As companies have shifted to virtual work-from-home environments, the ability to rapidly support more knowledge-intensive processes — while enhancing people’s ability to do their jobs — is vital.
Traditional digital process automation (DPA) and robotic process automation (RPA) have focused on automating the highly repeatable processes, but the knowledge-intensive and unstructured processes — which account for roughly 70% of the work most businesses perform — can be further enabled as well. This is where intelligent case management comes in.
Think about the way your business resolves a claim, answers a customer request, or completes a project or transaction; these are all cases that may require multiple stages to get to a resolution. In most cases, the knowledge your front-line staff possesses is critical to the customer experience and cannot (and probably should not) be fully automated.
Case management helps to mirror the way those business activities occur by providing a structured model around the progression of work through stages without requiring that every step be fully structured.
Now, case management technologies have been around for a while, and there has been a general perception that case management was only for large enterprises due to the high cost and complexity of some of the technologies and solutions.
At K2, however, we’re focused on simplifying and democratizing the adoption of case management so small and medium-sized businesses can deploy the solution in months, not years. We also believe that case management and traditional process automation must converge so customers can get true end-to-end process visibility and agility across both structured and unstructured work.
Shifting priorities — across industries
Businesses are no longer solely focused on efficiencies and cost reduction as benefits of case management. Increasingly, the major factors driving case management have shifted to enabling a great user experience (which often means getting an employee with the right expertise involved) and accelerating the response to change within organizations (which means improving agility).
We’re also seeing that there’s a shift in the digital age, and employees are spending less time on production-heavy tasks, which is freeing up a large amount of high-value information workers. So this means that case management is becoming more and more relevant in nearly every industry.
Case management applies very broadly across industries and many horizontal domains, which fall into three categories.
Defined by outcomes
In a DPA world, you define your processes upfront using visual tools. Because of the visual process design, which is structured and highly repetitive, processes are efficiently scalable and it’s easy to identify bottlenecks. Most DPA approaches are accessing very structured data from line-of-business systems or key databases.
By contrast, case management is defined by the outcomes. You may not fully understand how to get from A to Z, but you have the tools and expertise across the overall stages to get there. It’s about empowering people; they are the ones who apply their expertise. They can navigate more fluidly through an ad hoc or semi-structured process.
Case management also anticipates the fact that you have a variety of resources and you may dynamically reassign them across your teams or your organization based on their capabilities. Finally, the data involved may be highly unstructured: emails, texts, phone calls, or documents.
These two approaches are actually complementary. Oftentimes, DPA, and case management can and should be used together to address most end-to-end business challenges.
Having said that, case management has four key advantages over using traditional process- or automated-centric approaches exclusively.
First, case management embraces the fact that it’s your employees and knowledge workers that are at the core of your business. It empowers them with a set of tools and information to enable them to achieve more for less. It moves beyond the current wave of DPA or RPA approaches to pull your knowledge workers into the process and use their expertise in the best possible way.
Second, case management is agile. Case management approaches enable you to change at a speed that matches the rate of your business or the market around you. It’s designed to get you up and running quickly and to support process improvements along the way. (This is particularly important as we all adapt to working from home through the pandemic).
Third, case management is nonprescriptive, meaning case processes are designed to guide and support users through ad hoc activity rather than to force a certain path. It delivers a connected experience whether your teams are in the office, working remotely, or working around the globe. Case management connects both the structured and unstructured processes and activities in a way that gives you complete visibility, control, and governance.
Finally, case management provides a superior user experience because it places equal value on structured and unstructured information, such as emails, documents, and images, and fully integrates them into the process.
At our recent FastFWD Worldwide Virtual Event, we unveiled an exciting new out-of-the-box solution for intelligent case management — and this solution is an evolution of the case management capabilities that are part of the core K2 platform.
First, the solution offers a set of powerful extensions to the Nintex K2 Workflow engine that enables adaptive and ad hoc processing.
Second, it offers an omnichannel desktop that acts as the hub for all the work that an information worker does throughout their day.
Third, it provides a set of powerful and integrated analytics that help support the knowledge worker’s activities and performs automation for many of the routine tasks. And finally, it offers support for the full document life cycle that may be attached to a case.
Our intelligent case management solution is built on top of K2 and integrates technologies from our strategic partners. Together, we enable businesses to deliver more rapidly on prebuilt solutions for adaptive case management that align with a wide range of business outcomes.
The result is an accelerated implementation process as well as a greatly enhanced user experience.