Written by Kris Collo, President & CEO, MicroPact
There is little doubt that implementing the right technologies can help turn the most disorganized organization into a well-oiled machine. But given the unique work that many of us do, it can be hard, if not impossible to find off-the-shelf applications that meet our business needs. Quite often it is necessary to develop unique business solutions.
Building applications on the fly can be done a couple of ways. They can be written from scratch or they can be built by employing a platform of some type to accelerate the development process.
In business, most of the work we strive to automate is “case-like.” These cases may include common activities such as employee onboarding or background investigations, or may be very specialized and manage issues that are unique to a single organization such as a regulatory body. For this reason, many organizations are turning to Dynamic Case Management platforms for their application development needs.
Before investing in or selecting a case management platform, there are five important things to consider to help facilitate adoption and accelerate the return on investment.
1. How Will It Address the Business Objectives?
Long before selecting a solution, your organization first needs to clearly define your objectives and what sort of return you want to see for the time and money you put into an implementation.
At the end of the day what will the solution deliver? Will it be designed to make the day-to-day tasks of front-line workers easier? What reports are you hoping to generate from the system? What does the IT department need for successful implementation? Will the case management solution increase collaboration between remote offices? Will the solution give your team greater oversight into a process, and help better manage risks? And how quickly will the cost of the system be recouped?
These are all questions that need to be asked – and answered before proceeding with any implementation.
2. Who Will It Serve?
After determining your objectives, consider the multiple and disparate audiences that the solution will serve. Consider not only those individuals that will be using the platform, but all of your internal audiences.
When looking at the entire life of the solution, those served will likely include a lot of different people – front-line workers, supervisors, managers, partners, executives and the IT department. While the IT staff may not be using the system on a daily basis, they ultimately will be involved in implementation and maintenance of the system. And this makes their role just as significant as front-line users and their opinions of the system just as valuable.
It’s also important to clearly define who the primary user audience is – these are the individuals who will give you the greatest amount of input relative to your system design needs (as we explore below).
3. Involve the Right People
In an effort to speed implementation it is natural to be hesitant to involve the masses. It takes time to include representatives from all the groups that will be affected by the system.
The biggest barrier to success however is a lack of buy-in from the groups that will use the system. Even before you select a technology, make every attempt to gain alignment from team members regarding the need for the system. By giving team members a forum for input, they are able to express their wants and needs, which then leads to trust – and ultimately buy-in.
If front-line workers aren’t invested in the system’s success, if they don’t buy-in, the system won’t be used — at least not effectively. If the IT department doesn’t want it, like it, or believe in it, the solution may not be implemented or supported successfully.
Taking the time to involve your extended team and to get them excited about your initiative will help spare you the headache of an unused or ineffective solution down the road.
4. Gather Input
When implementing a case management solution, the more information you have at your disposal, the better off you will be.
You will find that the future users of your system will be happy to give input up-front because they know that if their needs are heard and addressed now, the system will better facilitate their work later. What information do they work with every day? What reports do they require? What efficiencies are they looking for?
In collecting these data-points you are building the system requirements as you go. Pain points or successes in the current process should be listed as line items that the system must address. By taking into account what you know already works and what needs to be fixed, you are setting yourself up to deliver the best possible case management solution to your organization.
Also, be sure to explore what people with different job roles are looking to get out of a case management system – including how much control the IT department needs (or wants), and what real-time reports will help front-line workers better do their jobs. Capturing the right data-points and engaging the right constituents, early in the process, will help ensure success.
5. Build for the Future
Chances are your business will not remain static in the years (or even months) to come. This is a very good thing, but it presents all sorts of challenges. Having technology that is able to evolve at the pace of business is imperative. As team members discover new ways to increase efficiencies, the system needs to evolve to accommodate those needs. Not only will it save the company money by eliminating the need to update antiquated systems, but it will also help maintain ongoing engagement as the system grows and changes as the company does.
Engage, Communicate and Evolve
As government contractors we face a unique set of challenges. When we look to technology for assistance, we must be sure that it not only meets today’s requirements but that it is also able to adapt and evolve in order to meet tomorrow’s as well.
The most critical piece to a successful implementation however is the people who will use it. The more we know about the needs of our organization and team members, the easier it will be to select or build a solution that will meet your objectives and improve your businesses. Communication, information gathering and engagement are critical. Without the input and support of our team, the solution won’t serve its purpose no matter how great the technology is.
About the author:
Kris Collo is the President and CEO of MicroPact. Collo founded the company in 1997 with the goal of empowering large-scale enterprises to take control of their information through accelerated access to critical data. Today MicroPact’s Unified BPM platform for Case and Business Process Management, entellitrak, is used by more federal agencies than any other BPM product. MicroPact has received numerous awards for its achievements and growth.