A small team can make big demands on affordable case management software

Teams of all sizes can individually benefit from the collective experience, and cumulative spend, of the Ombudsman community

If you are one of the “big players”, there are a number of systems available to support your case management – the bigger the budget, the wider the choice. But finding affordable software for smaller casework teams can be something of a challenge. Indeed schemes of all sizes have to ensure that their case management system is giving them value for money.

In the past most case management systems were bespoke solutions, clients wanted the ability to tailor the software to their own particular processes and terminology ad infinitum. Recent trends however have been towards lower cost, ‘platform’ case management solutions. Sometimes at the cost of functionality and flexibility, particularly in the key areas of analysis and reporting.

Computer Application Services (CAS) created Workpro software more than a decade ago specifically for Information Commissioner and Ombudsman case work. The team acknowledges that, at one point, there were as many versions of Workpro as there were clients – giving each what they individually asked for made it difficult to provide low cost and timely upgrades.

So we set about creating a more affordable approach to case management software for schemes of all sizes, but one that keeps client options open in terms of scheme specific requirements both now and in the future. In doing so we sought to leverage the collective experience of our Workpro Ombudsman users.

We took advantage of our new employee owned status (January 2014) to invest in creating a “best of the best” baseline version of Workpro software that is truly an “out of the box” solution. We drew on years of Workpro development, incorporating high end functionality such as reporting.

Of course users can still specify scheme-specific workflows and adaptations but the core software is now maintained as best in class, with best practice complaints handling and freedom of information case types built in.

This has allowed us to radically reduce the cost of the software, bringing in new licensing arrangements with annual running costs commensurate with the number of users. Economies of scale benefit all as the cumulative spend of our Ombudsmen, and other clients (both public and private sector), is reflected in the core product.

Existing users report renewed evidence of team CAS and Workpro being progressive, new functionality being added as standard, with a roadmap that shows what new capabilities will be available, when. The approach is also attracting new users beginning with the Bureau Ombudsman Sint Maarten. British Overseas Territory business followed and, most recently, a new Ombudsman client in Canada.

Workpro product manager Lynne Campbell confirms, “CAS has a long term commitment to the Regulatory community. We work with a range of organisations, in one specific case Workpro helped reduce operating costs by up to 37% while managing increased workload. Now, new and smaller schemes are engaging to take advantage of the fast start and collective benefits available through tapping into the cumulative spend of the sector.

“Employee owned, the team takes client relationships personally – we don’t look to the proverbial fast buck when a new scheme comes on the market – we make our returns slowly and steadily, by providing service at all levels, including to organisations that have little or no IT back-up of their own.”

At the other end of the scale, Workpro has this year been chosen by the UK’s Home Office to manage cases and communication exchanges with external organisations.

Workpro is also increasingly in use by frontline organisations, both private and public sector, seeking to improve customer service while complying with regulatory demands.

Available through the G Cloud framework on the UK government “Digital Marketplace”, Workpro is offered as an accredited cloud-hosted solution, an alternative to (still-popular) in-house deployment. Cloud will become more common in the years ahead but clients still have the choice of where and how to deploy.

A number of public and private sector case studies are available on request by e-mailing Lynne.Campbell@casltd.com or you can see more on our website www.workpro.com