Case management is all about the process of taking a case (medical, law enforcement, complaint, FOIA and so on) from start to finish with as little blind spots as possible. But this work gets harder because the process usually is not rigidly structured. It’s dynamic, content-intensive and collaborative process that sometimes has feedback loops and myriads of dependencies.
An ineffective case management app can cause tons of frustration and unwanted costs. It can even pull an organization down to using pen and paper as the only way to get things done. Such poorly developed case management software can cause many incoherent steps, broken links and truncated communication that eventually brings the entire system down to a halt.
Here are just a few of the many case management pitfalls organizations deal with on daily basis. This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just a handful of common errors that organizations and team leaders face when staring at the Case Management Software issue.
Mistake No.1: Developing customized software when there is an off-the-shelf solution
Back in 2000, the FBI wanted a software solution that will allow pieces of information gathered through different channels at different times to be connected, thereby allowing for more effective investigations through better flows of information.
This desire resulted in a $170 Million budget for the Virtual Case File software. The endeavor failed miserably in 2005, causing quite a bit of criticism. The loss was set at $104 million of the taxpayers’ money. The Bureau was stuck with an antiquated software that hampered down its effectiveness. The FBI took another 12 years to conceive, fund and build a more ambitious (and more expensive of course) Sentinel case management system that got launched in 2012.
After the fact, we may question if FBI really needed software developed just for them, from the ground up. But your organization may not be in such a situation. Developing software is time-consuming and is not cost-effective when there is a ready-made software on the market.
Thanks to the rapid development of the Case Management niche, there are plenty of options to choose from for any case management needs.
There are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, where all you do is sign up for the service and you get a fully functional application that is hosted on a cloud server. All you would need to do is go through a technically simple configuration process and your organization can be set within an hour. All your organization would need to worry about is to train the staff to use complex passwords and make sure that their subscription fee is paid in full, on time. All the software maintenance and infrastructure is handled by the SaaS provider.
There are also open-source case management solutions that are completely free. These solutions can be a bit more demanding to set up. Your organization will need some work to adapt the software to your specific workflows, and you will also need the server infrastructure that will be powering the case management software.
We at ArkCase worked hard to allow the market both versions. There is the SaaS Arkcase.com option, and the open source option too. And, we also have Solution Implementation Partners that will take our open source package, and configure the software to your specific needs. These ECM Migration companies have long years of experience and a proven track record in ensuring a smooth transition from your old case management software onto any of our ArkCase solutions.
Mistake No.2: Failing to Deal with the Growing Quantity and Complexity of Data
The population grows. It creates more data, and that data is more complex than ever. Nowadays we generate more data in a single month, compared to an entire year, just a decade ago. All this information needs to be searchable, and ready to be used in different cases. Throw in data management compliance regulations, and the challenge becomes a behemoth of a problem. So the failure to take data growth and data complexity in consideration is a very common, and a very dangerous position for any organization dealing with case management.
Some of the headaches of department leaders will be:
- how to keep the case management app from impeding workflow improvements
- how to ensure intra-departmental data sharing without compromising security
- how to ensure compliant data storage without hiring more staff
- how to use technology to streamline daily workflows
Unfortunately, this is not an exhaustive list. Chances are you already have some of these questions on your mind, along with at least another dozen company-specific challenges.
Modern case management software that is future-proof helps department managers to let go of these anxieties completely. We partner with Alfresco which is the leader in DoD compliant data storage. Thanks to this cutting-edge software, ArkCase ensures full scalability, ease of indexing and searching through huge databases and scanned documents, and all this is stored in a fully compliant way. Combined with the Arkcase visual configurator, your department can always be streamlining workflows and easily adjust the software to use the new, improved business processes.
Mistake No. 3: Failing to Document EVERYTHING
Failing to document every detail about a case can hurt your practice in ways you’d rather not know of. While the in-house pep-talk can be quite stressful over a misplaced document or loss of data, the forward/public-facing liability is far greater than a 30-minute disciplinary conversation with a superior.
Let’s take the legal field for a minute. A legal department may lose a case if a legal battle arises and you don’t have a system that captures all the details of a case in a compliant way, and then stored in a compliant way. Second, in a similar way, it can hurt your case in government audits. Third, it can be expensive and time-consuming if you try to retrieve a piece of information in a case. Every point here will cause serious problems, whether it’s with a client, or a government auditor, or with data-gathering partners.
In ArkCase, every opened case is receiving a case number. Every file, document, scan, and correspondence gets a fully indexed digital copy that is stored under a given case number. This digitized information is then made accessible through a credentials-setting mechanism. In ArkCase, it is easy to collect data and document it. If there is a standard paper form for a report or a standard document, you can easily recreate this form within ArkCase and simply scan the sheet of paper. The system recognizes the details and inputs it in an indexable database so you can easily search through thousands of documents with a simple click.
Mistake No.4: Failing to Fully Digitize and Automate the Workflow
The workflow is the lifecycle of a Case. From initial opening of a case to capturing needed details from multiple sources in different times, to case reviews and closure, the workflow is everything. Any remaining paper piece in this workflow needs a digitalized copy. Any technical work of the workflow needs to be automated.
ArkCase allows for setting up the workflow, delegating tasks, following the performance of the tasks, prioritizing work and intervening when necessary. You can implement certain policies that will automate moving from one step to another within the case, and also set up a rules-based notification system that will bring in new people in the case whenever a rule is met.
The ArkCase workflow framework is a tool for effective flow of cases from start to completion. Manual workflow management isn’t efficient, and it’s difficult to scale. Automation is required. Once you delegate the tasks in the workflow, it will provide insight into the performance of each member of your team. This will both ensure accuracy and cut the labor costs.
Mistake No.5: Working in Silos
A broken communication system leads to inefficiency. Communication needs to be fluent and continuous otherwise it leads to lost time and tensions within a team. Silo mind-set decreases efficiency because information is not shared. Individuals find themselves closed off, isolated and poorly integrated within the team. If a team needs a flow of information with another department, it can create even more complications.
ArkCase is especially effective in dealing with communication backlogs. ArkCase has a built-in feature for sending templates and notification between employees. All information that pertains to a case are viewable to anyone who needs to check it, either during a case or after a case is closed. The workflow of a case allows for keeping track of the tasks scheduled. When a task is done, the next employee learns of this immediately and can begin with his/her part of the task. Everyone involved can see the status of a case at any moment.
Managing cases in the government sector is a tricky business. You have a system that is chosen by someone else and you are stuck with all its strengths and weaknesses. All the challenges such as rigid workflows, compliant storage, reliable data capture, effective collaboration and so on… falls on your back. And with these 5 mistakes to avoid, we are barely scratching the surface.
This is why it is very important for decision influencers to know what the market has to offer, and make a good case for migrating onto a more reliable, more flexible, more user-friendly case management software like ArkCase.
If your organization prefers in-house IT infrastructure, the ArkCase Open Source version is ideal. There are Integration Partners that can help you set up the server environment and even build the needed elements to ensure smooth operation. If your organization is more interested in speed of implementation, then the ArkCase SaaS option may be better for you. It can literally take minutes to purchase, configure and start using the system as you don’t have any software to install or any hardware architecture to worry about.
ArkCase is the case management solution that deals with the ever-changing requirements. It solves multiple management problems and deals with mistakes before they even happen. It has multifunctional operability and is highly configurable to meet the needs of government sectors.
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