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Legacy Modernization and Case Management: Advice for Government Agencies

Learn how to beat case management challenges and improve legacy modernization efforts at government agencies.

Case work is the predominant working style of government organizations. Whether your agency deals with law enforcement, public health, licensure and permits, or any other domain, chances are you manage cases—complex workflows that involve multiple stakeholders, documents, and data sources. Case management processes can be for everything from service requests to investigations to incidents that require action and resolution. 

While case work is ubiquitous in the public sector, many agencies lack a modern, digital case management solution. Many are left reliant on manual, paper-based processes, and if you’ve ever misplaced a physical document and later couldn’t back up your work in an audit, you know how frustrating those kinds of outdated processes can be. Or your agency may rely on a legacy, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution that doesn’t effectively meet your unique needs. For example, when regulations change, you may be unable to update workflows in real time, forcing you to revert back to manual processes. 

Inefficient, disjointed case management workflows waste employee time and resources, as well as taxpayer money.

Using outdated or makeshift case management technology can have negative impacts that affect entire departments and agencies. Inefficient, disjointed case management workflows waste employee time and resources, as well as taxpayer money. Let’s examine how modern case management software can help address some of these challenges and play an important role in your legacy modernization efforts.

[ Learn how to connect processes to better serve citizens and achieve mission goals. Get the eBook: The Secret to Streamlined Government. ]

Top case management challenges at government agencies.

The technology landscape at government agencies contributes to agencies’ difficulty managing cases in the most efficient and cost-effective way. For public sector professionals, some of today’s most vexing issues include:

  • Legacy systems and siloed data. Case management relies on a wide set of mission-critical data to make informed decisions. When data resides in multiple systems that don’t communicate with each other, it leads to mistakes in reporting and forces government employees to spend more time searching for information.

  • Manual processes. When processes are not automated, valuable time is wasted searching for the correct documents for a case. This becomes even more inefficient and error-prone when complex workflows span multiple systems or departments. Relying on manual processes can even lead to compliance risks.

  • Employee retention. Performing repetitive, tedious tasks can lead employees to become frustrated with their roles and result in high turnover rates. The prevalence of outdated technology and the reliance on manual processes make it difficult for government agencies to attract and retain top talent.

  • Citizen experience. Whether applying for a loan, housing aid, unemployment benefits, or permits, citizens have come to expect the same types of experiences they encounter in the commercial sector. Government agencies should strive to provide modern, digital experiences and reduce the time it takes to resolve a case. 

[ Want to learn more about case management fundamentals? Get the Case Management Guide eBook. ]

How case management software helps: 8 capabilities to look for.

The goals of case management software are to improve operational efficiency, enhance service delivery, and ensure compliance to provide timely and effective services to citizens and other stakeholders.

Case management software should help a government agency manage its workload, track progress, and make faster and more data-driven decisions.

A case management system can play a crucial role in addressing the challenges associated with legacy modernization at federal government agencies. As you evaluate tools, look for these key criteria:

1. Process automation.

Process automation replaces the manual and paper-based workflows of legacy systems, enabling government agencies to complete case work faster and with fewer errors. Automating tasks like filling in documents, replying to web queries, validating data, and responding to common email requests eliminates redundant data entry, improves data quality, reduces errors, and decreases costs.

2. Low-code.

Faster to deploy and offering the agility to update applications quickly when case flows or regulations change, low-code design easily combines workflows to create a more seamless process for employees and constituents.  

3. Connectivity.

A platform that’s built to be open and to integrate seamlessly with other core technologies unifies your data and systems and increases transparency for stakeholders. For maximum efficiency, look for data fabric capabilities: A data fabric connects data sets across disparate software systems, whether they’re on-premises or in the cloud. Data fabric connectivity not only ends data silo headaches but also improves security and compliance, including by supporting document management and audit trails.

4. Collaboration.

A centralized interface for sharing and accessing case-related information, documents, and workflows helps overcome challenges related to intra- and inter-agency coordination by enabling seamless communication, data sharing, and workflow coordination among different entities.

5. Compliance.

Built-in privacy and access controls, audit trails, and a rules engine ensure compliance with relevant regulations and adherence to complex business policies and procedures. 

6. Analytics.

Real-time reports, ideally in a single, unified view, provide visibility into all case work and data for faster decision making. 

7. User experience.

Modern systems provide a user-centric approach and an intuitive interface that increase stakeholder buy-in and user adoption, removing resistance related to change management. Shifting lower-value work to bots increases productivity and creates a better employee and constituent experience.  

8. Mobility.

The ability to retrieve information and data securely from any device, even when offline, enables data access by field teams wherever they are working, increasing productivity.

3 case management takeaways for government leaders: The people factor.

Selecting the right case management system for your agency is a critical decision. But even if you choose the best software, your project can fail if your plan for implementing that software doesn’t consider the people part of the equation. Apply these three strategies for a better shot at success:

1. Break down organizational barriers to data.

Getting access to all the data you need is the most difficult part of complex case management. Data is stored in different systems that have different programs, contractors, integrators, and partners. While a data fabric can help your people access data wherever it resides, your colleagues still need permission to access the data. The promise of faster case management through low-code can be thwarted by a lack of organizational agreements.

So, successful organizations start internal conversations early regarding data architecture. In the requirements planning stage, know which systems and data you need to access. Before the project starts, talk to the various data owners to get their buy-in and cooperation. A low-code data model can be built in a few hours; you don’t want bureaucracy to slow down your transformation efforts.

2. Educate your team on what’s possible with modern tools.

Organizations typically purchase a solution such as a case management system once in a decade. With the rapid advances in technology, employees involved in the software selection process don’t know what requirements to ask for in a modern solution because they don’t know what’s possible. Most likely, they have gaps in their knowledge that they’re not even aware of. 

Someone needs to bridge the knowledge gap. To be an informed case management software customer, team members participating in the requirements gathering process should become educated on what technology can do. Otherwise, they may just ask for the same capabilities offered by their current system. How do you educate your team on the latest technology? As part of sprint 0, hold sessions with vendors on product features and benefits and provide materials produced by your change management team.

3. Get in front of issues and risks early.

Every program runs into issues during delivery. Many organizations aren’t prepared to deal with those challenges because they don’t often deploy software and don’t have a feedback process in place. But you can’t solve problems you don’t know about. And the longer it takes to expose a problem, the longer it will take to fix it—compromising the speed and efficiency you’re trying to achieve.

It’s important to cultivate relationships among all team members, vendors, and partners so they can work together to solve any issues. Maintaining a risk register that is viewable by all stakeholders will prevent small risks from expanding into huge problems.

Two keys to case management success.

Successful case management requires a two-pronged approach. The most transformational change occurs at agencies that:

  • Adopt modern, agile case management software with the capabilities the organization needs.

  • Embrace all three people-related aspects of case management and deal with them effectively. 

[ Learn more about how to improve case management and deliver more value. Get the eBook: The Secret to Streamlined Government. ]