Monday, October 24, 2011

Self Service Applications and Case Management

In today’s electronic world, any organization that serves its customers should have a means of communication to provide higher levels of service. Gone are those days where customers use to make phone calls or visit a customer service center to get their work done. Today customers are using electronic mediums like PCs, mobile devices, tablets, kiosks, to perform their tasks. Need therefore arises to build self service applications that are intuitive and time sensitive to information that customers need.

IBM Case Manager is an enterprise case management system that provides a 360 degree view of any case that is being worked upon. Information flow to and from the case management system can be from multiple sources. Case Management systems are predominantly viewed as an internal application to be used by knowledge workers and the management in an organization. Customers normally do not have access Case Management system. In order to provide a seamless integration between the customers and the Case Management system a self service application is required. Self Service Applications could be internet enabled web applications that have seamless connection to the Case Management System. The IBM Case Manager provides industry standard interfaces to enable such Self Service Applications to communicate with the Cases and their data.

Case Study:
Our customer, a large city organization, is in the process of modernizing its systems to provide better services to its members. As part of this Modernization effort, Prolifics is helping this customer in building an enterprise case management solution leveraging IBM Lotus Forms to capture the member inputs in electronic format and submit it to IBM Case Manager for further processing. Members can also view the status of the case using the Self Service Portal deployed in IBM WebSphere.

Benefits of Member Services Self Service Application:
Members can log on to submit their request over the web either from PC or other web enabled devices like smart phones, tablets, touch pads, etc.

Members can have a 360 degree view of their service requests and collaborate with their service provider for processing their requests

The turnaround time for processing member service requests is reduced from weeks (using paper request) to few days (using electronic forms)

Technologies Used:
IBM Case Manager 5.0, IBM Lotus Forms, IBM ILOG JRules Engine, IBM WebSphere Application Server, IBM Cognos Now, IBM FileNet P8 5.0 Platform, DB2, Red Hat Linux

Kiru Veerappan is a senior ECM Consultant with 15 years of Software Development and Management experience. He has been working on Enterprise Content Management and Business Process Management solutions for more than 10 years. He has created unique solutions while mentoring team members in solving real business issues in a timely and cost effective manner using the latest technologies. He believes in interacting with clients not just to deliver a piece of software but acting as an agent for change, delivering ideas while gathering requirements and providing real knowledge transfer. He has specialized in Content and Workflow Management solutions using IBM FileNet suite of products.

Modernization Project Using IBM Case Manager

Business Application:
Service Purchase Plan Process

Business Challenge:
Prolifics is currently involved in a project at a large public retirement system. In an effort to modernize its infrastructure, the company wanted to ensure that the architecture is interoperable and robust by proving architecturally-significant functionality rather than demonstrate complete business functionality. Equally important is the need for the system to demonstrate that it is agile enough to be modified (e.g. associated business processes and rules) significantly faster than its UPS (Unified Pension System) counterpart. In addition, the Project must demonstrate that straight-through processing is achievable by allowing exception-free instances of processes to execute to completion without any manual intervention.

IBM Case Manager provides an installation framework where you can install IBM Case Manager in a distributed architecture where IBM Case Manager is installed on a separate system from FileNet P8. The IBM Case Manager installation program installs Case Manager Builder, Case Manager Client, the IBM Case Manager administration client, and the IBM Case Manager API.

The distributed system architecture is ideal for large production environments. The following graphic shows the typical architecture of IBM Case Manager in a distributed environment and the features that IBM Case Manager can integrate with.

  • Using an existing business process, Purchase Service Request, we designed and built the environment, which will be established on a VM configuration. This includes the installation of the requisite IBM Case Management, ILOG JRules, Lotus Forms, Datacap and Thunderhead software. Here is an example of the process flow and how the difference technologies in Case Manager are leveraged:
  • Case Builder is used for Business Process Modeling and configuring workflows
  • ILOG Rules Studio authors and tests rules in JRules that are harvested from the existing UPS system
  • Develop and integrate Lotus Forms user interfaces
  • Configure a Datacap batch class and release scripts to load documents into FileNet
  • Define and generate XML payloads containing the data necessary for the production of member correspondence
  • Create test data, test cases and validation of the testing results
  • Functional and integration testing of the ICM, ILOG JRules, Lotus Forms, Datacap and Thunderhead application components
Value Proposition:
The company supports Member Service Request transactions online and risk-based quality control, giving them the ability to shorten cycle times, improve service levels, and mitigate risks across their Service Processes. This enables increased throughput and capacity with existing resources and eliminates costs associated with document shipping, inbound document processing and operations processes.

How does IBM Case Manager help our customer?
  • Provides knowledge workers with a contextual environment and 360-degree case view
  • Helps knowledge workers create and participate in ad hoc and structured workflows
  • Delivers real-time case metrics and integrated sentiment and content analyses to streamline workloads and remediate obstacles
  • Offers a business–focused design that includes interview-style interfaces for case construction and the ability to capture industry best practices in templates
  • Facilitates sophisticated decision management using an integrated business rules management approach, which uses automation and dynamic business rules to simplify assessment and payment processes and easily respond to ever-changing policies and legislation
  • Simplifies collaboration and boosts productivity through social software and communication

Key benefits IBM Case Manager Solution:
  • Program efficacy: achieve better outcomes and results
  • Employee and case worker effectiveness: handle more cases with fewer resources
  • Optimal case outcomes: improve safety, cut costs and increase revenue
  • Process efficiency: leverage automation wherever possible and focus on exceptions
  • Compliance and visibility: manage risk and achieve compliance cost-efficiently

Khaled Moawad is a business consultant with 15+ years of experience in the field of IT. He has participated in large IT projects at multinational organizations in different fields. Khaled's business consulting experience is in IBM Enterprise Content Management, IBM FileNet, IBM Advanced Case Manager, and Lombardi Business Process Management. Khaled has excellent analytical and wide application-based process re-engineering skills, including project management expertise. During his career, he has gained a wealth of experience throughout all stages of pre-sales, implementation, support, software development and project management.