When I interviewed Ed Moran, director of product innovation at Deloitte, he told me companies needed to develop success stories to illustrate the sometimes hard-to-quantify benefits of online communities and other social media. Moran also is an author of the second annual "Tribalization of Business" survey, which examines how companies use online communities and social media. He told me:
Some of our clients tell about the great idea for a new product that came in through the community. When people ask why you are bothering with a community, you can say, "Product XYZ came in that way." So the best metric can be a success story in your company's terms. I encourage clients to look for those. When you look back, what makes you the proudest?
I've heard similar advice for other initiatives. Even if you have hard numbers, almost everyone appreciates an anecdote to illustrate value. Most of us never outgrew our childhood love of a well-told story.
With that in mind, I'm sharing a great example of using technology to improve case management, a variant of business process management that encompasses not only documents and their workflows, but human interactions as well. Consulting company CollabraLink Technologies and BPM software provider Appian,just introduced an application called Wounded Warrior, which speeds the processes for admitting, diagnosis and rehabilitation of injured U.S. soldiers at military Warrior Transition Units (WTU).
According to a press release, Wounded Warrior automates the process of adding wounded soldiers into the WTU system and then provides the central interface through which the soldier and his/her treatment professionals develop a transition plan. The Web-based application walks the soldier through a health self-assessment using a series of clinical questions designed to identify his or her rehabilitation needs. The soldier's primary care physician also accesses Wounded Warrior to verify and approve the assessment, which is automatically routed to the soldier's case manager or occupational therapist for creation and input of an appropriate transition plan.
Soldiers can review their plans, check their progress toward plan milestones and create updates, and treatment professionals can verify them. When Wounded Warrior reports that the transition program has been completed successfully, an appropriate decision about redeployment is made. The app has been piloted at seven WTUs and ultimately will be used by 38 WTUs around the country.
It's especially important to include stories like this in discussions of case management, which tend to get bogged down in jargon and quickly sag under the burden of over-explanation. As Forrester Research analyst Craig Le Clair told me when I interviewed him and colleague Connie Moore about case management, case management isn't a standalone application. Instead, it's a framework that will often contain elements of BPM, enterprise content management, analytics and social technologies. So obviously it may not be an easy sell to business decision-makers.
In the post I linked to above, I included four key points about case management that should be mentioned in any discussion, contributed by Andrew Smith, managing director of IT services provider One Degree. They are:
The Wounded Warrior app obviously possesses all of these characteristics. Oh, and it makes a great story.