The Value of Adaptive Case Management in the Experience Economy

By Mike Steere posted 08-21-2014 07:06


This blog post, written by ReadSoft CMO Andrew Pery, was originally published in August 2014, here on the ReadSoft blog.

We are in the midst of a fundamental transformation.  The ways that businesses compete for customer wallet share are changing.  Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore coined the term “experience economy”[1] to describe how improved customer experience yields sustainable growth, high value repeat business, and enduring customer loyalty.

In his seminal work Competitive Strategy[2], Michael Porter identifies three competitive strategies–overall-cost leadership, differentiation, and focus.  These strategic imperatives still hold true today, but the boundaries between them are blurred as a result of globalization and the disruptive impact of the digital economy.  

Entry barriers tend to be lower in the digital economy, alternative products abound, and consumers exert considerable power over suppliers.  Companies who were once thought to be invincible have been eclipsed and surpassed by new entrants. Being the low-cost leader can be a tenuous strategy.  Instead, successful companies are delivering higher-value offerings that “delight” customers who are “increasingly gravitating towards purchase behavior dictated by the quality of the experience in addition to the quality of the service or good itself.”[3]

In a rapidly changing competitive landscape, maintaining customer acquisition programs and managing customer lifecycles are no longer viable practices.  Customer engagement strategies today must not only react to, but also anticipate, customer sentiments. Competitive companies continuously improve the quality of customer experiences. 

Well-researched studies by leading industry analysts support the need for organizations to implement innovative customer engagement systems and best practices that challenge the status quo.[4]  In Six Digital Disruptions Rocking Marketers’ Worlds[5], Gartner refers to traditional engagement strategies as a “linear funnel metaphor” that has become a thing of the past.  That strategy is now being replaced by the “advocacy imperative,” in which the customer engagement journey is no longer linear. The “advocacy imperative” model influences buying decisions through thought leadership and knowledge transfer.  As the Gartner study highlights, “hyper-competition has eroded product and service advantages, forcing marketers to seek other ways to drive differentiation, preference and loyalty.  The new battlefield?  Customer experience.”[6]

Download AIIM's new report which looks at using adaptive case management and smart process apps to better succeed in the experience economy.

As noted in a recent study published in the Harvard Business Journal[7] “In the past decade, what marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition. With the possible exception of information technology, we can’t think of another discipline that has evolved so quickly. Tools and strategies that were cutting-edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete, and new approaches are appearing every day.” The study recommends that marketing organizations re-invent themselves.  Marketing should not be considered a separate entity, but rather one that spans organizational structures. 

The rise of social and digital media has changed the makeup of marketing teams, which were traditionally staffed by generalists. Instead, organizations should enlist subject matter experts who work across the company.  Everyone in the organization should be customer-focused. 

Effective teams bring together people with three kinds of expertise:  “think,” “feel,” and “do.”  The “think” component of the organization focuses on uncovering relevant patterns of customer behaviors, sentiments and buying preferences from a vast repository of internal and external sources of data.  The “feel” component consists of social media subject matter experts, digital content creators, and customer engagement specialists, who continually maintain communications to facilitate the buying journey.  The “do” aspect of the organization focuses on IT, systems and application infrastructure that empower organizations to engage with customers—to on board them faster, minimize labor-intensive and error-prone business processes, improve customer service levels and anticipate buying sentiments based on real-time predictive analytics. 

Let’s examine the specific role that application software plays within the context of the experience economy.  One specific example is the emergence of Adaptive Case Management (also referred to as Dynamic Case Management or Smart Process Applications). Adaptive Case Management is designed to facilitate the implementation of fluid and agile processes for engaging with customers. 

A recent research by AIIM titled Case Management and Smart Process Applications defines adaptive case management as “any process… where the process steps and outcome may change during the course of the process… Applications can range from payment management, through contract bids, claims handling and loan origination, to traditional healthcare, crime or legal cases.”  The research underscores the key pain points associated with improving customer engagement and service levels.  Top pain points include the need for meeting customer expectations faster, more efficient ways to process information from multiple channels, better integration with systems of record and key business systems, faster case resolution, process metrics to process bottlenecks and dynamically managing exceptions.   Process orchestration between disparate systems is a common requirement and pain point. 

It is imperative for organizations to preserve and extend their investments in business systems and applications.  As the AIIM study noted “Case management systems rarely operate in isolation. Obviously they need to be connected to email systems and probably to capture front ends, and to some form of records management, although as we have seen, none of these are a given in most organizations. Connection to transactional line-of-business, ERP and finance systems is important, especially for payment and contract processing, but also for many other scenarios where customer data and case content need to be accessed together. Many users would like both search and BI analytics to be extended across their case systems.”  The ability to capture and process information from multiple channels is another key attribute of adaptive case management applications - “content variety is a key aspect of case management…particularly social media can be a particular concern not just in communicating with a younger customers but also in disasters and insurance claims incidents where customers may be disconnected”

The AIIM study concludes that “At the end of the day it is not what the system is called but whether it offers the functionality required to support case management” The following attributes for effective implementation of adaptive case management solutions may be useful to consider:

  • Open and extensible to support processing of data from multiple channels – paper, fax, email, XML data streams, voice, social media sources;
  • Work with multiple input capture application and OCR engines;
  • Embrace process and human centric workflows;
  • Integrate with multiple transactional systems, content and archival repositories;
  • Handle large volumes of content and data in a multi tenancy and shared services environments
  • Support the development of new process flows using intuitive graphical design tools;
  • Orchestrate between disparate applications and provide real time reporting and analysis of key performance metrics to ensure SLAs are met.

We invite you to learn more about the value of adaptive case management best practices and solutions. 

For more information about the value of adaptive case management best practices and solutions, download AIIM’s recently-published report, Case Management and Smart Process Applications.

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