Today’s sophisticated international crime investigations require advanced technologies that support detailed communication processes. For INTERPOL Washington, the mission is particularly daunting: INTERPOL Washington handles more than 2,000 daily inquiries related to criminal activity across the globe. A solution built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM has allowed INTERPOL Washington to scale its business model by increasing its efficiency through automation. The solution allows for more efficient allocation of personnel resources to handle a caseload that has grown by 33 percent over prior years.
|Our investigative workflow system now works much more efficiently with Microsoft Dynamics CRM in automating our manual processes. Automation has been critical in improving customer service and allowing our staff to be more strategically aligned with serving the INTERPOL Washington mission.|
| Wayne Towson|
To meet this challenge, INTERPOL Washington needed to modernize its manual, internally developed investigative workflow system. “With our previous system, we faced multiple challenges, including an unsupported framework,” says Wayne Towson, CIO for INTERPOL Washington. “Our lack of a fully supported application and a less-than-optimized relational database made real-time reporting and proactive security management impossible. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provided full product lifecycle support that was not available in our earlier custom case management solution.”
Caseworkers often spent more time on paperwork than on information analysis, and the system lacked a structured messaging paradigm. INTERPOL Washington determined that an automated CRM solution would allow it to more quickly and accurately respond to electronic communications, which correspond to 40,000 investigative cases each year.
Automated Tasks Speed Up Workflow
After researching possible solutions, INTERPOL Washington determined that Microsoft Dynamics CRM provided a sophisticated workflow framework to automate case tasks and minimize manual, repetitive processes. A model based on increased automation and structured communication flows has the potential to allow INTERPOL Washington staff to focus on more strategic analytical work products while also accelerating the resolution of inquiries. “The business intelligence capabilities of second-party solutions tie into CRM and also provide investigators with key information that positively impacts their operational effectiveness,” Towson says.
Business Process Framework Supports Correspondence Workflow
As part of the deployment, INTERPOL Washington worked with Microsoft Services to develop a business process framework based on re-engineered workflows, which was modeled after the existing core Case Management design. The Microsoft Services team then helped align those re-engineered processes into the software and infrastructure. “We pursued an incremental approach to the solution development in terms of both workflows and employees,” Towson says. “This enabled adoption and enthusiasm for the solution.”
The new system, called the Envoy Communications Environment (ECE), is built on the agency’s existing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 platform, leveraging the Always On technologies. The ECE solution receives case incident notification alerts from external law enforcement databases, including the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC), NLETS, and the Department of State, and from the Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Patrol systems that check against INTERPOL databases for forged, lost, or stolen passports. In 2012, more than 200 million INTERPOL passport checks were conducted and more than 18,000 incident alerts were processed by ECE.
Matching and Routing Cases Expediently
The ECE system automatically generates inquiries in Microsoft Dynamics CRM from incoming electronic communications. Using the integrated Microsoft FAST Search Server for SharePoint, ECE examines each new inquiry to see if there is a match to an existing case. If so, the new inquiry is routed to the existing caseworker. If not, a new case is created and routed to the appropriate department.
Cases are then managed by their assigned department, and all outgoing and incoming correspondence is tracked in the system. The status and artifacts of the cases are tracked in Microsoft SQL Server while case artifacts are stored in Microsoft SharePoint.
Reduced Access Time and Accelerated Report Generation
The ECE solution coupled with FAST Enterprise Search technologies has reduced the time it takes to index case data from eight hours to less than ten minutes. The solution has also automated many manual processes, which allows caseworkers to process the ever-increasing volumes of inquires faster and more accurately.
“From a reporting standpoint, Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides immediate access to structured and ad hoc reports along with audit trails on all transactions,” Towson adds. “The software also meets all of our strict information security requirements while providing our staff with a modern case-workflow system that’s fully integrated with the Microsoft Office product framework.” The end result was a scalable, fully supported application that allows INTERPOL Washington to scale its operations with the increasing demands associated with combating transnational crime, supporting the international law enforcement mission, and delivering national access to INTERPOL systems.
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published January 2013