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Does case management require effective process management?

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An interesting point that John Tesmer brings up on this discussion between case management and BPM in 2012, does effective case management require effective process management?

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  • "I personally believe that you can't have case management without effective process management." - John Tesmer

    Couldn't agree more. To get to the point where case management is effective, there needs to be a baseline for how work is "chunked" in the organization. If you start with nothing, case management has no realistic boundaries and ends up being entropy. It IS about the subprocesses (chunks) that we all agree on so that how those subprocesses are assembled is true to the mission and culture.

    There was a discussion of this at PEX Week in Orlando, and this was the consensus opinion around the room.

  • The question is a little ambiguous. What is 'effective process management?' BPM as the governance bureaucracy? ACM is much more 'effective' as process management than 'BPM' because process innovation is embedded and not external.

    One does not need BPM flowcharts to do case or process management and depending on the other systems in place they may not be needed at all.

    For me ACM embeds structured processes, but that doesn't mean they have to be flow-charted. For some 20% of processes flowcharts may be usable and yes, some of that may be practical as sub-processes in ACM. But a requirement, NO.

    What is more important and may or may not be a part of BPM (the approach not the software) is the definition of a business architecture for ACM with business, data and service models. Why does no one ask for that?

    I am further utterly surprised that no one requests that ECM (inbound and outbound) content management is part or a prerequisite of ACM, because you can do it without flowcharts, but not without content. You also can't do BPM without content, BTW.

    ACM is the future of process management and BPM is not a prerequisite but much rather a legacy because it means that the business won't break with old bureaucratic habits. But as BPM is now being redefined as encompassing everything, that discussion is fairly irrelevant.

  • Max, calling BPM a "governance bueracracy" is like callint the internet a "tin can telephone." BPM is so much more than that. I think you agree, based on your last statement. It's nice to see we agree on as much as we do: "ACM embeds structured processes", and "what is more important ... is the definition of a business architecture".

    It's also nice to see you rallying for integrated content managemenet and process management. We see overlap between traditional process documentation activities and knowledge management (nee, content management) activities. Imagine being responsible for a process that includes an acknowledged case management component, but not being given tools to find the knowledge and content that were created in previous instances. You're literally recreating the wheel each and every time you execute the case.

    I do disagree with you about BPM not being a prerequisite for ACM. If you don't have a stable of repeatable consistent sub-processes, how can you garner any efficiencies from ACM?

    I also disagree with you that ACM is _the_ future of procss management. It's statements like that which cause us to have to redefine terms every 5 years. It's better to say that process management will benefit from ACM; not all processes will benefit from ACM, so therefore process management will still manage some processes that are not case-based.

  • Here's where Max and I diverge (but not in a flowcharty sort of way—that would just be wrong). ACM is interesting, and BPM enhances the ACM value proposition. But "the future of process management"? Nah. ACM may be a great hammer, but not every process is a nail.

    PS: FWIW, BPMflowcharts. But that's a discussion for a different day. :)

  • I lot of people think they know what "effective process management" is, but are mistaken.

    Can you play (American) football without effective process management? Can you play soccer without effective process management? Of course not: managing the process of what is happening, what people are doing, makes the difference between winning an losing the game.

    Can you climb Yosimite's El Capitan cliff without effective process management? Of course not.

    Can you respond to a highway accident medical emergency without effective process management? Certainly not if you are to be effective in saving lives.

    Some people think that "process management" is the art of drawing process diagrams ahead of time. It can be, but only IF the process is predictable and repeatable, and only if the number of repetitions will pay for the cost of the original diagram. The idea that a process is well managed simply because mass production techniques have been used, is a myth.

    In the examples above, the process must be managed WHILE the process is under way. It is not a question of whether the process needs to be managed, it is a question of WHEN the process is managed, and by WHOM.


    So I think we all agree that "effective process management" is key to any undertaking. But DON'T assume that this has anything to do with drawing a flowchart. The trend will be to move more to a case management mode where the planning is done while you do the work. This is not entropy, this is knowledge work.

    Finally, one last thought about the future: Is it better to manufacture a good with a factory, or a 3-D printer? Factories are planned ahead of time to produce very repeatable high quality products. A 3-D printer, however, can produce a different product each time -- it does not need a huge investment ahead of time which fixes a particular process. Today, 3-D printers don't compete against factories except when you need a highly specialized, one-off product. BUT 3-D printers are getting better and better. Can't we say that 3-D printers are the "future" of manufacturing in some very significant sense?

  • Case management quite simply requires effective process management to be successful. As Keith discussed for any undertakings process management is key to success and improvement.

    The difference is how this is defined by the business. At Blueprint HQ most of our clients handle insurance claims as building contractors or asbestos removal specialists. They have agreed service level agreements in place with their network scheme or insurer client, each of these SLA's are similar but not exactly the same, some are not even insurance related works.

    In addition to this our clients view their effectiveness and USP's from different points, most have won awards so their different approaches reflect the people within the business. These approaches add variations to each process again. The effective process management approach they are each using is to use the benefit of their own USP's while adhering to each services separate SLA's and to be able to monitor each collectively over time, making changes where necessary.

    To summarise, effective case process management is not always getting one process to fit but rather to allow for client and business variations while maintaining simple and straightforward case management. But again, case management requires effective process management if it is to be successfully monitored, improved and adapted.

  • I agree with the general sentiment expressed so far: case management embeds structured processes and so effective process management is a key ingredient for ACM. As Scott mentions "BPM enhances the ACM value proposition".

    I would like to point out that I have seen operations that run on a case management basis that at first glance would appear to be ideal candidates for ACM solutions. A deeper look, however, often shows that a more structured process can be achieved by reorganizing how the work is performed. So, I think you have to look very carefully for any and all elements of, and opportunities for, repeatable structured processes before laying down the ACM hammer. Sometimes what looks like a duck and quacks like a duck isn't really a duck.

  • Yes. Keep in mind the main benefit of CM is capturing the data associated with the process. In order to have data integrity the process has to be managed effectively – reviewing the collection of activities tied to the process and monitoring the performance of the process. This should involve the knowledge, tools, systems and techniques used in defining, visualizing, measuring and controlling the process.

  • An intelligent Case Management application creates flexible processes to manage unstructured and ad-hoc actions.

    The Case Management applications built on a BPM platform are adaptive, making handling of unstructured and unprecedented occurrences withing business activities easy.

    So, effective case management requires effective business process management.

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