1. Peter Schooff
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. Tuesday, October 07 2014, 09:47 AM
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As Max Pucher wrote here:
Adding case management to BPM does not improve what BPM does for a business as it continues to ignore essential people management aspects. It is not making the creation and innovation of work any easier.
What do you think?
Nicholas Kitson Accepted Answer
I love this question and I fundamentally disagree with Max Pucher's quote. I have never had anyone sufficiently distinguish BPM and Case Management. We have been managing cases since he old workflow days and we continue improve the workplace with BPM. Case Management for me is just a use case for BPM. Whether a case is ad hoc or dynamic are specific features that you may need to consider during design depending on the requirements.

Essentially case management is still routing, automating or elimination of unnecessary steps in a scenario such as a Complaint , mortgage application, or service request. When implemented correctly, there are significant improvements to the customer satisfaction through reduced handling time, improved management of SLA's so that you remain within legislative guidelines. Improved handling of documentation removing the need to request copies.

BPM can improve people management in a number of ways including;

Improve collaboration around cases, particularly with the improvements in social BPM.
Appropriately route work based on skills and availability.
Identify training needs based on work monitoring
Nickolas, I think it sensless critisis your statements - we sply have very different understanding of BPM and ACM. In my post, I've included a link to the article that explains both seprately and in combination.

Nevertheless, there are a few qustions to you:
1) if "BPM can improve people management", why we need "P" in it? Does't a regular business management can improve people management?
2) "Improve collaboration around cases" - what cases if "Case Management for me is just a use case for BPM"? Where have you seen a collaboration in properly designed business processes? I've seen only cperation.
3) the same as before - why you use "social BPM" instead of 'social BM'? Is it for the sake of a buzz-word?
4) What does mean "Appropriately route work based on skills and availability" with regard BPM? Do you mean poorely designed business processes? If a process worker is unavailable, the process simpdoes not work; it is not about routing. If a process worker does not have proper skills to perform assigned job, the process must be able to egge another, appropriate worker; this has nothing to do with routing.
5) "Identify training needs based on work monitoring" is a common task, not specific for BPM.

So, how BPM can "improve people management" and why this is ITS task rather than the process managment's one?
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Ian Gotts Accepted Answer
Why not. Both are ill defined concepts, so let's combine them so we have one fewer.
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Ken Schwarz Accepted Answer
Our experience is that Case Management and BPM do fit together well, and although I would disagree with the quoted passage, I think that Max's blog gets at important essentials about how people meaningfully get work done using systems.

CM sets the high-level context for process execution--whether automated or ad hoc--with work goals, work stages, and relevant data. Reaching those goals (moving through stages by working with data and other resources) will depend on a mix of automation and ad hoc action. The mix will vary from one implementation to the next, but usually we find that there are tremendous opportunities to improve productivity and quality through the automation of what can and should be automated through business rules and analytics. And, when people do ad hoc work, the system should make it as easy as possible, by automatically getting for them the data they need, giving them tools to help make good decisions, and facilitate collaboration with others in the process. In this way, people are freed from doing routine stuff and supported to do the work that requires judgement and benefits from innovation. I think that this is a big part of what Max means when he talks about "essential people management."

There's also the business design aspect as well. Historically, BPM set out to orchestrate transactions and human tasks using simple diagrams, but in practice, process models got too complicated. As my colleague, Don Schuerman, wrote in his blog "From Transactions to Process to Case", "Once a process expands to contain the richness of the customer context and lifecycle, it becomes unwieldy and the business visibility disappears." A major benefit of CM is that it works at the level of detail that business people find meaningful, and sets the necessary context for the detailed work of BPM. It's much easier to engage business leadership and subject matter experts when you use CM to organize work around goals and stages, and then use BPM to achieve them.
Ken Schwarz Director, Product Marketing, Pegasystems
Ken Schwarz is Product Marketing Director for Pega Business Process Management and Dynamic Case Management solutions. He is an expert in enterprise middleware and its application to business transformation and competitive strategy. Ken’s career spans marketing, competitive intelligence, international sales, technical service delivery and product development.
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Patrick Lujan Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
When have we ever not done both? Structured and unstructured process, automated and ad hoc both. We've just never used all these terms to slice and dice so specifically - "adaptive," "dynamic," etc. - but that doesn't mean they don't, haven't existed all along in most business operations, just sometimes one moreso than the other, or vice-versa.

