Over the past several weeks, I have been exploring the challenges and strategic approaches and processes for issue reporting and case management. Previous posts include:
- Challenges in Issue Reporting & Case Management
- Components of an Effective Incident/Case Management Process
With processes defined and structured the organization can now define the information architecture needed to support issue reporting and case management processes. Issue reporting and case management fails when information is scattered, redundant, non-reliable, and managed as a system of parts that do not integrate and work as a structured and coordinated whole. The issue reporting and case management information architecture involves the structural design, labeling, use, flow, processing, and reporting of information to support issue reporting and case management processes. This architecture supports and enables the process structure and overall issue reporting and case management strategy.
Successful issue reporting and case management information architecture will be able to integrate, manage, and report on issues and cases across the organization. This requires a robust and adaptable information architecture that can model the complexity of information, transactions, interactions, relationship, cause and effect, and analysis of information that integrates and manages with a range of business systems and data.
The issue reporting and case management technology architecture operationalizes information and processes to support the overall strategy. The right technology architecture enables the organization to effectively manage issues and facilitate the ability to document, communicate, report, and monitor the range of investigations, tasks, responsibilities, and action plans.
There can and should be a central core technology platform for issue reporting and case management that connects the fabric of the processes and information together across the organization. Many organizations see issue reporting and case management initiatives fail when they purchase technology before understanding their process and information requirements. The “best” systems are the ones that are highly configurable to a client’s situation and can be adapted to the company’s forms, processes, technical architecture. The system should not run the business, the business should run the system. Organizations have the following technology architecture choices before them:
- Documents, spreadsheets, and email. Manual spreadsheet and document-centric processes are prone to failure as they bury the organization in mountains of data that is difficult to maintain, aggregate, and report on, consuming valuable resources. The organization ends up spending more time in data management and reconciling as opposed to active risk monitoring. This is where most organizations have focused in managing issues and cases. There is increased inefficiency and ineffectiveness as this document centric and manual approach grows too large and limits the amount of information that can be managed.
- Custom built databases. Organizations also have built custom internal databases to manage issues and cases. The challenge here is that the organization ends up maintaining a solution that is limited in function and costly to keep current. Many companies go from the document and spreadsheet approach to building a custom database that is limited in features, reporting, and scalability at a cost of internal IT resources and maintenance.
- Issue reporting and case management platforms. These are solutions deployed for issue reporting and case management and have the broadest array of built-in (versus built-out) features to support the breadth of case management processes. In this context, they take a full-lifecycle view of managing the entire process of issue reporting and case management. These solutions allow an organization to govern incidents and issues throughout the lifecycle and enable enterprise reporting.
Most homegrown systems are the result of starting with tools that are readily available and easy: documents, spreadsheets, emails, and desktop databases. Too many organizations take an ad hoc approach to issue reporting and case management by haphazardly using documents, spreadsheets, desktop databases, and emails, which then dictates and limits what their issue reporting and case management process will be limited to. This approach then grows and expands quickly outgrowing these desktop tools to the point where it grows cumbersome. Organizations suffer when they take a myopic view of issue reporting and case management technology that fails to connect all the dots and provide context to analytics, performance, objectives, and strategy in the real-time business operates in. The right issue reporting and case management technology architecture choice for an organization involves an integrated platform to facilitate the correlation of issue and case information, analytics, and reporting.