Syddjurs Municipality reduces modelling and digitizing of work processes to a few hours
As the first municipality in Denmark, Syddjurs Municipality has introduced the research-based process modelling tool DCR, since the tools available so far, with inflexible flow diagrams, cannot be used in practice because they fail to describe a complete work process. Several of the municipality's sectors now use DCR which enable them to model and describe a whole work process in less than five hours, including all the different flows and detours that occur in the real world. Syddjurs Municipality looks forward to apply the processes in the IT system and gain benefits due to improved case management. This is expected to give the case workers more time with the citizens and at the same time ensure a more systematic and correct application of the legislation. In addition, great savings are made possible because there is no need to recode the IT system every time a law or a process changes.
Syddjurs Municipality is known to be very mature with regards to IT and the frontrunner in using new technology. This also applies to process modelling, since they were the very first municipality in Denmark to introduce DCR. Today the research-based tool is utilized to model and describe work processes in several sectors within the municipality.
Had given up making flow charts
Nicklas Healy, who models and describes work processes in the Family Department in Syddjurs Municipality, says: “Before we got DCR, the employees either used some general text guides or their own notes for support. Their handling of the different types of cases could therefore vary, and the employees risked forgetting steps in the processes. We had simply given up making traditional flow diagrams, which some municipalities still do, because the flow diagrams are too inflexible and always end up only describing one particular path you can take when you handle a case. That means, you cannot use the flow diagrams in practice because they do not catch all the many detours and alternative options which occur in reality.”
Today, Nicklas Healy uses DCR to identify all activities in a work process and to make sketches of the different paths it is possible to take. He finds out how the different activities depend on each other and simulates the work process with the case workers in order to check whether his models work in practice. Nicklas Healy: “It is quite unique that the tool allows for the various steps in a work process to be taken in different order and in different ways so that it supports all the different flows in a process where unforeseen things always might happen. This means that we can include everything in our process modelling, and when the processes are later applied to the IT system, the system can make sure that the users remember it all."
Can ensure they comply with the law
Syddjurs Municipality has chosen to involve itself in DCR in several ways, most recently by participating in the Ecoknow project, which among other things researches how to develop better digital solutions for case workers based on artificial intelligence, allowing changes in the law to be more easily integrated via DCR. And precisely the issue of legislation is an important criterion for Syddjurs Municipality. "It can have serious consequences for us - and for our citizens - if we do not comply with the law, in case we forget something in a process. Therefore, it is important that DCR is able to ensure that we follow the processes - and thus the legislation. On top of that, we see some great benefits by being able to significantly reduce the case workers' time spent in front of their computer screens allowing them to spend more time with the citizens and thereby give them a better service. Earlier studies show that case workers spend up to 80 percent of their time on administrative work in front of the screen, so there is also a great potential here,” says Nicklas Healy.
Another reason for using DCR in the municipality is the tools incredible flexibility. Nicklas Healy elaborates: "It is much easier to change a process in DCR, for example when the legislation changes, after which the change will be reflected in the IT system immediately, without it being necessary to involve the IT provider to recode the system. For us, this means enormous savings - and of course that we will be able to rectify very quickly every time a law change is adopted.”
Processes can be modelled in less than five hours
DCR is designed in such a way that it can be used by anyone without prior knowledge of process modelling or IT development. "After two hours of introduction, I could understand and start modelling in DCR, and the case workers just needed a brief introduction in half an hour in order to get involved. DCR is a very intuitive tool, and you quickly become good at using it. Above all, it is incredibly easy to work with, because you do not have to model each scenario - only the activities and their interdependencies need to be modelled. This means, for example, that I can model a work process with all detours and dependencies, simulate with the case workers, make the necessary adjustments and descriptions of it all in under five hours. It’s simply not possible to achieve that any faster, easier or in a better way,” says Nicklas Healy.
Using traditional methods and tools, it usually takes a week or more to model and describe a single workflow. In addition, maintaining the processes is a huge amount of work, but in DCR it only takes a moment to make a change that is immediately reflected in the IT system.
Processes are applied directly in the IT system
According to Nicklas Healy, the Municipality of Syddjurs has adopted DCR and is well on its way to realizing the great gains and savings they expect. “Within a few months we will apply all the process work enabling it to become reflected in the case management system. This means that the case workers will very soon be able to follow the processes we have modelled and described - and be guided by the IT system to remember it all – in comparison to now where we have modelled and described the processes, but where they need to look at our intranet to see what to do. DCR is, in my opinion, a ground-breaking tool, probably due to the underlying unique method that DCR Solutions has developed together with leading universities in Denmark. I have not seen anything like this and I have very high expectations,” concludes Nicklas Healy from Syddjurs Municipality.
Syddjurs Municipality is located in the Central Region in Denmark. It has a population of 42,021 people (2017) and approx. 3,200 permanent employees. Due to its digitization strategy, Syddjurs Municipality has achieved a frontrunner status in the field of digitization in the public sector both with regards to IT development and operations.
Results with DCR
Benefits of DCR