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If case management is the answer, what is the question?

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Saw this asked about BPM, and thought it might make an interesting discussion on case management, so, If case management is the answer, what is the question?

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  • user-pic

    What's the killer application for BPM?

  • Hi Peter,

    Here are three to start things off -

    How do I deal with processes where the scope and sequence of required work are uncertain?

    How do I give people in my organization the latitude to flexibly optimize their work to meet organizational goals without binding them procedurally?

    How do I enable people to react to events, solve problems and innovate to support customers while providing transparency to activity and results?


  • How to document customers' problem, history, interactions, corrective actions and feedback, resolution state... to serve the customer and various internal stakeholders concerned.

  • Any question that Max Pulcher is asked?

    ....puts on hard hat and cowers...... [8-\

    • LOL ... thanks, Ian. But no. It is missing the Adaptive in front.

      I am not much interested in orthodox case management and neither in orthodox BPM. And I am asked a lot more things than about that either ... I actually have a real life beyond ACM!

  • "What's a lovely little use case for BPM that's great if you happen to be a social worker or insurance agent?"

    Well, OK, I do think that CM has broader application than that. But case management is a specific application of BPM, not its evolutionary destiny. Yes, by prefixing the name with various vowels ("ACM", etc.), analysts are doing their usual yeoman job expanding the term so broadly that it ceases to have any real meaning. The rest of us, though, are better off making clearer distinctions between case management, ad hoc processes, and other types of BPM applications.

  • Custom built solution for dynamic business process scenarios.

  • user-pic

    I agree that there is absolute need for visibility in case management. I also think that it can be used too often as a cop-out. "it's too hard", "we need flexibility and don't want structure", "'I want to be able to do anything I want". I hear this all the time. In some situations it's very true. Forget orchestration and focus on outcome monitoring along the way. Problem is, that too goes out the window. If we can hide one thing, why not hide it all.

  • The question is....

    How do you enhance the effectiveness of an organization, when the people in that organization are highly trained professionals that think on their feet. These knowledge workers do not do the same thing every time, instead they do the appropriate thing for the situation. They readily achieve goals, but they are not following a simple, predefined pattern. They figure out what they do, as they do it.

    If you have people like that in your organization, then you need case management.

  • I was with Gartner last week and their perspective on case management is interesting. They see true case management as ad-hoc processes i.e. process which is not sequential, but parallel, branched and the sequence cannot be predicted, like a criminal investigation or a car accident claim.

    This feels a pretty advanced view of case management, when most customer service organisations would simply love to have one consistent view of a case and there is a mechanism for assigning the work to different people - quickly, simply and easily

  • The question is about what goals an organization wants to achieve in terms of customer outcomes, i.e. effectiveness perceived from the customer's angle. It has been rightly observed that this not a straightforward task and while it is necessary to have a consistent view of the case at hand it's not feasible to just change attributes like an assignment to bring it to fruition. To put it another way: do you believe in simplistic solutions for complex problems?

  • Here's *a* question that I think works:
    How can you improve the way that work gets done when the traditional approach - which revolves primarily around formalising a prescribed work method (you can call this a "process" if you like) and then making sure people execute the method consistently - isn't appropriate?

  • I didn't have much time to define my final opinion on this, but I am sure you are all wrong.

    The question is:

    What starts with a 'c' and ends with a 't'

    That's definitely case management.

    Have a nice day,


  • user-pic

    Case management appears when we are not ready to handle a change in the execution context, i.e. we do not have a process prepared for this situation.

    Gartner is well-known for its hammer-like style; in this case, if we talk about business, then everything is a process. It is silly if not stupid.

    Saying "ad-hoc processes i.e. process which is not sequential, but parallel, branched and the sequence cannot be predicted, like a criminal investigation or a car accident claim" is the same as "fat-free butter" or "meatless chicken".

    Process is an organisation of logical steps and this is the only distinguisher of it from other organisations. An ad-hoc process is oxymoron; if sequence of steps cannot be predicted, it is not a process. Very simple.

    There are no such things as an ad-hoc process but there is an ad-hoc action(s); there are no such things as an unstructured process but there is an unstructured set of action(s).

    To figure out what is what, read the article "Purpose Case Management", published in InfoQ on 18.04.12.

    • Michael, professionally I disagree with your comment “An ad-hoc process is oxymoron; if sequence of steps cannot be predicted, it is not a process."

      Customer calls to change their mailing address, however the change is temporary for one month, then another change will need to be added at the end of that month and that change is to a foreign address that requires more fields than what the application currently supports. The App allows for only two addresses, the current and 1 new, there is no way to flag that addy to cancel out by date. Now the Agent has rules to follow in updating CX information, but in this case he has to get creative to capture this unexpected information for this valued customer; possibly using note pad within the application, or opening another page or doing some linking (what a drag). This is an ad-hoc process or unpredicted process for capturing customer information– it is not routine but still falls within the rules for information management. All this to say that processes cannot always be predicted, life and business are not predictable and however one reaches the goal requires a sequence of actions - processes.

  • As an organization are we thinking on terms of collaboration and driving for a higher degree of customer engagement via channels the customer wants to use?

    Case Management is an approach to improving how work is done. IT is both methodology and technology. Processes have to be defined, understood and made efficient. Management must be adroit to acknowledge that not all knowledge workers work the same, understand how each worker works, what are the application expectations, what the user requires of the application, who it is, what do they do, what are the pain points; taking on an historical analysis. Rules have to be defined for collaboration to take place in context of a Case, thus governance and controls are important.

    Recognition of social capabilities, the consumption of large amounts of data, how workers connect with one another, the different conventions used to collaborate and the ability to automate within the context of the case are very important. For those organizations that are consumer driven, providing them access to information when, where and how they want to see it is the main strengthen of CM, you see this with banks and insurance companies.

    These are just a few thinking points so to speak. Peter and I discussed CM in detail during our Podcast on Social Networking, Collaboration and CM.

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