Live@Gartner Symposium: When to Use Case Management

Case ManagementGartner Analyst Janelle Hill began the session “Case Management: The Hottest Unstructured Process Style” by posing a question to the attendees: Is the term “unstructured process” an oxymoron?

Her answer was a definitive no, noting that “process” doesn’t have to mean a defined, sequential set of tasks. Processes can be complex, difficult to model and non-sequential. And that’s where case management comes in.

Even if you don’t call it case management, chances are you have plenty of case management opportunities in your organization. Hill defined case management as a way to reconcile the needs of multiple situations, often with competing goals. For example, providing excellent customer service while keeping costs down are often in conflict with each other because good customer service is usually expensive, complex and difficult to automate. That makes it a perfect candidate for case management. Instead of focusing on the sequence, you can focus on milestones – places in the process to take a breath and have a knowledge worker make a decision or review the case.

How to identify when you should use the case management approach
Many processes that once focused on transactional actions are moving towards case management. For example, lenders used to concentrate on automating and standardizing well-defined and repeatable approval processes to get loans processed quickly. And why not? Predictable work is relatively easy to model and execute using rules-based workflow logic. However, with tighter internal and external regulations, lenders are now looking at loan originations as a case management opportunity. It allows them capture more of the process in their systems of record and make better decisions, while still maintaining speed.

To identify whether your process should be transaction- or case-based, ask yourself this  important question: Does the process have high-volume and/or high-impact exceptions? In other words, if your process requires many exceptions or if those exceptions carry a high risk, case management is often the right fit.

How to identify which technology to use for case management
As a new approach to processing takes shape in the market, different kinds of technologies have risen to the top as the best case managers. Because of this, determining the right technology, much less the right solution and vendor, can be difficult. Start with these basic tenants:

  • Business process management suites should be used for processes that are decision- and collaboration- heavy.
  • Enterprise content management suites should be used for processes that are content- and collaboration heavy.
  • Industry-specific applications should be used for well-established case management areas.

Once you’ve begun to identify whether your process should be handled with the case management model and which kind of technology could be the right fit, you can get into a deeper dive on the kinds of solutions and vendors to engage with as you go through your discovery process. In the meantime, check out this article to learn a little bit more about case management.

Lindsay McCune

Lindsay McCune knows a little bit about a lot of things. Chatting with analysts and customers, soaking up happenin' trends and sharing what she learns with you is all in a day's work. She walks the line between business and technical. Go ahead, pick her brain. She is pretty connected; check her out on Twitter (@LindsayMcCune), LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/lindsaymccune), or good 'ole e-mail (lindsay.mccune@hyland.com).

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