In the value realization phase, the publishing process is optimized and knowledge sharing initiatives expand across service to involve PS, ES, and MS teams.

In full maturity of the strategic phase, KM processes expand across the enterprise (development, QA, product management, product marketing, marketing, billing, etc.). Development priorities tied to root causes are identified by support KM.


In the recognition phase, knowledge created is collected in multiple applications and repositories. There is no unified search index or strategy, and therefore nothing gets found.

The instantiation phase shows improvement as it identifies employee and customer knowledge repositories and is typically followed by a unified search strategy.

Knowledge maintenance is automated, analytics identify content gaps, and your top and least-used content are tracked in the value realization phase. You can gauge the relevancy of your content and spot concept-based trends in your types of knowledge. These lessons-learned are critical to the future of your support organization, as well as organizational learning.

The strategic phase takes infrastructure into account to further enable knowledge consumption. This can include new search paradigms (chat bots) and formats (video, mobile). At full maturity, long-term funding is committed for regular KM infrastructure improvements to your knowledge management system, along with strategic content management.

Self Assess Your Maturity Model

Where does your company fall within the four phases of knowledge management maturity? To identify where you stand in the KM maturity model, and how to improve the management of your collective knowledge, download the latest TSIA report! 

white paper TSIA The State of Knowledge Management 2018

Dig Deeper

Offer easy knowledge management across your enterprise applications to help employees be effective, productive, and empowered in their work, wherever they are.

Share this story:

About Rachel Schultz

Rachel Schultz is the Content Marketing Manager at Coveo. She blends her background in journalism seamlessly with her B2B marketing expertise and obsession with data to create compelling content for the Coveo community. When she’s not working, you’ll find her reading (strictly non-fiction), hanging out with her puppy or taking in all NYC has to offer with her husband.

Read more from this author