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It's no secret that business process management (BPM) offers value to most industries by helping organizations increase productivity and reduce costs. It can also improve customer satisfaction by automating, and therefore speeding up standard processes and simplifying customer service interactions.

Business Process Management has already helped many organizations revamp a wide variety of processes and typically shows a positive return on investment. Technological evolution and competitive demands, however, are prompting a new look at BPM.

The basics of BPM -- repeatable, predictable tasks -- remain critical, but many businesses have collaborative or complex human processes that have not been automated and are in dire need of the benefits BPM promises. These processes are often manual today and therefore suffer from human errors, inefficiencies, and lack of transparency into how the business is being run.

A better way to reduce cycle times and ensure compliance is to organize the process around a case construct and to automate the capture, the information aggregation, the collaboration and the customer communications that are all present throughout the case lifecycle.

Case Management as an Organizing Principle

Dynamic case management is a pattern of work supported by technologies that can automate various aspects of each case. Case management patterns exist in every industry and span entire organizations:

Procure-to-pay tracking systems, employee administration programs, contract management, call centers, auditing, and similar processes that are the backbone of any business all use some sort of automation. By adding a virtual case folder that contains the processes, people, and information relevant to the case, human error and cycle times can be reduced and decisions are improved. Plus, it's much easier to ensure compliance where needed.

The case folder's workspace lets workers exchange information involved in research, assessment, evaluation, and resolution. Anything needed to resolve the case is included in this single, easily accessible location, minimizing the chance for poor decisions based on incomplete information.

Consider the example of off-boarding an employee when there is a disputed termination: the process can get complicated. Say that an employee is being let go for productivity reasons. The human resources (HR) representative sends a request to accounting for a final paycheck and queues questions for the exit interview. A checklist is also generated to ensure that the representative obtains company items such as keys and badges -- all typical BPM to this point.


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