The fascination (obsession?) with distinguishing one from the other is an industry fabrication targeted at market differentiation to try and exploit, leverage, create a segment that's actually been there all along and being done, solved all along. Businesses, users want solutions that help them get the job done better, faster, easier than how they did it before and using the right tool(s), process(es) to do so. This hasn't changed, just insider myopia, hyperbole and fanaticism from a few miscreants who shout louder than the rest.
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 2 years ago
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  3. # 4
Mohammed Attar Accepted Answer
The question presupposes that BPM is the key driver of Case Management. BPM is a key contributor to Case Management, but a true Case Management offering requires the availability of a Content and Collaboration Management system. So, the question really should’t be whether or not BPM and Case Management should be combined, the question should be “Is Case Management the future of ECM and BPM.” To that question, the answer certainly seems to be a resounding YES. This is not to say there is not a place for standalone BPM or ECM practices, there most certainly is, and will continue to be. But Case Management use cases are different. Case Management requires the ability for users to leverage information to drive business outcomes. That information can come in the form of unstructured content, or through collaboration, social media, or other arbitrary sources - but ultimately that information is determining the next step, or how the case should progress. Case Management is about empowering workers to make the right decisions, based on the availability of the right information, in the context of a business operation.
Hi Patrick - great to hear from you! There is a great event coming up called Insight :)

Case Management as practice mandates a few things:
1. A Case folder or container that holds assets driving the case (documents, rules, etc.)
2. Tasks that can be dynamically orchestrated to execute work
3. Information that drives how the case should progress

Number 3 is delivered not by attaching content as a participant to a process, but by having a system that enables people to review, collaborate, and manage content.

Look forward to seeing you at Insight!
  1. Mohammed Attar
  2. 2 years ago
Well hello there Mr. Attar, long time no talk. Webinars, tweeting, there must be a conference coming up, no? ;)

"Why" does a case management offering require the availability of a content and collaboration management system?

Cheers, Pat
  1. Patrick Lujan
  2. 2 years ago
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  3. # 5
Lloyd Dugan Accepted Answer
I think the point he (Max) is making is grounded in the context that for most folks BPM is an automation platform and not a management discipline. I strongly disagree with that statement, but the market realities are that this is how it has been defined (and for that I mostly blame the vendors and the analyst services for self-serving obfuscations). So, of course, having mostly mined the traditional BPMS market opportunities, less structured business process domains inevitably fall victim to the hegemonic impulses of those same vendors.

On the other hand, if we can differentiate BPM as a platform for automating business applications from BPM as a management discipline for addressing business process problem spaces, then we can see case management (and its various variants, DCM and ACM) as sub-domains with BPM. However, the topography of one is not necessarily the same as the other, so we need different concepts and vocabularies for each. Traditional BPM (the kind of automation being done and has been done for decades) is well understood and developed territory, with generally understood semantics for defining it. But case management is less well understood and developed territory, with emerging semantics for describing it. As with other metaphorically similar situations, explorers are met with arrows to deflect while the settlers are met with land to claim. As we encroach on case management, more arrows will be flung our way.

So, I see BPM's intention as making the creation and innovation of work easier as just serving up the right mix for the situation. If a traditional BPM situation, then the traditional BPMS market has a plethora of answers. If a case management situation, then the case management system market is emerging with answers at a rapid pace, which includes traditional BPMS vendors incorporating case management functionality. In the end, one's choice of tool will turn on whether best of breed means specializing in case management from the start or recently generalizing across case management.
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David Chassels Accepted Answer
Yes Max on his hobby horse in his blog!

BPM is a way to think as such there should be no limitations in thinking how to achieve the required outcome / goal. However historically BPM Supporting Software imposed limitations and here I agree with Max in his blog the old BPMS was “corrupting” the BPM movement. But this is not now the case with new challengers with new approaches addressing such early deficiencies for this new journey for Enterprise Software

Enterprise Software is long overdue for a change to deliver that vital “Adaptive” capability supporting constant change and the system “adapting” to users with right information at right time to the right person to support them doing their job. It is not just Case Management it applies to all operation software SCM, HRM, ECM etc. With new Software capability that focuses “outside in”, as such “BPM” led, that builds and allows easy change building custom applications exactly as required.

No limitations or interpretation gaps between users and the creators of the desired system. Once that happens with fear of change removed then innovation at work becomes readily supported – with BPM thinking that supports and is supported by Adaptive systems.

This does raise the issue of calling any solution a “BPMS” which has historically been a hardcoded relatively inflexible system. Surely any description should say what it does with “Adaptive” describing its support capability? The result would be no competition between the design driver discipline BPM and the Adaptive tag for resultant applications?
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Max J. Pucher Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
Dear All, thank you and especially to Peter Schooff for enabling this well balanced interchange brought about by the points I made. I wish we would get more people actually using the various technologies and methdologies to participate but that seems to be out of reach. Their opinion and experiences would be so much more relevant than anything we insiders say.
Yes. Unfortunately, there is an echo chamber effect at times, even here. But definitely a good topic. Thanks to you and to Peter.
  1. Lloyd Dugan
  2. 2 years ago
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Keith Swenson Accepted Answer
I am not really getting the feeling that anyone here is addressing the real point that Max was trying to make, and the question is phrased in such a way as to promote misunderstanding. