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Looking into in SAP Business Suite 7.0 to support investigations

The question that had brought Using SAP Business Suite 7.0 for Public Security? to a close, intended to implant a lingering thought in your minds like: “What does an police investigation have to do with CRM?”   


Introduction: analyzing the use of SAP Business Suite 7.0 to support investigations

In the previous blog you saw that modern police investigations now with Intelligence Led Policing go beyond the traditional handling suspects, implying a shift in the way a police force manages crime. This means they require flexibility in the way of doing work, but every team or department cannot be allowed their own IT stack. The primary Process must be based on a common platform. At the European Police Congress in Berlin, 2008, I dived into this question as well. The platform must unite processes and allow external add-ons in a WEB 2.0 integration style.

We see a shift in processes to be able to externalize information, collaboration and events. By truly connecting to the outside world, fixed, predefined business transactions become ongoing relationships with colleagues and partners – all engaged in a continual cycle of sharing, learning, collaboration and co-creation of cases, ideas and knowledge. It is a true example of WEB 2.0 as detectives must base their actions on a ‘common operational picture’. That makes it possible to quickly respond to situations, opportunities and events. Sean O’Brien elaborates on this in his blog SAP Reference Model For Transforming Public Security, as he mentions that public security organizations  are looking to implement transformational programmes for the achievement of improved levels of security and operational performance, based on a framework that provides mobility, accessibility, security and interoperability.

We have seen that seen that same cry for openness flexibility as each market facing sales organization want their own ‘thing’.

In the following section  I will dive deeper into the requirements of modern investigations and subsequently review the fit of the new solution, Investigative Case Management, based on Business Suite 7.0.


Investigative Case Management (ICM) needs an ultimate flexible platform


Capgemini supports many police forces and agencies internationally in setting up their new operations platforms and changing their organizations. All differ greatly in their task, mandate, methods, tactics, national regulations, do’s and don’t’s.  But still on a meta-level, there are quite a lot of commonalities. Let’s have a look at the shop floor.


Investigations must be looked upon as configurable and in part as repetitive. The requirements are fuzzy at first sight, and often quite contrary to the traditional CRM we see in sales or service departments – but there are similarities:


  • Manage the case activities in any way you like, but still track them and assign resources and fulfillment obligations. Each team or task might have their own steps in an investigation. Comparably, in a sales department we will see preferences on the way to approach a target; where each sales rep needs the capability to ‘do their own thing’.


  • Structure data to be able to support hypothesis – with various layers of confidence and reliability. In investigations, the whole world can be turned upside down: there might be an incident – without a known subject or suspect. Any new finding of an entity might lead to an alert – intelligence. In traditional CRM, it’s all about a customer. Any contact is profiled by Inbound Customer Marketing (ICM) to offer a targeted product. This profiling takes place on the background and on the spot. Customer intelligence.


  • Special features in cases to manage data: ICM objects created and stored in the database with geo-locations, images, alternate names and aliases, and without primary keys known yet . . . a nightmare for a database!


  • Increased integration possibilities and flexibility to receive feeds and alerts on entities in cases. In a sales process, we would like to be alerted about a contact on a black list ( a payment backlog). Here we likewise want alerts on for example suspects or involved cars – also available on blacklists and watch lists. We would like to receive alerts even.


  • Integration with Governance, Risk management and Controlling functions is needed. We need to conduct work in a proper way. Governance here means keeping track of the do’s and don’ts and is a major headache for police management. Non-compliance reaches the headlines pretty soon! Here we have a myriad of legal rulings. We see a dynamic relationship, but also one bound to many rules and regulations (compliance). The situation is aggravated because of the need to collaborate in ongoing relationships in a sort of supply chain.


  • Entities [a Singer Formerly Known as] overlap [Prince] and now all at once must remain so – Identity Resolution takes a new role here. In traditional CRM we would like to unify our contacts immediately, see them as similar identities on channels for instance.


  • Elaborate Role/Access Management and hiding of entities. In an investigation, there is need for covert actions. This might relate to the type of case, but restricting insight in the case strategy and actions might also be required by law. This means that the traditional rather open data-structures needs to be enhanced with enhanced role-based access to data beyond that provided by CUA and IM.

For such reasons, just having a static ERP-like case management solution in standard CRM and a traditional Public Security Industry Solution do not fit. Our clients require more flexibility, that only a new platform could provide. For that reason the capabilities that SAP CRM 7.0 provided, showed the way out of the often counter-intuitive requirements. The above list of capabilities have been integrated in Investigative Case Management (ICM) case even though similar functions in CRM case are often implemented differently.

