Knowledge management has been a priority for TSIA members for the last decade, with the highest planned spending year after year. Though knowledge management (KM) isn’t new, it is becoming increasingly more popular as we become a content and data driven society. The importance of capturing, sharing, and maintaining content is becoming necessary for businesses to survive in the digital age.

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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.

In this post, you’ll benefit from 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.

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 as follows:

  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.

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

white paper TSIA Knowledge Management Maturity Model

Recognition phase

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, sending a message that knowledge hoarding is preferred to collaboration.

Instantiation phase

Processes are established for capturing and sharing tacit knowledge, a content repository (or repositories) is identified, and executives understand the potential for improvements to quality, productivity, and cost metrics if the program succeeds.

Value realization phase

With tools and processes established in the instantiation phase, measurable returns on investment (ROI) are identified in the value realization phase. Initial processes are adjusted to accelerate publishing and maintenance, and interest in KM spreads beyond a core department.

Strategic phase

Knowledge creation, sharing and collaboration are now commonplace, allowing new approaches to staffing and organizational structures. KM processes are extended though 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.

Corporate culture

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 take credit.

Instantiation is the next phase, in which executives realize the potential to boost employee proficiency and productivity, while simultaneously cutting costs with a proper knowledge management strategy and are keen to implement.

Once executives see the return on investment for their KM program, you are in the value realization phase, where your 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. Regular updates on KM efforts are reported to the executive team and a cross-enterprise knowledge czar is appointed to manage the ongoing maintenance and enhancements of your KM program.


The recognition phase in regards to the people aspect is painfully apparent as you’ll notice informal collaboration, if any, and no goals or incentives for your team to share their knowledge

As you progress to the instantiation phase, knowledge management training is provided, goals and incentives are introduced 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 you’re in the strategic phase, your customers are involved in the creation and maintenance of content, improved collaboration among customers and employees enables “swarming” support and the executive team has committed to a long-term committed for dedicated KM funding.


There is 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 fully maturity of the strategic phase, KM processes expand across enterprise (development, QA, product management, product marketing, marketing, billing, etc.) and 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, including 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.

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

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.

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