Case Management & the Knowledge Worker

Who is a knowledge worker?

Judith Morley (DST) opened her session on Case Management by deferring to the ever-quoteworthy Dilbert on that matter (see above).

When Dilbert couldn’t come up with answer, Judith looked to a few others to define “knowledge worker.”

A knowledge worker might be someone who works at any of the tasks of planning, acquiring, searching, analyzing, organizing, storing, programming, distributing, marketing or otherwise contributing to the transformation and commerce of information and those (often the same people) who work at using the knowledge so produced.


Every knowledge worker in modern organization is an ‘executive’ if, by virtue of his position or knowledge, he is responsible for a contribution that materially affects the capacity of the organization to perform and to obtain results. — Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive (1966)

In short, the knowledge worker is your skilled and experienced worker who has at least a degree of decision-making responsibility and can communicate with or assist your customer in a meaningful way. Moving into the future, we need to enable these knowledge workers to work better and more efficiently to improve the customer experience.

Efficient and high-quality knowledge workers might need to collaborate across teams to complete complex transactions. They must be able to control their own content and manage unpredictable work. And they must be aware of their deadlines at all times.

AWD is working on a case management interface that will enable the knowledge worker, allow more flexible processing, create a more collaborative workspace and offer complete visibility into the current state of work. The who, what, why, where and when for the knowledge worker – the 5 W’s of Case Management.

In working on this new case management interface, the AWD development team met with client across several industries including retirement plans, mutual funds, insurance and  health care. The team listened to many frustrated knowledge workers and saw a infinite stream of paper, whiteboards and to-do lists. They soaked up a LOT of data and ultimately came up with four design goals:

  • Humane way of working with files – it needs to make sense and not be overwhelming while allowing team members access to exactly what they need, when they need it
  • Reorienting yourself to case – it needs to give team members enough context to do meaningful work on the case without much ramp-up
  • Immediate responsibility vs ultimate responsibility  – it needs to allow for management of both assigned work and owned work
  • System that suggests instead of dictates – it needs to be flexible enough to allow team members to get work done in a way that makes sense for them

All of these developments are currently being fleshed out and tested to meet the needs of AWD users. The development team continues to research the next phases and would love additional input from AWD users and conference attendees.

Want to reach out to Judith? Start a conversation on Twitter at @jmo1113!

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