Question: When is a case form like a chameleon?
Answer: When its appearance changes to fit the process its managing.
Let's consider an example:
An organization offers a tuition reimbursement program, and manages the processes within their case management system. An employee first applies for tuition reimbursement by completing a form with the following information.
- The name of the institution
- The name of the course
- The expected costs of taking the course
- The expected completion date.
Once the form has been completed by the employee/student, it must be approved with the signatures of his 1st and 2nd level managers. The approved form is then scanned, and uploaded to the case record in the case management system. After the employee has finished the course, he must submit proof of his grades, and itemized expenses to receive reimbursement.
Configurable case forms replace the paper form by including fields for capturing the name of the institution, the name of the course, the expected costs and completion date. Each of the fields are formatted to capture the information as data, rather than free text so that they can later be accurately reported on. For example, the name of the institution can be selected from a pick list, and the expected date of completion would be entered in a date-formatted field.
The essence of a configurable case form is its ability to precisely conform to a specific HR process. When process information is captured as data instead of text in a comment field, or in an attachment, it offers two primary business advantages:
- The data can trigger automated workflow.
- The data becomes reportable, offering greater business insight into the process, enabling smarter decision-making.
An example of automated workflow based on data might be routing the request to a third-level approver, if the expected costs of taking the course exceed a certain dollar amount. Another example might be sending an automated email to the employee on the expected data of completion, reminding him to submit proof of grades and itemized expenses.
By using data to drive workflow, a service center agent no longer has to invest the time or mental energy to move the process along. The process becomes standardized, consistent and more efficient – all of which help to drive down operational cost.
When information is captured as data, that means more of the process can be measured. And if you can measure it, you can manage it. And if you can manage it, you can improve it. For example, being able to report on the courses taken can reveal some useful trending about how the company is investing in the training of its workforce. It may determine that it will be more advantageous to bring certain training in-house.
Tailoring the case form to fit the process by capturing relevant data has enabled many organizations to do a lot more than get rid of paper; it’s helped them to drive down costs by automating manual processes while improving the employee experience. It’s also enabled them to gain more insight into the business of the organization, in order to make better management decisions.
Configurability in Case Management has its advantages.