Thursday, March 7, 2013

BPM & Case Management Exemplified

Trigger for this post has been the recent buzz about Case Management. Where does case management fit in an enterprise? Is this a new invention? - certainly not.

Successful businesses & their strategies have always been agile & unstructured - it was the information technology which was not! BPM was a technology that came much closer to business - addressing business process automation & promising agility on demand.

Technically speaking, Case Management has been around for a long time (How different was an insurance claim or loan process today than it was in the 80's?) - this time only IT trying to frame standards & techniques around it - obviously bringing along 'must-have' competitive advantages to the business such as speed, performance & visibility.

More and more businesses are unanimously voting up for a BPM initiative at their organizations. Traditional IT development/programming model doesn't stand a chance to win 'budgets' from the LOBs. This change is owing to the fact that a lot of organizations realize that all IT initiatives must equip them with "Competitive Advantage" allowing quick 'Go-To Market', better response to competition moves, align with ever-changing business strategies, visibility into key business performance indicators etc.. to name a few.

What better solution than a Business Process Management (BPM) initiative. There are plenty of BPM vendors in the market which an Organization can evaluate for a better fit.

But what is case management?

Case Management has its roots in BPM.

A business process which cannot be repeatable in all situations - and the process flow/steps purely depend on the judgement/decision of a human resource (knowledge worker). Plenty of industries/domains such as medical, healthcare, legal, financials largely depend on skilled knowledge workers (doctors, physicians, lawyers, investigator) to make decisions on a situation/scenario where there could be process flow steps that are 'unknown' at design time (unlike a BPM process where the process flow is 'rigid').

For a good case management solution the following are key requirements;

  • Dynamic Process Flow - A case worker must have the ability to determine 'next steps', create ad-hoc tasks in the process flow
  • Collaborate - Often a knowledge worker has a need to collaborate/discuss with fellow case worker(s) to effectively handle a 'case'
  • Share Artifacts - One of the important requirement. A case in most cases involve plenty of document sharing (including customer call records, agreements, contracts etc..) which must be shared/stored preferably in a digital asset management system
  • Reporting - Solution must have the ability to generate reports to track status, monitor KPIs & take actions (Very important competitive edge to any business)

Now that we understood what case management is let us ponder upon some FAQs;

What are the key differences between BPM & Case Management?
Are they complementary technologies?
Where should one use case management against BPM & vice-versa?

I will try to answer these questions through this blog post.

Key differences b/w BPM & Case Management:

BPM complementing Case Management:

Absolutely. As discussed earlier, a case management solution may comprise of several BPM processes which can be triggered from within a case to complete a certain aspect of a milestone.

From a perspective, BPM can be considered a more 'mature' state of a 'case' where all process steps are well known & defined.

Should I choose BPM / Case Management?

Answer to this question is not straight forward. A business process/scenario must be assessed before determining the choice. But, here are some simple questions - If the answer is yes for any of the below then it could be a classic 'case-management'

Do you think your business process cannot be 'repeated' under one/more situations?
Does your business process rely on users who will determine the 'rules' rather than by a system defined rule?
Do you have trouble defining process flow for 'all' scenarios?


  1. Many companies are providing BPA services now. I was searching for these services and I found many companies.

  2. Sounds like it pays to invest in quality human services software and technology. Thanks for the read!