Dynamic duo: Dynamic case management and financial services

Editor's Note: This three-part package explores the growth of dynamic case management (DCM) in the financial-services industry. Here, Part I provides a DCM overview. Part II looks at DCM's benefits for financial-services firms. Part III focuses on DCM adoption in financial services, outlining the most important DCM best practices and pitfalls.

Dynamic case management (DCM) can provide plenty of benefits for financial-services organizations. Among them: more efficient and more consistent processes, better-informed and empowered employees, and, in the long run, better-satisfied customers. That, in turn, can lead to stronger business growth.

Defining DCM

What exactly is DCM? Forrester Research defines it as: "a semistructured, but also collaborative, dynamic, human- and information-intensive process that is driven by outside events and requires incremental and progressive responses from the business domain handling the case."

Craig Le Clair, a Forrester vice president and principal analyst, cites numerous reasons for DCM's popularity in a variety of industries. His list includes:

  • New compliance demands from regulators, auditors and litigants
  • Ongoing evolution of less-structured, more ad hoc jobs requiring specific skills and interaction with other specialists
  • The impending shortage of skilled workers as aging "baby boomers" retire
  • The need to empower existing service employees

The financial picture

Meanwhile, numerous issues are driving financial-services firms in particular to implement DCM methodologies and deploy DCM tools: regulatory compliance, customer on-boarding and security issues, to name a few. But experts agree that the biggest driver is the resolution of exception items.

"As we understand business practices more, we proceduralize the things that used to require humans," says Derek Miers, a Forrester Research principal analyst. "In financial services, we automate those things that are easily automatable, highly procedural and very structured." For example, bank customers can look up their account balances online, through an ATM or even over the phone. None of those processes requires a bank employee's involvement; they're all self-service.

As simplified transactions become standardized and self-service processes take the place of human processes, employees are left dealing with the exceptions—that is, issues that can't be handled in a standardized manner, Miers says. Examples of exceptions are customer issues, disputes, fraudulent transactions and identity theft.

"Employees need information and they need it in a more flexible environment because you can't predict how the person on the phone wants to be dealt with," Miers says. "Dynamic case management provides a more flexible and more adaptive way of dealing with customers."

How DCM works

DCM technology collects all the information, documents and other content created around a given case and integrates it to give employees a comprehensive view of a customer's history. Thus, employees can make well-educated decisions about just about any issue without being held to a defined process.

This flexibility enables better customer service, which is increasingly becoming the differentiating factor in today's service-based economies. "Now when we deal with a brand as a consumer, we expect that brand to deal with us as individuals and deal with our issues rather than force us to follow their procedures," Miers says.

Bottom line: DCM gives financial services employees the ability to treat customers as individuals and deliver personalized service by giving them all the information ever collected on that customer and for a specific case, allowing them to make a decision that accommodates both the financial institution's objectives and the customer's needs. It can also streamline compliance, help modernize financial systems and even assist in fraud prevention.

Part II of this package looks at DCM's benefits for financial-service firms. Part III focuses on DCM adoption in financial services, outlining the most important DCM best practices and pitfalls.

About the Author

Crystal Bedell is an award-winning freelance writer who specializes in covering technology. Contact her at cbedell[at]bedellcommunications.com.

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