As a member of the Business Process community, you will have found some common ground here. Execution of investigations, whether in the police arena – or even in fighting fraud at an insurance agency – is moving to a similar integrated way of working as modern commercial organizations. And hence will benefit from integrated business platforms.


Special features for ICM that are now possible in SAP Business Suite 7.0

There is quite a challenge. Can we face this with ease?


The new Investigative Case Management solution of SAP (ICM) has several standard business scenario’s: an Identity Management and Resolution scenario (role and type determination); a Criminal Investigation Processing and Operations scenario (instigation and investigations); and an Operations and Resource Management scenario (for major crimes). It seems the new module must fit many markets. The question is, if it is flexible enough to do just that.


With SAP Business Suite 7.0, many new functionalities can be provided to an agency. SAP ICM provides support for the main elements of an investigation using standard business objects like the case, the business partner, objects and activities. All of which were already available in the previous versions of SAP CRM. Considering the context of an investigative case objects like the SAP business partner have been extended to register physical descriptions as well as alternate identities. This means that the new ICM case leverages quite some new capabilities of CRM 7.0.


The big differences of ICM in the new SAP Business Suite 7.0 are not found in just a few additional fields. The most important new features in SAP ICM are to be found in the basic concept of a new process support, case flexibility, locations registration, relations and reliability, graphics, dynamic authorizations and cross entity search functionality.


Some highlights of SAP ICM:


  • A case now has many flavors: an investigation can be created in various formats, such as incidents, leads, activities and cases;  and attributes can be extended easily. Cases can be combined and grouped – or divided – as the investigation evolves.


  • Locations are no longer restricted to addresses,  images can be added and integration with a maps system is now possible. This means we can now register a crime scene in the northwest corner of a park, add photo’s, and pinpoint the location on a map. All of which is conveniently arranged in the WEB-UI. 


  • Relations between objects have been extended to register time-dependencies and the reliability of both the information and the source.  So when we would like to register a “was seen at” relation between for instance a car and a location, we can easily classify the difference between the car being captured on a security camera or the sighting of an eye-witness.


  • The flexible manner of relating business objects to each other in combination with the ability to execute elaborate cross entity searches results in a system that supports both the flexibility and the survey ability needed in investigative case processing.


  • Cross-entity search functionality allows for elaborate views like, for instance, an overview of cases based on a particular type of incident, on a particular location, involving a certain (group of) individual(s) within an certain time period.


  • SAP Business Objects is directly integrated into the case to allow visualization, text mining and integrated searches. Objects can be accessed by alternative names and aliases; there are also facilities for entity identity-resolution in the pipe-line.


  • Functionality of the Access Control Engine (ACE) is now a standard feature. This means that dynamic and content-based authorization for specific objects (data) is possible out-of-the-box. In this way, the new ICM system supports a “need to know” method of information protection without the additional customizing and ABAP-work that developing of the ACE function normally requires.


  • There is standard integration with analysis and visualization tools coming. SAP acquired the leading analysis tool Inxight and integration is an important step on the roadmap. This provides taxonomy-based search functionality and star-diagrams.


  • Yes, we can talk ERP: collaboration using tasks and activities (like forensic research) can be transmitted to external parties and tracked on their fulfillment; while the business process platform is of course the ideal environment to track allocated and deployed resources and settle the costs against budgets.


  • And finally, SAP ICM is designed to collaborate with SAP DFPS (Defense Forces & Public Security) and cProjects allowing important functionality concerning planning and resource management to be fully integrated: the utmost of flexibility is in the hands of the police force and investigation department or agency. Teams and individual detectives can create their own lists of activities and preferred ways of working. These can be copied and changed. In this way it is possible to close the loop between strategy and execution.


We see that the new Investigative Case Management (ICM) has quite an array of unusual tricks to provide solutions to the many and varied tasks that arise in public security. It is in no way a small feat that has been established – and it is the quality of the new platform of the Business Suite 7.0 that is the big enabler here.

But just a solid but flexible platform to implement ICM is not enough. In the next blog (the third in the sequence of three) I will elaborate on the extra ingredients for success.


Albert Kuiper, Public Security, Capgemini The Netherlands

My collegues Arend Saaltink and Frank van Grevenstein  have been part of the team that formulated the fit of ICM to the business drivers.

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