decision-making and performance: case management

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you are looking for some kind of smart solution to help you deal with the many daily information management cases that support your decision-making process. For you, effective decisions that will take you to the finest performance are the coin of the realm in business. You know that no company can reach its full potential unless it makes good decisions. Quickly and consistently. And then implementing them effectively.

Without the best performance, without informed decision-making, it isn’t just the financial results that suffer. Organizations that can’t decide and deliver the best outcomes are dispiriting to their employees. From the C-suite to the front line, people feel as if they’re stuck in molasses or trapped inside a depressing Dilbert comic strip.

So, how do you move on to a different story? How do you change from a simple comic strip to a Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote Novel?


Case Management as the mastered knowledge to improve business performance and decision-making

Before we move on and rewrite your story let’s check AIIM’s Case Management definition:

A case is any work, project, transaction, service or response that is “opened” and “closed” over a period of time to achieve the resolution of a problem, claim, request, proposal, development or other complex activity. It is likely to involve multiple persons inside and outside of the organization, with varying relationships to each other, as well as multiple documents and messages.

Sometimes known as adaptive or dynamic Case Management, Case Management endeavors to improve the performance of your organization by putting case information front-and-center rather than considering the process as primary, the way workflow and BPM do.  Such information will be accessed over the entire length of time you are working on a given task and will become the official record for that work.

Case management is described as operating on bundles of content rather than individual documents or images.

A “case” is a compendium of information, processes, advanced analytics, business rules, collaboration, and sometimes social computing that relates to a particular interaction with or issue involving a particular party like a customer, supplier, patient, student, or defendant. The case file will involve a collection of customer communications, forms, process documents, reports and supporting documentation, and will need to be managed for compliance and audit.

Case management solutions are designed to manage all this to help drive more successful, optimized outcomes and informed decision-making, even as they also attend to and secure the individual bits of material contained therein.

An Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or Document Management (DM) system may also be used to manage case information. The information will need to be grouped together and made accessible in a suitably controlled way to all that are involved in the case.

Finally, a workflow or business process automation solution needs to take place to move the case to its outcome. Within CRM systems, alerts-style functionality will frequently exist against a given customer log. In traditional DM systems, the workflow may involve moving a given document through each process stage, probably in a serial manner. Neither is appropriate to a Case Management scenario where the focus is “the case” or collection of information. Not a customer or single document.

“The process outcome is the successful resolution of the case.

The participants may need to respond to given deadlines, and those involved in managing the case need to see progress reporting and action monitoring against the case.

Another way to look at this is that businesses and agencies developing long-term relationships with their customers, citizens or subscribers will be judged by the accuracy of the records they hold, the consistency of the communications that take place, and the speed, efficiency, and fairness with which each case, claim, or contract is processed.

Customer service delivery has never been more challenging. Customers are more mobile in their addresses, jobs and family relationships.

Communication channels seem to multiply overnight, with customers switching between them at will. Customer interfaces may be dealt with in a CRM or helpdesk system. Multiple relationships may be required, as any one case, contract or claim may involve more than one customer, knowledge worker or other contributors.

A customer-centric CRM system may be at a disadvantage compared to a document-centric process management system. A general purpose ECM and DM system may even lack the functionality and flexibility needed to deal with Case Management. There are differences between “regular” content management and Case Management. The most notable is the inclusion of functions like incident reporting and investigation management. These capabilities involve entire processes unto themselves and can encompass living documents of all kinds that ultimately will need to have content management principles applied to them. As such, they require specialty care-and-feeding not only up front as information is captured and analyzed but after the fact as well, when remediation steps are taken. So they represent a distinctly different, if related, breed of cat.

Document management repositories provide a more secure and compliant method of managing case documents. However, these systems take a single-document view, rather than focusing on a case file, frequently requiring customization or procedural changes to manage case-based scenarios. Case processing has very specific needs in terms of adaptive or dynamic workflows able to accommodate ad-hoc routings and rapid process change. Cases may involve collaboration with others outside the organization and these relationships may vary case-by-case. Case managers need to be able to monitor and manage progress.


How do you know if you need a Case Management Solution?

Case management can mean a lot of different things depending on who you are and what you do. Doctors and lawyers are very familiar with the concepts of medical cases and legal cases. Basically as the sum-total of a patient or client experience across time in a given situation (or a combination of situations). But IT Help Desk trouble tickets are also known as cases. The Federal government buys the goods and services it needs through procurement cases. Pharmaceutical companies track drug compliance cases. Sometimes a “case” can be a person, sometimes a physical object, sometimes just a collection of data.

For us, Case Management is a specific type of work, a type where processes are less structured, interactions are more ad hoc, events and milestones are hard to timeline. It is a type of work where lots of different data from different sources must be collected, parsed, summarized for decision-making, and acted upon. Often in the absence of prescribed process steps.

“Case management is knowledge work.

So, why do you need a Case Management solution? Because it will help you deal with the many daily information management variables, deliver an optimal outcome and support your decision-making process.

You know you need a Case Management solution when YOU…

  1. Are drowning in paper.
  2. Don´t have consistent visibility across cases.
  3. Have to log in to 2… 3… or more systems to find the right information.
  4. Are using spreadsheets to manage case work.
  5. Have so many information silos, you feel like a really great farmer.
  6. Deal with the swivel effect: look at this screen, and then swivel to look at that screen.
  7. Deal with a web environment that has created a seemingly never-ending morass of old, wrong stuff.
  8. Have the most complex Excel documents ever known.
  9. Work in the field with just a clipboard or paper notebook.
  10. Navigate through documents to find the right one takes more than a few seconds.
  11. Navigate through documents to find the right one can take hours. Who said hours? We meant days!
  12. Define collaboration on a case as email management, instant messaging, personal meetings, or phone calls.
  13. Don’t have a productive way to collect collaboration details and information, let alone go back to it in support of a case.
  14. Spend more than a third of your time searching for that one right piece of information.
  15. Have recurring nightmares about making the right decision on a tough case.
  16. Have multiple solutions to address all of your case needs, each with its own log on.
  17. Report to top management relying on your instinct and ability to build killer pivot tables.

Now… according to Gartner, “a Work is case-like when each work item (each case) requires unique handling, involving complex interactions between content, people, transactions, and business or regulatory policies in order to deliver an optimal outcome.” So, each work item requires:

  • Transactions
  • Business
  • Content
  • Unique handling
  • Regulatory policies
  • People
  • Complex interactions

In conclusion, think about that for a moment.

Consider how complex making the right decision can be when there are so many interlocking variables to manage.

That’s why Case Management exists. Most of all to make the results of complex decision-making as fair… as fast… as effective… as ideal as possible.

… to be continued … don’t miss the next article “Case Management in action“.

– Would you like to see a Case Management solution in action? If so, ask us for a demo!
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