Evaluating Case Management solutions through different lenses: Analyst interpretations

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We all see things a little differently, and the views surrounding the emerging market for case management solutions are no exception. IT buyers are seeking a picture-perfect alternative to rigid, packaged apps and costly custom-coded solutions that help employees work collaboratively by managing their work as if they were handling a case.

So organizations need help researching case management solutions. Luckily, two major independent industry analyst firms, Forrester Research and Gartner Inc., have recently provided assessments of case management offerings. Hyland, creator of OnBase, was among the select group of software providers to be reviewed in this research.

For IT buyers, analyst evaluations like the Forrester Wave™, Gartner Magic Quadrant and Gartner Critical Capabilities reports are particularly helpful during initial research stages of their purchasing journeys. These evaluations are important because they provide an introduction to a given market and a high-level look at how well top vendors are performing against standards established by analysts.

For that reason, it’s also important for buyers to be aware of the different criteria analyst firms use to frame the discussion and assess vendors and their offerings. For example, in their recent case management reports, analyst firms Forrester Research and Gartner largely agree on the major market forces driving interest in case management solutions and the critical capabilities these offerings should deliver.

They differ, however, in the parameters they used to evaluate vendor offerings.

Focusing on horizontal dynamic case management platforms: Forrester
Forrester Research published The Forrester Wave™: Dynamic Case Management, Q1 2014 in March 2014. This report evaluates vendor offerings in terms of horizontal, multi-purpose platform capabilities that enterprises can use to configure a wide range of adaptable, case-centric applications.

Focusing on Case Management frameworks for specific apps: Gartner
Gartner produced its inaugural Magic Quadrant (MQ) about this emerging market – the Magic Quadrant for BPM Platform-Based Case Management Frameworks – in March 2015, as well as a companion report, called Critical Capabilities for BPM-Platform-Based Case Management Frameworks. In these reports, Gartner considers a vendor’s ability to provide a minimum set of BPM platform capabilities to build case management apps as the ticket for inclusion.

Unlike Forrester, however, what Gartner is rating is the extent to which each vendor is successfully creating, selling and providing ongoing maintenance and upgrade support for case management solution frameworks (or templates) for specific application scenarios.

So how can you view the case management capabilities of our product through the different lenses of each analyst firm? By exploring these viewpoints via examples of two customers recognized with Global Awards for Excellence in Case Management from the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) for outstanding achievements in the implementation of case management technology: WESTMED Practice Partners and Universal Forest Products.

Winning with a Case Management framework for dynamic checklist apps
The 2014 recipient of WfMC’s Global Award for Excellence in Case Management, WESTMED Practice Partners, leverages OnBase Dynamic Checklists for Process Control application templates to manage thousands of procedural checklists across the organization that once existed on spreadsheets. These checklist applications range from IT help desk ticketing to calculating physician pay.

By incorporating key policies and procedures, this case management framework equips knowledge workers to work collaboratively toward completing procedural checklists, many of which are highly interdependent on one another. As a result, one person’s failure to complete a checklist properly can have a chain effect on other people’s work. Case management alleviates this issue by compiling and displaying results as knowledge workers complete checklists using graphical dashboards. This provides complete transparency into all team-driven work and improves coordinated decision-making.

Winning with a horizontal platform for multiple case-centric apps
While pre-configured frameworks fit the bill for some, other organizations benefit from a low-code, multi-purpose platform that equips them to configure a wide range of tailored case-driven apps. The latter approach is in line with the lens used in the Forrester Wave™.

And just this year, leading wood and wood product manufacturer Universal Forest Products received a coveted WfMC award by leveraging OnBase in this way – using it as a low-code platform to custom configure content-enabled applications across the enterprise. While the successes are noteworthy themselves (like a 45 percent increase in initial environmental compliance response rates and a 98 percent reduction in time spent managing capital expenditures!), maybe the most impressive part of this success story is “the who.”

The applications were not created by a DBA or developer via custom code, but by a small team of business analysts, further showcasing the power of a low-code platform approach to deliver rapid business value.

The market for using ECM/BPM platforms and solution frameworks to rapidly deploy low-code case applications is still in its infancy. Analyst evaluations help provide IT buyers in the initial stages of researching solution options with a lens through which they can make some sense out of a fragmented and confusing space.

However, understanding the different lenses that these firms use to evaluate vendors will help you avoid under- or over-estimating how well a particular offering can meet your specific requirements.

(Thank you to Amanda Ulery for co-writing this blog post!)

Ken Burns

Ken Burns manages the Analyst and Influencer Relations program globally for Hyland, creator of OnBase. He is responsible for keep leading industry analyst firms informed about Hyland’s company and product strategies. He has worked in the ECM industry for nearly 15 years and is a keen observer of the customer and competitive forces shaping the software segment.

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