Column Technology and Case Management: A Progression in Investigation Case Handling
For law enforcement and internal affairs organizations, tracking has become one of the most important methods to ensure accuracy, accountability and increase the effectiveness of investigations. Agencies must also ensure best practice internal processes throughout the lifecycle-from instigation through case closure and review. Investigations address unique and seeming less endless demands that require innovative tools, superior methods and cutting-edge technologies. Silo-based approaches that employ multiple databases and systems create signifcant issues with data quality, information accuracy and collaboration capabilities within the organization and with external agencies.
Case management paves the way for increasing investigative effectiveness and improved case solvability. In defning the importance of case management, Gartner, Inc., says, “At the most elemental level, case management is the electronic equivalent of what has supported business over several centuries: the cabinets, drawers, folders, forms and collaborative work now processes supporting important human decisions. Case management captures the backward-and-forward nature of human interaction to reach a specifc outcome”.
Technology as a Critical Component of Case Management Processes:
Agencies involved in investigation processes have to deal with vast amounts of information, both in physical and digital formats. A case management process model must exist and be able to easily interact with the physical investigation. It is also critical to have a proper mechanism to gather, share and access information. For detectives, this is a challenge that can directly affect the integrity and solvability of the case.
There are two primary process model requirements that any investigative case management solution must meet:
- The solution must be specific enough that general technology requirements for each phase can be developed (such as forms to eliminate
manual processes, role-based security, notification controls, and reporting capabilities to meet compliance and audits).
- The foundation of the solution must apply to any investigative process (the workflow must be built in the system to address multiple facets
of business process management, capable of withstanding minor customizations yet maintaining best practices).
Compliance is a key issue in almost every vertical market. Whether satisfying legislative requirements covering anti-corruption, identifying fraud, ensuring accounting standards, or preventing money laundering, process management technologies have earned their incitement to ensure compliance. Built-in workflow requirements such as preventing users from proceeding to the next stage of an investigation and maintenance of user access and data changes in a case ensure an auditable trail. Process management has proven its worth in recording all stages of an investigation to guarantee activities such as audits, compliance, evidence tracking, and data monitoring. A proven process model must be built into case management solutions to ensure compliance.
The Benefits Associated with Case Management Software:
Over the last five years, there has been a noticeable increase in organizations looking to technology for automation, while maintaining agility
with routine investigative activities. Law enforcement agencies are challenged to must close cases quickly and accurately, which is pressuring
the adaptation of new tools and methods to increase productivity and effectiveness and lower costs. The most recent debates of case
management versus business process management have been discussed in many online and analyst platforms, but the fact is that the two are
not independent of one another. Automation plays a vital role in process management, and technological solutions establish a culture for
continuous process improvement within an organization. An effective case management solution allows for process design and simulation,
workflow control, integration tools, and business rules.
The role of technology in investigations will continue to grow to meet the explosion of digital content, social media, and cyber culture. Electronic evidence and information gathering have become critical components in an increased number of crimes and conflicts. From criminal cases, civil disputes, medical malpractice, and employee misconduct to acts of terrorism, if there is a computer, media device or digital file involved, the chances are very good that investigators will need to recover valuable evidence for analysis. Technology paves the way for investigation agencies to keep track of information and evidence. This transformation has also created a need for case management web based solutions-linking information to one or many cases and helping uncover complex relationships among matter (people, places, and things).
The primary drivers of a technology solution to improve eciencies and maintain best practices for investigation handling and case management include:
- Incident Intake and Tracking
- Workflow Management
- Data Management and Collaboration
- Role-based Security
- Evidence Tracking
- Third-party Integrations (systems, databases, or data warehouses)
- Performance Measurements
- Internal Audits
About Column Technologies:
Established in 1998, Column Technologies is a privately held software provider specializing in business process management solutions for public and commercial markets. Headquartered in the United States, we have over 300 employees around the world, as well as offices in Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Developed and launched in 2006, Column Case Investigative has become the leading case management investigation software. The success came from its easy to implement and maintain, powerful content and records management, collaboration, and workflow automation features, which continue to prove an increase in efficiency and help deliver high-quality service.