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Center-out: Case management

Embedding logic in channels (top-down) or jamming data into back-end processes (bottom-up) is just putting a band-aid on a problem. Quick fixes aren’t applied holistically, and won’t get applied to similar issues in the future. Don Schuerman explains how automating from the Center-out™ transforms case management at an organizational level.

This is part 3 of the "Building a business architecture" video series. Watch part 3a: “A little more on case management."


When you approach your business architecture from the center out, it means you aren't embedding logic in your channels to create siloed experiences or trying to contort data and product centric systems at your backend to reflect a customer need. Instead, with a center out business architecture, you start in the center with your customer, the outcomes that your customer is trying to achieve, and the micro journey that connects them easily and efficiently to that outcome. And to do that, you need a brain.

You need computer intelligence that operates across all channels that might take the form of business rules that guide policies and procedures and your employees through a process. It may be NLP that extracts meaning from emails. It may, in some cases, be predictive and adaptive analytics that recommend the next best action. But once you've made these decisions, you actually want to be able to get the work done and you wanna get it done in the context of that customer micro journey. And that takes case management.

Now, cases represent a piece of work that needs to get done. They are, by their nature, outcome driven, and that's how you actually capture the micro journey that you're gonna take the customer through. You do that by breaking the work down into stages. The milestones that a piece of work flows through on its way to resolution and stages are really important because they create a common language for all the stakeholders involved, the business people and IT folks who are building the case, the employees are gonna work on the case, the customers and partners who are going to participate in it.

In fact, many of our clients use these stages as sort of a Domino's Pizza tracker, a way to provide transparency to their customers about where work is in the process. You use the brain to define rules about how the work progresses from one stage to the next. Maybe you've collected all the data you need, or you've completed the necessary approvals, or there's been some sort of external event, like the arrival of a document or of a shipment. And to move the work between stages, each stage has steps. These may be human tasks, they may be little automations like sending an email. They may be reusable chunks of business process. Some of them may be in parallel, some of them may be conditional happening under different circumstances, but hopefully most of them are automated so that you're driving that work to completion efficiently, and also in a way that's easy for the customer.

And as that's happening, the case is actually maintaining an audit trail. It's tracking everything that has happened across that work. One, so that you can learn from it and improve processing in the future, but also so you have a record to hand to a regulator or a compliance officer about how the work was done. By taking this case management approach, you can have incredible impacts on your business.

Cisco had one of those CRM systems that was sort of data-centric and maybe a little bit built around the channel. It didn't have the center out capability of case management. So they embedded Pega cases inside of that system to manage their orders and they were able to get it so that 88% of their orders went straight through processing. They processed without any agent touch that allowed them to move 60% of their agents from the back office into the front office to work directly with their customers to provide a more high touch experience. So as their cost was going down, their net promoter score, their customer experience was actually going up. That is the power of case management. That's what happens when you can automate a micro journey by starting in the center out.

So once you've captured your decision logic in the brain, you've got your process logic captured here in the case. The next step of the center out business architecture is to connect out and up to your channels.


Topic: Workflow Automation

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