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What are the biggest challenges facing case management right now?

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What are the biggest challenges facing case management right now?

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  • (1) A coherent roadmap for the future.

    After Dynamic Case/ Adaptive Case (for a start, a common name would help the cause!) what is there for organisations to adopt ?

    (2) Cost of adoption

    The more dynamic the platform, the more costly the solution. Ergo businesses stick with simple BPMS and workflow solutions.

    (3) How to convince and educate organisations steeped in BPM and traditional methods of process capture to think about unstructured and loosely coupled processes. Sometimes it's quite a hard leap without reverting to a sales pitch for a technical solution.

    (4) Smoke and mirrors

    Let's face it, sometimes there isn't a need for it, and to make it happen you're still drawing process maps....where's the dynamism in that ?!

    (5) Integration

    For all it's adaptive capabilities, you're still stuck with interfacing with rigid legacy solutions. At what point do you stop being a BPM/ Case solution and turn into an application development platform ?

  • The biggest challenges for case management are those it has had for the last 15 years:

    1) there is not a consistent industry model for what Case Management is and the use cases it can address

    2) it is one of those technologies that can solve every business problem out there, making software salesmen chase every bright shiny opportunity and eventually sell nothing

    3) nobody outside of the vendors really understands what it Case Management is, making it hard for business leaders to pitch to the CIO (related to #1)

    The name has changed. The challenges remain the same.

    Shame, because it is a great, fast and flexible way of solving a vast array of business problems that need less technology and more user-focused solutions.

  • What I always (and still) think is crazy that Case Management most of the time is brought like the solution for 'agility', 'flexible' and those kind of buzz words.

    And then vendors come up with a software thing to support that. Strange, because what is more flexible then no software?

    To me windows explorer is the best Case management tool in the world.

    Why? Because the focus must not be on software or flexibility on forehand. Focus must be on the case! It's the case that you want to support (maybe that's why it called casemanagement...).

    And (excuse me if I'm wrong) I see a case as 'helping a customer with a wish or problem' .

    Example that I always use is Emiel going to the doctor with a headache. Then (and there we are...) DEPENDING ON MY CASE, things will happen.

    Upfront it might not be clear yet what treatment I need. This is discovered 'during the trip'.

    Maybe I need surgery, maybe an aspirine is ok. It's all depending on my case. So finally a case might be build up out of several processes that are executed for my case.

    But the most important thing is that everyone can find the information about my case to base decisions and treatment on. And why not store that on a netwerk drive in windows explorer ;-)

    This is just my vision on case management and maybe that's the problem. Depending on your background you might have complete different expectations from casemanagement. Let us hear!

  • Simply put "Scientific Management" is the biggest challenge to case management.


    Scientific management is based on the Enlightenment idea that all interactions (business or otherwise) are based on a few simple internal rules. Uncover those rules, and you can make a solid plan based it, and follow through. All deviation from this plan is a mistake or an error. It you can't follow the plan, it is because you did not plan well enough. Next time, you need to work harder on developing the plan.

    The idea that systems have an inherent complexity that can not be reduced to a few simple rules is antithetical to scientific management. We all grew up learning scientific management, and we BELIEVE it. Especially the IT department which is attempting to isolate the automate those pieces of the process. These beliefs run deep, and to suggest that you should NOT plan ahead is a good way to get kicked out of any job.

    To succeed in case management, we need to gain a basic understanding of complexity theory and an appreciation of Strategic Management. In the past strategic management was confined to the upper reaches of an organization, but this is increasingly required at lower levels, and ultimately will be predominant in all organizations.


    Until this happens, the IT departments will continue to try to structure systems to work according to patterns based on simplified rules of interaction. We need to collectively let go of that concept, and embrace the idea that work requires real intelligence, and that professionals bring that intelligence to the job. Let them use it.

  • I will very respectfully say what I need to say. I know that we are not even yet in the hype cycle of an ACM like approach. But you will find that everyone, whether it is the analysts, consultants such as McKinsey and Deloitte, and even the BPM vendors are now promoting the core aspects of ACM.

