When we started researching case management methods in the public sector, we noticed a lot of organizations are using in-house solutions like Excel to manage client data.
The Excel method is cheap, but “cheap” is almost never better when it comes to security, performance, and functionality. Excel is an affordable tool that can certainly be useful for some activities, but it just doesn’t cut it when it comes to case management and performance management.
So if you shouldn’t be using Excel, what should you be using?
Cloud-based case management systems (like Compyle) are designed specifically to meet the needs of public sector organizations. They are much easier to use, require less training, and offer the critical functions needed to engage in effective case management
Here are 4 compelling reasons you should ditch Excel and make the leap to a cloud-based case management system:
They Keep Your Information More Secure
Generally speaking, cloud-based case management systems are significantly more secure than in-house solutions like Excel.
This is due to a variety of factors:
- Data is housed and accessed centrally (prevents data from being copied, transferred, and shared).
- You can more easily manage who has access to the system and keep a log of who accessed what information when.
- Cloud-based systems are built with a more rigorous focus on security.
- Systems designed for public sector use are more likely to be compliant with government regulations around security (like HIPPA).
They’re Easier to Use
Excel has virtually unlimited uses, but it doesn’t have any controls for specialized uses like case management.
If you’ve never taken classes, Excel can be extremely difficult to learn and use, even when you have a basic understanding of computers. There are hundreds of functions, formulas, and analysis tools. Sometimes it’s impossible to find exactly what you’re looking for without a Google search. Even the simplest of mistakes or accidental deletions can corrupt the entire file!
On the other hand, cloud-based case management systems are designed to do one thing and do it very well. There are fewer functions, but these are usually more relevant and easier to find.
Finally, cloud-based systems are usually easier to navigate, have a more visually appealing interface, are less “cluttered,” and usually include tutorials. Some companies even provide technical assistance and free online help depending on what kind of subscription you have.
These factors all lead to more effective usage of the system and greater accessibility for individuals with diverse levels of knowledge. If you can turn your computer on and navigate the Internet, you can almost definitely use a cloud-based system effectively.
Engage in Advanced Communication and Client Referrals
In Excel, there is really no way to collaborate with partners and share data in a secure way.
When teammates collaborate on documents, this means continual copying, transferring, and editing of data in a decentralized way. This can result in egregious errors and data breaches.
Furthermore, there is no way to quickly and easily filter client data to spot client referral opportunities. All of this must be done manually, which can be very time-consuming.
Unfortunately, client referrals is one area where cloud-based management systems seem to lag behind the times. This is why we developed Compyle with the goal of simplifying the client referral process.
With Compyle, you can easily communicate with partner organizations, send and receive client referrals, and track the outcomes of these referrals.
Easily Use Data to Improve Your Programs and Services
Simply compiling data isn’t the goal of what you do; it’s creating measurable impact. So, your case management system should either help you measure high-level impact, or feed directly into a system that can.
Some cloud-based systems provide you with an automated way to analyze the bigger picture. Again, this must be done manually in Excel, which can be very time-consuming and error-prone.
An effective case management system will allow you to track the outcomes of your programs and services by analyzing how the programs change (or don’t change) each client’s wellbeing, circumstances, knowledge, beliefs, etc. It should then allow you to aggregate this data to see program-level impact.
This can be done through the use of surveys sent directly to clients from the system before, during, and after program completion. If you use Excel and want to send client surveys, you’ll have to purchase a separate system (so you’ll end up spending more money anyway) or use paper (not ideal for confidentiality!).
A cloud-based management system is going to be a significant investment compared to Excel, but it’s definitely worth the cost in the long run. You will spend less time on monotonous tasks, avoid costly mistakes, keep your client’s information more secure, and ensure your programs and services are delivering the intended results.
Read this blog to learn more about why cloud-based case management systems are more secure than in-house solutions.