Everyone has a different idea of what they want from our new case management system, which we’re calling Casebook for now.
We’ve had requests from local offices for:
- less fields (so we can record core details more quickly)
- more fields (so we can generate more detailed reports)
- less structure (so advisers can just fill in what’s important to them)
- more structure (so you don’t need to wade through text when you pick up a case)
But would it surprise you that some advisers just want a quicker version of Petra because “it’s okay…once you get used to it”? It’s almost like a case of Stockholm syndrome.
Petra is a powerful piece of software but its complexity means that it’s hard to learn, slow to use, tough to support, and making small technical changes takes forever. The complexity has destroyed the user experience, but over time it has become familiar and less scary than it used to be.
At the heart of building Casebook is the need to strike a balance between harnessing familiar ways of working, while challenging the things you’ve become used to in Petra.
On my first visit to a local Citizens Advice office, it struck me how much time volunteers give up to help clients. It also hit home how much of that time is spent doing data entry. Every field an adviser needs to fill out takes time that could be better spent elsewhere. Add up those extra minutes across all advisers and it becomes clear that a lot of time is spent in front of computers which could be freed up to allow you to spend more time with clients.
This is why we’re not just building a faster Petra. As we build Casebook, we’re going to reduce the amount of unnecessary information that gets captured. We’re also going to find smarter ways of recording information. As Casebook evolves, some of the familiar fields from Petra will make the final cut but many others won’t.
Below is a screen that we’ve mocked up. We think it forms the heart of Casebook – the recording of issues.This screen shows what happens after you’ve searched for a client and need to add a new enquiry to the client record.
At the moment, it is just a draft design but it gives a feel of how things are progressing. Casebook might feel very unfamiliar at first but we are spending a lot of time making sure we create an intuitive experience. We’re confident that we are creating a system that both new advisers and experienced advisers will pick up quickly.
There’s a lot less fields than Petra has. Some we just haven’t got round to adding in yet, but we do think this is the core, the absolute minimum we need to record a new enquiry.
Obviously there are more fields to come, so we can record debt issues or generate necessary reports, but many fields that currently sit in Petra still need to justify their inclusion into Casebook. Every field has some value, but also a cost – so we need to be ruthless at first. It’s easier to start small and then add features and fields later, as opposed to starting with too much only to find we need to remove functions down the line. Also, the cost isn’t just in measured in adviser time – having too many fields increases the danger that a consultation turns into an interrogation, it’s harder to use a system with so many fields during a consultation, and unnecessary fields draw the eye away from the important ones.
We’re talking to advisers and chief officers now to find out what they like and hate about these draft designs. We will adapt things following that review. Of course, any feedback from you is more than welcome too! Please either leave a comment below or email us.
We’re looking for feedback that tells us what we’re missing and why it’s important we have it in the system, what works for you and what doesn’t.
We’ll update these designs shortly but at this stage, I just wanted to keep you posted and give you a feel for things.
P.s. Another item, we’ve looked at is AICs. Here’s a sneak preview, but we’ll put up another blog with a working prototype for you to try out in the next 2 weeks.