It probably is. I think case management is what every organization does. Bringing cases to a good end. And that's done by implementing, executing and managing a process that fits for each type of case.
Delivering an insurance is another type of case than replacing a hearth valve. It needs another way of working, other people, other information another way of managing etc.
In general every process is the same, but the cool thing is that companies don't do things in general. The cases they serve might be very different.
So case management misunderstood? Do you think your customers care as long as you do what you promised them?
Both Business Process Management (BPM) and Case Management solutions entail workflow-driven activities, business rules, forms, data models, document handling, and system integration. They can also use the same infrastructure and overall architecture. As a result, there is some confusion in the marketplace about which product to use and when to streamline and automate specific processes.
Below I try to define each:
The overarching objective of BPM is to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness. Organizations use BPM Suites to build composite applications that streamline and automate targeted human and system-driven work. Activities are generally defined, but may include ad-hoc interactions and/or dynamic collaboration. Applications combine business rules (e.g., policies, procedures, roles, responsibilities, routing, escalations, deadlines, SLAs), forms (e.g., layouts, data capture, data validations, dynamic questions), data models, content handling, data repositories, system integration, and user interfaces to enable user access and system administration. They also provide visibility into all work-related objects (i.e., activities, data, documents, responses, correspondence) to enable ongoing process improvement, change management, and compliance. Core reasons to use BPM are to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness, which should result in reducing costs while improving costs.
The overarching objective of Case Management is to better organize work (i.e., actions, decisions) and associated content (i.e., data, documents, correspondence) to successfully complete a specific business outcome (i.e., settlement in legal investigation, response to service request, payment to claim). Work efficiency and effectiveness are secondary to making the right decision. Work activities are more context-driven. They range from highly defined to completely dynamic based who is asking, why are they asking it, what are they asking for, who can make a decision, and what materials are needed to make the decision. Rules may often change due to new regulation (e.g., tax codes) and market fluctuations (e.g., interest rates). As a result, relationships among work objectives evolve more over time. Work activities may have many discrete options and require intense collaboration. Like BPM, Case Management applications provide visibility into group work and associated content. Content may need to be changed/edited as decisions are made.
Leveraging BPM Suites for Case Management
If you have a BPM Suite, you can use it to design and build both BPM and Case Management applications if it supports both structured (highly defined) and dynamic (unstructured, non-routine, unexpected, situational) work interactions, the attachment of various content types (i.e., structured data such as name and date of birth, unstructured data such as scanned documents and video files), and commentary/collaboration amongst users. Often BPM Suites need to be integrated with EDMS to support version control of documents.
Ever notice how much this community likes to argue about definitions? Thus my comment on Scott's query. ;)
True story, was a contributing party to the IEEE 1616 specification committee for "motor vehicle event data recorders" back in the early 2000's. Half the room was regulators from the beltway - NTSB and NHTSA, half the room were representatives for all the automobile manufacturers, Detroit and abroad both. All the representatives for the automobile manufacturers? Barristers. The room and its two dozen occupants spent two days arguing about the definition of the word "event."
What's my point? I'm with Emiel. The client cares not one whit as long as they get the solution they need that satisfies the requirements they define.
Just my tuppence.
The single biggest issue I encounter (almost on a daily base) with implementing Case Management (as important part of the proposition our company) is non-readiness. With this I mean that companies who like to embrace new technology (e.g., adaptive case management) whereas you witness still employees walking around with paperbased archives... If you get my drift...
I don’t think it does mean that Case Management is widely misunderstood from a proposition point of view. Way back in 2003 H. Reijers, J. Rigter, and W.M.P. van der Aalst already published an excellent article in the International Journal of Cooperative Information Systems, 12(3):365-391 (see: http://wwwis.win.tue.nl/~wvdaalst/publications/p212.pdf), that discusses the differences amongst Case Management, Workflow (production and ad-hoc) and even groupware. So, from a proposition point of view I think it’s pretty clear. However: From an implementation point of view it’s not.
Therefore I always propose to check the fundaments and culture of an organisation – especially from a digital point of view – in order to avoid disappointments or false expectations. And if they’re not ready, supply a roadmap.
I believe that there is something which is more basic than classic BPM and ACM -- coordination of work, thus classic BPM is strong coordination and ACM is weak coordination. Ideally, the users should be able switching between different level of coordination (like with the gear box) without buying another tool with different terminology.
Having commonly-agreed understanding which unifies BPM and ACM, our community can progress to
1) common coordination patterns and coordination constructs
2) better standards (actually, a coherent set of standards)
3) interoperated tools
Business does not see their "case management" as "case management", they see it as what it actually does e.g. Claims management, Grant management, Customer management etc. What they all do is deliver on all supporting requirements so is case management not vendor driven term selling such capabilities as a rebuilt application? Any misunderstanding is self imposed by marketing hype?
Businesses are getting smarter they want vendors to talk their language and broadly understand how the end to end requirements will be delivered. Case management may be a generic starting point but the resultant solution should be called what it actually does.
Well, I know *I'm* confused, but nothing new there. Customers are confused, because vendors keep trying to convince them that only BPM can solve their problem, or only a case management solution can solve it. It turns out the borders aren't nearly that well defined. Our messaging in the vendor community should address the details of the customer's problem, not the details of our implementation choices.
Well, I agree with Scott.I'm not sure whether Case Management is widely misunderstood or even BPM as we have discussed here a lot. What I think is that people tend to think that each concept or tool (specially software vendors) is to solve all problems per si, and normally it just contributes for misunderstandings. As example,recently I faced a case where a company was implementing a Customer Experience solution, based on designing the customer journeys as start to design new internal processes to ensure the complete alignement (zero base approach), as if there were no company story or culture. The result was a very big financial investment without measurable business benefits.
Coming back to Case Management, a company without significant variations in their processes, really needs a system to manage dynamic processes?
So, in order to avoid bad experiences like this, thekey points can beas following:
1)firstunderstand the organizations as a whole, and how to articulate their main parts;
2) second, understand the real business problems and what parts are being affected;
3) third, find a concrete solution based onmanagement methods and tools available in the market, allways looking for business benefits.
Underwriting is one of the most popular examples of "case management", however the technology or the business pattern is defined.
So, what then is the future of "underwriting", according to research on automation?
The answer to this question is relevant to our discussion here on the topic of case management. Because right now we mostly sell services and software in support of "traditional" case management needs (i.e. underwriting etc.). In the future there will still be case management and business process, but the role of human beings may be diminishing. Thus the scope of case management as technology and business pattern will evolve, if you believe the predictions.
The article references an Oxford University paper:
Also note in this context note that RPA (robotic process automation) is one of the hottest topics in the BPO (business process outsourcing) world:
The question of automation-driven unemployment is a huge question, not really in scope here though.
But the adoption and power of BPM and case management software and services can only increase. Having a good definition of case management is helpful; you can't grow what you can't define.