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2017: Seven trends in adaptive case management (BPM) software

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The WfMC excellence awards

The Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC), a standards organization for workflow and business process technologies, recently announced the 2017 winners of its Adaptive Case Management Excellence Awards. I always look forward to these announcements (and the related BPM Excellence Awards) and the follow-on book because the winners demonstrate the best of the best in workflow, business process management (BPM), digital process automation and case management. During the awards ceremony, I had a chance to introduce the seven big trends in case management and then Keith Swenson (president of the WfMC) and I announced this years’ winners. Provided below is a synopsis of those case studies, followed by the seven trends in Adaptive Case Management Software. (For information about the case management and BPM books, see WfMC Awards for Excellence in Case Management)

The 2017 winners showcase trends in case management

Here’s a broad overview of the organizations that won:

  • Blueprint Genetics (nominated by Elinar Oy Ltd, an IBM Business Partner) provides comprehensive genetic diagnostics. Despite its innovative product, the firm’s manual processes took over a month to deliver test results. By implementing an adaptive case management system (based on IBM Case Manager, IBM Watson Explorer and IBM BigInsights) the firm experienced a 50% rise in productivity, a decrease in the geneticist’s time from 3.5 to 0.5 hours, a 50% decrease in average processing time, and a 20X expansion in the product portfolio.

  •  The University of Northern Colorado (nominated by Hyland) implemented the Hyland OnBase platform with integrated case management, process automation and content management to transform contract generation. Before, the university struggled with an inconsistent contract management process that lacked transparency, duplicated work and provided minimal version control. In less than four months, the school implemented a system that provides contracting consistency, improved visibility, customer service, enhanced dashboards and greater support for compliance, expirations and renewals. This system is noteworthy because contracting is typically a difficult process to automate.

  • PowerSouth Energy Cooperative (nominated by enChoice, Inc.) implemented a case management system to replace a legacy document management system that was laden with redundant work processes, and information silos. The new system was a low code approach that provides greater visibility, insight, and collaboration. The benefits include the elimination of repetitive tasks and error prone results, a 360º view of legal matters, tasks, and content, compliance with regulatory changes, and a 35% reduction in maintenance.

  • A large defense industrial base security contractor (nominated by CANDA Solutions) was struggling with a manual process for completing high numbers of government security clearances in a timely manner. The process was hamstrung by the complexity of the paper‐bound processing which cost millions of dollars annually. The new system automated all security clearance related processes, implemented service level agreements, created a seamless, cohesive set of automated, data driven processes, and integrated the system with HR, contracts and facilities applications. The results are off the charts: a 1500% ROI, more than 50% reduction in cycle‐time and more than 200,000 cases processed over the past 24 months.

  •  The University of Notre Dame (nominated by Hyland) struggled with a paper-based student advisory process in which data was out‐of‐sync with ERP, the system lacked visibility, and often duplicated information. By implementing case management (built on Hyland OnBase for online forms and approval, adaptive permissions, electronic documents and ERP integration) the university created consistent and complete views of student information. In addition, the new process was efficient and trackable, supported multi-level reporting and role based security and significantly improved information and document sharing.

  •  WellCare Health Plans, Inc., USA (nominated by ISIS Papyrus) provides government-sponsored managed care services in all 50 U.S. states, serving 4.1 million members and employing 9,000 associates. The creative services team faced the herculean task of managing 60+ media types in different languages despite having workflow between departments based solely on printed materials and tacit knowledge. After implementing a case management collaboration platform for campaign management (without IT’s support) they realized 20% savings on job lifecycle time, a 75% reduction in printing, paper and file storage costs and a 20% reduction in rework. The business became more flexible because of full transparency into open jobs and tasks, and the ability to adapt immediately to changes.

Seven trends impacting the case management landscape

The seven trends impacting the case management landscape ins 2017 and 2018 are:

