3 case management fundamentals you can’t ignore

Meeting looking at a computer

You know your organization can benefit from a case management solution if you’ve recognized the undeniable signs: Unpredictable, unstructured work that requires a human touch and ad hoc decision-making; key information managed in scattered spreadsheets, file shares and email inboxes; gaps in day-to-day work that your major line-of-business apps can’t fully support; and more.

When I think about our customers who have embraced case management software capabilities to solve issues like these, the most successful of the bunch started their initiatives with a strong foundation and some common focus areas. Want to learn from their successes?

Below are three fundamentals to consider as you begin your case management journey:

     1. Know your customers – inside and out

Case management solutions benefit both of your “customers”– the knowledge workers inside your organization managing unpredictable work and the external customers, clients, and constituents they serve. By truly understanding the needs of each, you can make better decisions on solution design and capabilities.

To work toward this understanding, most case management success stories have included breaking down the barrier between an organization’s IT and business areas. Before the organization designed and implemented a solution, IT personnel and business process owners/end users sat side-by-side, talking through current processes, challenges and requirements.

Asking questions like, “Where are you spending the most time?” or “What is the most challenging part about getting the information you need to make decisions?” or “What can’t you easily see today that would help you better do your job?” can spur important insights to discuss with your case management solution provider. By involving the end users early in the case management conversation – and using their feedback to make continuous improvements – you set yourself up for better user adoption down the road.

On the customer side, leveraging feedback and information – including things like wait times for service requests and quality of incident resolution – will help you prioritize areas for a better approach and the right capabilities to put in place.

For example, The University of Norte Dame realized the power of case management to facilitate better student service. The university’s case management solution gives advisors a 360-degree view of all the information surrounding a student, including all related content, upcoming appointments, a history of dropped courses and a way to collaborate and take notes.

“Advisors don’t have to spend as much time on back office paperwork or keeping track of data – OnBase is really providing that information to them,” said Tracy Weber, manager of digital document management and enterprise solutions at Notre Dame.

“They have more time to spend on truly important advising activities and providing guidance the students need.” 

     2. Understand your opportunity

By now you’ve probably identified at least one area in your organization that could benefit from a case management solution. Maybe it’s your IT help desk, your contract management function, the HR onboarding process or a project management practice. Even if this is your initial focus area, the right solution will scale to support other work that is information-driven, so be sure to look across departments for areas of opportunity.

The value of case management is multiplied when you can leverage the same capabilities and investment across your organization. This is something that many of our customers are realizing by building many case management applications on a single platform.

One of the best examples is Universal Forest Products (UFP). UFP leverages one comprehensive case management platform to control several business processes across the organization – from capital expenditures to SOX compliance to storm water management. While different in many ways, this work shares key requirements that benefit from case management capabilities, including employee discretion and decision-making, organization-wide collaboration and access to supporting documents and data.

“OnBase is now used by almost every department and almost every knowledge worker in the company,” says Sean Lemon, national project manager at UFP. “It has a huge range of accessibility.”

     3. Get a grasp on your information

Content and information are critical to case management, supporting effective decisions on and interactions throughout a case. And to provide that valuable central access, organizations should manage that information as part of the case itself, rather than scattering it across spreadsheets, file shares, paper files, email inboxes and disconnected point solutions.

Imagine trying to resolve an employee dispute without a complete picture of that individual, including performance reviews, email correspondence and job history information. Or attempting to investigate a case of potential fraud without a history of transactions and up-to-date client data. Or managing a vendor relationship without all relevant contracts, scorecards, contact information and more.

Work with your business units to gain a clear picture of how they are managing and accessing information today to answer the following questions:

  • Where is your key business information residing today and who is using it?
  • Are employees using shared spreadsheets to manage and track data?
  • Are employees managing conversations related to projects, customers or incidents in their individual email inboxes?
  • Are they using file shares to try to organize related content?

By mapping out the content and data your employees need to manage case-driven work – and where that information is managed right now – you can make better plans to centralize the right information in one system, providing your different knowledge workers with tailored views. Bonus: If your content is already managed in an enterprise content management (ECM) system with native data-driven case management capabilities, you’re one step closer toward an effective case management solution.

Just take it from Norwich University: “Before our case management solution, it was difficult to keep information up-to-date,” said Tim Reardon, director of admissions at Norwich. “It was a lost opportunity to stay relevant on prospective student activities.”

To better manage applicant information, track outreach and support stronger early relationships, Norwich turned to a case-driven solution – and now has all of the documents and information needed instantly within each counselors grasp.

If you keep these three fundamentals in mind, you’re well on your way toward being another case management success story.

Download the Forrester WAVE™: Dynamic Case Management, Q1 2016 to learn more about case management and the type of features to look for when evaluating a case management solution.

Amanda Ulery

Amanda Ulery

In her more than 10 (wonderful) years at Hyland, Amanda Ulery has taken on the mission of sharing the business value of Hyland solutions with anyone who will listen. The... read more about: Amanda Ulery