You know you need case management software to boost your efforts to prevent, investigate and resolve cases of misconduct, incidents and issues. But your top level management isn’t convinced… yet. You may only get one chance to make your business case, so make sure you have all your information in order and the answers to all the relevant questions.
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Before you explain the benefits of case management software or the reasons your organization should implement it, you need to understand (and help management understand) what it is.
Case management software is a tool that helps teams keep all of their ethics and compliance investigations organized. It stores all case information in one centralized database so you don’t have to hunt down documents and data, streamlining the investigation process.
These systems offer an end-to-end solution, from initial complaint or incident intake to final reports. In your business case for case management software, stress that a “one-stop shop” saves money and time by organizing workflow. Even more importantly, show them how implementing case management software can help your company prevent incidents before they happen.
During intake, case management software captures complaints through your internal and external reporting systems (e.g. hotline, webform, email) and instantly creates case files populated with relevant information.
Throughout the investigation and management stage, case management software keeps investigations on track by establishing a consistent, timely process. Some examples of tools you might use include:
- Personalized “to-dos” for each team member
- Case notes
- Deadline alerts
- Email integration to keep case correspondence in one place
Finally, case management software makes the post-investigation process faster and easier. You can create properly-formatted, thorough investigation reports, which could take hours to write manually, with just a few clicks. In addition, built-in trend analysis helps you spot patterns so you can take preventive action, without poring over data for hours.
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Most organizations are not keen to take on a big expense without good reason, especially when money is tight. To make a strong business case for case management software, you need to focus on why your company should make the switch and when.
Here are a few circumstances that tell you a new case management solution is necessary:
- You’re seeing more cases than ever. Team members have to juggle a larger volume of cases and work more efficiently. This could lead to cases falling through the cracks, allowing issues to repeat or escalate. Implementing case management software at the start of a rise in cases gives investigators time to learn the system before they get too busy.
- You’ve hired more team members. Are you adding more investigators, managers or other team members, even for a short contract? A larger team needs a more organized system to keep their investigation process consistent.
- New industry regulations are pending. Increased scrutiny by the DOJ and SEC has put a lot of pressure on organizations to conduct timely, thorough and well-documented investigations. Frequent new and changing regulations are also a concern for many organizations. An effective case management system is a key step to boosting your ethics and compliance program.
- You got caught in a lapse. Has your organization been hit with fines, sanctions and/or reputation damage due to an ethics or compliance lapse? Using a strong case management system shows that you’re serious about E&C and can even reduce fines and sanctions.
If none of these situations apply to your company, emphasize the importance of being proactive. Waiting until a major lapse occurs can be costly to both your reputation and your bottom line. Explain that implementing case management software when things are running smoothly is easier, cheaper and less stressful than waiting until you need it. And the earlier you implement it, the sooner you can start preventing issues and incidents.
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Regardless of your organization’s industry or size, sticking to the budget is always top priority. Before they agree to a major expense, management will want to know how fast it will pay for itself. There’s no use in purchasing something that isn’t cost effective, right?
ROI (return on investment) should be a key focus of your business case for case management software. Compared to other systems, case management software can save you money over time by:
- Cost avoidance: Case management software is maintained and updated for you, so you don’t have to pay IT staff for in-house upkeep.
- Fewer incidents: It’s a lot cheaper to to prevent incidents from happening than rectifying the situation after the fact.
- Cost savings: Do you need to upsize or downsize your system? A scalable platform lets you do it for less than buying a whole new system.
- Lower fines: Proof of a timely, fair and complete investigation can reduce fines in the case of a compliance lapse.
- Lower litigation costs: A well-documented investigation provides a strong defense and can lower or even eliminate litigation costs.
In addition, case management software offers an exceptional ROI in less direct ways, including:
- Increased productivity: An efficient, all-in-one platform lets fewer staff do the same amount of work in less time. This also allows you to reallocate team members to other tasks and areas as needed.
- User adoption: Investigators like using tools that make their jobs easier. Case management software streamlines many of their processes and reduces the stress of tracking down information stored in multiple locations.
The final step of presenting your business case for case management software should be highlighting each benefit your organization would reap. Showing management the big picture can help them get on board with the idea, but explaining specific ways a new system could help your company should seal the deal.
Both ethics and compliance lapses and the investigations you conduct around them pose significant risk to organizations. Case management software can reduce this risk and increase compliance by standardizing the processes and centralizing information.
Case management software can help you leverage your data to keep a close eye on your company’s risks, assess training gaps and spot trends. You’ll get deep insight into how current issues are being handled and where potential problems lie so you can focus your preventive efforts.
Investigations also need to be well-documented. Detailed case timelines log activity to keep investigations on track and provide an audit trail. Managers can check to make sure investigators stick to deadlines, while documentation of who did what to a case and when provides proof of your process to regulators or judges.
Finally, a web-based system allows investigators to update case files anytime, anywhere. This lowers the chance of details being lost when a team member is off-site or traveling and lets external collaborators contribute easily.
Case management software can reduce investigation time by up to 50 per cent. By reducing duplication of effort and maintaining data integrity, these systems help you work more efficiently for a faster resolution.
With a centralized file containing documentation, evidence and case information, investigators don’t have to waste time gathering data from multiple places or risk losing information. Automated task management ensures a consistent investigative process every time, no matter who’s working on the case.
If you want an even more streamlined workflow, choose a system that can be configured to your organization’s needs. With templates, menus and other features unique to your company built right in, you won’t have to work around an off-the-shelf system, which could take time away from investigative tasks.
To get the most out of a case management system, you need to start with strong policies and processes. Download our free eBook to learn how to conduct better workplace investigations.
Managers can’t be everywhere at once, so they need to rely on employees to report ethics and compliance concerns. However, an inadequate reporting mechanism can lead to complaints falling through the cracks and issues escalating into a problem that’s damaging to the organization’s finances and reputation.
Case management software integrates with your existing reporting mechanisms to ensure you capture every tip. It also standardizes the way you collect reports, reducing the chance that you miss or forget about one. A case management system increase employee and customer reporting options to include anonymous tips, which can help you catch lapses sooner.
Cases are created instantly whenever a tip is submitted using information shared by the reporter. By eliminating manual data entry into case files, investigators can get right to work, reducing response time.
Most importantly, a strong reporting system helps you comply with the reporting requirements of the SEC, DOJ, EEOC, CCOHS, OCR and OSHA and others. Intake mechanisms are a critical part of security, anti-corruption and anti-fraud compliance, and case management software can help you make the most of yours.
Data privacy and security should be the number-one priority for every team, but especially ethics and compliance. With spreadsheets and paper-based systems, you can’t be sure that sensitive information is truly safe, especially if you send documents to colleagues via email.
Case management software uses a secure, encrypted platform with role-defined levels of access. Administrators decide who can view and work on cases to ensure confidentiality. In addition, data transfer from your reporting mechanisms is secure and compliant with privacy laws.
Investigators don’t work in a bubble and often have to collaborate with other investigators, attorneys, outside experts and consultants. Everyone can work on cases right in the file, keeping information within the secure platform.
Make Your Business Case for Case Management Software
Armed with this information, you can make the case for investing in case management software for your organization. A solid prevention program is only as good as its support system, and using reliable, advanced software will make yours superior.