  • Trend #1: Digital transformation is sweeping the business landscape. Case management projects are not being done in a vacuum or because some manager decides to bring in new technology to replace older solutions. Instead, digital disruption–which is pervasive across all industries–is driving companies to strategically transform their end-to-end processes. The organizational and technological fallout from digital disruption touches every single industry, organization, and business process. Companies can no longer operate in geographical and functional silos that may have been created over 100 years ago.  As corporate directors, CEOs and the C-suite executives absorb this new reality and scramble like crazy to avoid being “amazoned” or “ubered,” business leaders everywhere are taking a fresh look at their thoroughly outdated and outmoded business processes, which are usually too internally focused and don’t leverage the power of recent advances. The digital disruption megatrend is driving virtually all business IT projects today, across a wide swath of technology.
  • Trend #2: Digital transformation is all about customer experience. In a world in which consumers, politicians, educators, students, and even kids thrive on new technologies (such as mobile apps, social media, virtual reality, games and gamification, analytics, ecommerce, the list goes on), consumer expectations have blown through the roof. People now have extremely high expectations for how the websites and mobile apps they use cater to their preferences and whims. And they have extremely low tolerance for delays and repeated questions about basic customer information while being passed mindlessly from one customer service rep to another, after calling a toll-free number for help. For digital transformation to be transformational, customer experience must be king.
  • Trend #3: Case projects will be driven by digital transformation and CX. As an immediate response to digital disruption, companies are reconceiving their business processes and building new content- and data-centric, case management-driven processes that fully support new and engaging customer experiences. These customer experiences are designed to delight the customer and increase the customer life-time value by building repeat business and extreme customer loyalty. Going forward, these case management solutions will be increasingly combined with other emerging technologies such as omnichannel, predictive analytics for next best action, natural language processing and machine learning.
  • Trend #4: Digital transformation will require digital outside/inside. Most business leaders are well aware of the vast disconnect between customer expectations and the experiences their organization actually delivers via telephone, websites, email, mobile, social, chat, kiosk, and even direct mail. But often they don’t know what to do about it, so marketing will start an omnichannel project and maybe a marketing automation effort, while internally-focused managers may launch a new processing center or deploy a new enterprise software suite. Unfortunately, tackling projects (even case management projects) in such a bifurcated way does not support digital transformation and will not deliver transformational results.  What happens with customers “outside” the organization (marketing’s and sales’ province) and “inside” business operations (dominated by service, support, finance and operations) simply cannot be cleaved into two separate worlds. Today’s thriving business is at risk unless it seamlessly bridges the customer experience with internal operations. (For more insights, see Transform Customer Experience and Operational Excellence By Going Digital Outside and Inside.)
  • Trend #5: Case management and BPM will converge. Case management is both an approach and a type of software for automating complex, information-intensive work. Adaptive case management, as the WfMC calls it, differs from structured/orchestration BPM software; case focuses heavily on information, in addition to flow. The vendor landscape is fuzzy, with some vendors offering traditional BPM and case management in the same product (e.g. Appian, BizAgi, opentext, and Pegasystems) while others (most notably IBM) have separate products for automating different types of processes. The WfMC treats the two as being different and gives separate awards for both types of BPM. But the markets are converging, and one could posit that they never diverged in the first place. However, there is a big question over how to approach the “to be” business process–specifically, is it data/information centric or is it flow centric?–and this question is explored in more detail in BPM: making the case for case management software. If you are considering BPM software, it’s imperative to understand how case management works, how processes are automated using case, and how the products will converge.
  • Trend #6: Work will get smarter. It’s hard to have any technology discussion these days without mention of artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing. It’s an indicator that we are truly on the cusp of moving to a new world of work, where work becomes “smarter.”  This is not a sudden development that blew in from nowhere; we’ve been progressing toward that elusive goal for decades. AI is used routinely for credit card validation, ecommerce, call centers, loan approval, news feeds, and virtual assistants. (For more, see Artificial intelligence grabs center stage at AIIM’s information management leadership council.) The world is now facing a huge shakeup in how we create, consume and process information. You may either dread this new world or look forward in anticipation (hey, I can’t wait to spend more time on vacation while my AI software grinds away) . . . but work will undoubtedly be smarter. For example, robotic process automation (RPA), has already hit case management in a big way. RPA creates robots (or scripts) that automate routine, repetitive, mindless tasks.  For example, RPA can be used to automate repetitive typing; log on to different business apps; copy information from one app to another; scan, read and compose e-mails; manipulate spreadsheets and move data; and automate aspects of on-boarding, customer service activities, compliance, and document capture. For more information, see Robotic Process Automation (RPA): robots that automate routine and complex work.
  • Trend #7: Process automation projects will get faster. There’s some good news on the case management and BPM front: it is taking less time than ever to deploy newly transformed business processes that are based on case management software.  In fact, the 2017 WfMC Case Management award winners exemplify how projects can be done more quickly than ever.  There are several reasons, including: vendors and their solution partners are offering more out-of-the-box business processes, plus the vendor community is also providing more business models, process models, accelerators, integrations, and process templates that help project teams speed up the entire project. The rise of DevOps and BPM/case management competency centers in many organizations has helped, as has the greater focus on low-code and entity modeling. (For more information, see Use Entity Modeling to Streamline Business Process Design and Development.) These breakthroughs are important because BPM/case management projects can bog down into yet more application development projects if not careful. But the proof is in the pudding; take a look at the case management winners for ideas on accelerating projects.



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