Recently, Gartner released its Magic Quadrant for BPM-Platform-Based Case Management Framework. As most everyone knows, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant creates a simple way to evaluate solutions in any given area of technology by stationing providers in one of four positions on a quadrant based on their leadership, innovation, ability to execute, and completeness of vision. While some in the IT industry like to overanalyze Magic Quadrants, this clear guidance and assessment offers useful data points to help the buyer on their purchasing journey.
This year’s Case Management Frameworks Magic Quadrant is important for several reasons, the first of which is that the need for this type of solution for federal agencies is immense, the second of which is that federal IT spending is under more scrutiny than ever, and the third of which is that the solution sets that fall within the rubric of Case Management Frameworks have never been more diverse. To this end, IT managers along with purchasing and acquisition teams in the market for a new Case Management Framework are under immense pressure to find a solution that aligns with the drive to IT modernization, can grow with the agency as missions change, and, is modestly priced.
To give us a starting point, let’s define Business Case Management Frameworks as sets of integrated components that build Case Management applications. Case Management applications in their simplest forms enable agencies to perform activities such as onboarding citizens into benefit programs, and managing citizen needs once enrolled.
Over the last few years, Case Managements solutions have gone through a period of rapid technological development moving from rigid frameworks with strictly defined actors and rules to a less rigid and more flexible set of parameters. What this flexibility enables is for agencies to provide more nuanced case management services to their constituents as part of a one-stop experience with empowered case workers, rather than make constituents bounce between web sites and phone trees providing the same information over and over again and often without getting resolution. Certainly, the COTS solutions that previously defined the market provided a first wave of next-generation solutions, but the need to keep upgrading the core product and their propensity to fail as more rules and exceptions are added has been a constant source of frustration.
Given that the types of benefits and cases that federal agencies are dealing with on a daily basis have grown in both scope and complexity, this IT change is much needed and a little overdue. By using component architecture, there can be a set of rules that defines the framework and then within the framework solution architects are free to design in a way that makes sense for the types of cases managed by their agency. Moreover, because the next, next-generation case management frameworks are component based, each component can be audited, acting as a check and balance to ensure fair adjudication of cases.
There are two additional developments affecting the federal government as a whole that will cement framework-based Case Management solutions as the preferred choice. The first is the movement to the cloud. As more agencies take their mission to the community – getting out from behind desktops and empowering agency workers in the field with mobile apps – flexible solutions that have built-in version control and audit capabilities are going to have to become the norm.
Moreover, as agencies look to drive efficiencies via economies of scale and move to shared services models these framework models will make even more sense for two reasons. While current generation COTS solutions can be shared within departments or across agencies, it is difficult to adapt them precisely to each agency’s needs. Also, as errors are made, which they inevitably are, they are transferred into each new instance. A Case Management solution that is framework-based eliminates these two hindrances by being a component system which can be rapidly reconfigured like a Lego set to suit the requirements of each agency in the shared services environment and improve on previous imperfections with each re-use.
Armed with this information, plus the knowledge in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Case Management Frameworks, federal agencies, such as the USDA, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, and the Social Security Administration that deliver vital services to citizens should move confidently into a new era of serving their constituents, driving mission success, and delivering greater value to citizens and administrators.