    I think naming and acronyms are the least problems. The problem are the people who ask for them. The biggest challenge is the attitudes and lack of understanding expressed in the previous answers - except Keith's obviously. It is those limited mindsets of 'experts' both in IT and business who have stopped learning and thinking.

    BPMS and hardcoded applications are unable to encode knowledge and therefore can't be used to run a business - regardless at which level in the hierarchy. Yes, there is a benefit in guiding and structuring some aspects of the work and yes, some of that is doable by flow-diagrams. I wish we could do without them, which is entirely possible, but with all the BPM brainwashing it has become kind of the only thing that people can imagine. So they are here to stay as will the principle idea of calling a list of activities targeting an outcome a process or case.

    Business processes should represent business knowledge and therefore Peter Drucker’s following warning applies:

    “Knowledge is different from all other resources. It makes itself constantly obsolete, so that today’s advanced knowledge is tomorrow’s ignorance.”

    So the key is to provide everyone with the collaborative means to understand which objectives, goals, targets and customer outcomes to pursue, constrained by which rules.

    Internet or Windows Explorer, MS-Office, Email, Sharepoint as well as Social Media do not represent processes without substantial hard-coding. Even just Cloud-storing stuff someplace without guidance and security is not a process, but it is the pain of IT today. In what way would these means be able to represent processes in terms of goals, targets and outcomes.

    It is nonsense to say that no one outside the vendors understands ACM. I find a lot of agreement when I finally get to speak to the business people. It is IT management that says: 'But we have already invested in BPM, ECM, CRM, ...'
    They even agree that they can't hardwire these systems together to get to a System of Engagement. Plus they are asked to cut IT cost rather then expand ... Plus they are being sold that Cloud, Big-Data and Predictive Analytics will solve all their process woes ...

    Yes, I am often told that my approach is ten years ahead of the curve but I am pretty sure that without the change, many businesses and maybe even our current economy won't last without change. You will like the crash the current rigid IT and management thinking cause even less!

    Look, it does not matter what anyone thinks ... the change has already started and Social and Mobile will kill orthodox process one way or the other. Redefinition will save the ambiguous term BPM and everyone will be happy.

  • While I would never try to imagine that I have anything to add further than Max and his insightful answer, I too find that while Case Management is understood and quite frankly, often easier to understand than BPM, it does have a certain connotation as being legal or Healthcare related. So it can be difficult to get people out of their pre-conceived mindset surround ACM, but this is by ni means the most biggest challenge facing it, just my opinion.

    Agree with Theo's first point, there needs to be a common theme and clear roadmap for the future and similarly, Phil's "there is not a consistent industry model for what Case Management is and the use cases it can address" and I think this is currently a large challenge but one that can be easily overcome (note I said can, not necessarily will). Keith's answer challenged myself with considering a point that I had not before, so I will look further into that.

    The biggest challenge I believe is that ACM is late to the game when BPM has been around for so long, and there is still resistance to adopt the principle of business process management. Now a 'new' idea has been introduced and will just further muddy the waters for those that don't spend 24/7 (like most of us) entrenched in this 'industry'. It will become less clear and increasingly confusing for those looking for a solution, creating greater uncertainty and possibly a greater resistance to choosing a solution that to a business problem. So, my frame of thought s more so surrounding the issue of introducing yet another choice to this overly complex field of BPM/ECM/DCM/ACM etc, as in the paradox of choice as told by Barry Schwartz http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice.html

  • Enjoy all in-depth comments and resources above, I will add, the biggest challenges for DCM/ACM are also based on the biggest challenges facing in BPM discipline as a whole, it's about expanding its own horizon into broader vision: not just about micro-business process automation, also about business process effectiveness (does this process do the right thing), optimization (any better way to do the things), innovation (outside-in view or out of box solution), governance (the process to manage process), or even macro-process re-tunning to involve ecosystem.

    Folks pointed out the scientific management of ACM, today's business dynamic may also encourage business think the art part of BPM: the creativity, aesthetics, the "heart" of business, as case management, like business culture for change management, or the brand for the "character" of business .

    Beyond revisiting Newton, we may also need review more quote from Einstein, Da Vinci or Emily Dickinson., thanks.

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