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In terms of case management, what is a case?

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Sandy Kemsley did some excellent coverage of Gartner's BPM 2011 conference, and in this post, The Great Case Management Debate, she wrote that Kimberly Harris-Ferrante (insurance vertical) said that we need to first create industry-specific definitions or examples of what a case is, then this definition can be presented in that context in order to make sense.  So in terms of case management, was is a case?

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    For a start, here is my definition -
    A case is a query, request, issue or complaint process initiated by a customer (internal or external; human or system) that needs to be tracked to closure through a combination of pre-defined and adhoc steps. This typically involves many manual activities spread across multiple LOBs that could be performed over a long duration of time (typically days, weeks, or longer).

  • A business view into both structured and unstructured data.

  • Here is some related text from the glossary of the forthcoming Workflow Management Coalition Handbook on Social BPM (http://www.futstrat.com/books/handbook11.php):

    "[A Case is] the name given to the specific situation, set of circumstances, or initiative that requires a set of actions to achieve an acceptable outcome or objective. Each case has a subject that is the focus of the actions—such as a person, a lawsuit, or an insurance claim—and is driven by the evolving circumstances of the subject"

    "[Case Management] differs from business process management (BPM) and from human interaction management (HIM) in that the case information is the focus and the thing around which the other artifacts are organized [as opposed to the workflow as in BPM, or the goals, responsibilities and associated knowledge as in HIM]. And it is the case information that persists for the long term."

  • In business friendly terms, a "case" represents a business entity to be managed over time. For example, an employee, a loan, a policy, a complaint, or anything else which you might need to track the lifecycle of.

    The business entity generally has data describing it (social security number, account number, product type, etc.). It will also likely have documents that support its existence or from which data is initially pulled (application forms, appraisal documents, identifying documents). The case may have work to be done (verification of identification, setup in an HR system), or an overall lifecycle through which is proceeds (a business process to open an account, underwrite a loan, hire a new employee).

    And because the case represents a long term relationship in many scenarios, the case will have a history of what changed over time and why.

    There are obviously many more facets to what makes up a case, however this is a starting point.

  • I would say a Case is a historic context of some kind. The case context reflects its history – shaped by information, tasks, milestones, discussions, events, behaviors, policies/rules, and processes. So a case can contain other cases, may have many different processes and lots of different artifacts. The point is that the case unfolds and is not entirely predictable in advance.

    - Derek Miers is a principal analyst at Forrester Research. He will be speaking at Forrester's IT Forum, May 25-27, 2011 in Las Vegas

  • Here's how I define case management:

    A highly structured, but also collaborative, dynamic, and information-intensive process that is driven by outside events and requires incremental and progressive responses from the business domain handling the case. Examples of case folders include a patient record, a lawsuit, an insurance claim, or a contract, and the case folder would include all the documents, data, collaboration artifacts, policies, rules, analytics, and other information needed to process and manage the case.

    - Craig Le Clair is a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. He will be speaking at Forrester's IT Forum, May 25-27, 2011 in Las Vegas.

  • A case is the recorded connection between a business and its customers containing all the related data, documents, communication, and other resources and artifacts. Ideally the view of it should be transparent from both ends and that is what social networks could enforce.

  • Actual coordination of activities (to create a particular result) which uses a mixture of different coordination techniques such as process-based, event-based, data-based, rule-based, role-based, etc.


  • My view is that a case is a related set of work to be done, or information to be gathered in order to get work done. This is why cases can be used for support, work-orders, driver's license applications (or any application process for that matter).

    Bill Roth

  • Case work is done mainly through interactions between human participants
    - Collaboration
    - Negotiation

    Content is an integral part of the work, it is both consumed and produced as part of executing a case

    The participants control the case work, and change it on a case-by-case basis
    - Flow changes
    - Participant changes
    - Activity changes

    Every case has an owner

    Every case has a goal, deadline and a defined work product

    Jacob Ukelson - CTO ActionBase

  • What about:

    A case is a social object (construct), supporting human communication and collaboration, and representing an evolving or ended story from trigger to a certain result, binding together people, activities, events, decisions, messages and information. The object enables people to complete and manage the story in terms of time, quality and compliance.

  • The term CASE means what you make it to be. It refers to an arbitrary pointer to a number of objects that can be used to proivde a common context.

    Keith Harrison-Broninski's choices are as valid as any other. Ask the question what is a 'process' and you will get a similar spread of opinions.

    In the most generic sense it refers to activities of a group of people that has a start and an end. In difference to the common definition of a 'process' what happens in between is not defined. Both should however have some kind of goal(s) but even those can change.

    What it does or is used for is what the environment (which may be non-IT) of the case definition allows and not what anyone here believes.

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