Centralized customer support is an established industry method used to improve revenue and profitability. What remains unknown is whether this cost-saving commercial business practice is similarly applicable to the unique, often isolated military environment. This research study statistically tested a theoretical framework for knowledge management and information technology leading ultimately to knowledge transfer. To test the theory, the study used the U.S. Navy's Distance Support program, adopted in 2002 in an attempt to reduce excessive spending on labor for technicians and engineers by using advancements in knowledge management and information technology. By taking advantage of centralized call centers with customer support technicians, the Navy contended it could drastically decrease the expensive local support on ships and bases while maintaining an appropriate level of service. The belief was that implementing information technology and leveraging connectivity to provide technical customer support from the shore establishment whenever possible would more efficiently maintain Fleet readiness. Research has shown that increasing the use of centralized customer support reduces dependency on costly local and organic support, but it remained unclear whether the program had achieved this and other long-range objectives. By using metrics that illustrated return on investment, results of this study demonstrated the value of knowledge management in the military by determining for the first time that a worldwide customer support program has succeeded under extreme conditions, realizing the ultimate program goals of increasing efficiency and maintaining level of service.
|Subjects||Management; Information technology; Public administration; Military studies|
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