Intelligent knowledge management:
Introduction of the knowledge platform MIRA at ZEISS Microscopy

As part of the ZEISS Group, ZEISS Microscopy focuses on the development and manufacture of microscopes and imaging technologies for various applications. The company offers a wide range of microscopes – from light microscopes to electron microscopes and confocal microscopes. These instruments are used in various fields, including life sciences, materials science and industry.

However, microscopy systems from ZEISS are much more than just hardware and software. A comprehensive support infrastructure and a highly qualified service team consisting of over 1.500 employees enable customers worldwide to utilize the full potential of their ZEISS devices.

Initial Situation at ZEISS Microscopy

In the midst of a historically grown and extremely complex IT structure, service information was located on decentralized servers, resulting in numerous data silos and a large number of access points. This fragmentation meant that information was not seamlessly available to service staff. Searching for a specific document required extensive prior knowledge and a lot of time. It became increasingly obvious that knowledge provision for service needed to change fundamentally and that the cost of doing nothing was simply far too high. Falling customer satisfaction was another trigger for this project. The overarching goal was thus formulated to accelerate the service process at ZEISS Microscopy and increase quality.

Introduction of the MIRA knowledge platform

With the aim of creating a central access point for service employees, the Empolis Service Express knowledge platform was introduced, which bears the internal name MIRA at ZEISS. All service information is now made available centrally: the efficiency and effectiveness of the service team is further improved, processes are accelerated and service quality is generally enhanced. This has also significantly increased customer satisfaction.

The enrichment of metadata ensures easier retrievability. Information from the various data silos can be linked via the MIRA knowledge portal. Service employees can now find the technical information, spare parts catalog or marketing materials for their request.
The knowledge is not only available company-wide, but also offline at any time – a particularly important functionality for the service department.

Currently, the service employees are primarily supported in diagnosis and troubleshooting by the content provided. The goal of enabling new colleagues to quickly become experts is supported by the knowledge sharing integrated into the portal. Best practices are recorded by service employees directly at the point of service and made available to all colleagues through a streamlined approval process.
The integration of closed support tickets has also significantly shortened the time it takes to resolve problems. For very complex issues, numerous decision trees are created by experts so that service employees are quickly guided to the right solution.

The path to the goal

The introduction of the MIRA portal created a central access point for all relevant information and the starting point for our joint project. Our role as a consultant and implementation partner was to support ZEISS Microscopy on its way to becoming a future service organization.

In the first step of the project, we concentrated on making all content from the various information pools available and using an intelligent rights system to stem the flood of information for employees. This rights concept also made it possible to control access by external partners in accordance with the ZEISS partner strategy. This created the basis for connecting the spare parts catalog next. The metadata model was expanded and the product taxonomy was refined further and further so that the data silos were linked with each other at a fine granular level.

In the second step, we wanted to significantly improve the quality of the documents. We no longer recorded closed documents, but instead focused on topics.

The final step was the recording of knowledge contributions for knowledge sharing, the creation of decision trees and the provision of closed tickets.

In addition to the pure implementation of the project steps, it is extremely important to work closely with the users right from the start in order to ensure the success of the project. We supported ZEISS in all phases – from idea development to requirements specification, design and rollout. But even after the rollout, we continue to support ZEISS in the continuous improvement of the portal.

Where is the journey going

The project is at a very good stage and has already achieved great results, but we are continuing to work with ZEISS to make it even better. Usability is to be further improved, for example a personalized start page for the service technicians increases efficiency. Our knowledge graph can be further refined to generate only the relevant information. A service recommender and AI-based analyses are among our next project steps.

We look forward to further collaboration with all stakeholders at ZEISS Microscopy.

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KVD Service-Podcast

Hören Sie Laila Weiland, Product Owner bei ZEISS Microscopy, und Dr. Stefan Bradenbrink, Partner und Consultant bei PANTOPIX, im KVD Service-Podcast zum Reifegradmodell für Informationsbereitstellung und Wissenstransfer im Service.

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Maraike Heim
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Team Maraike Heim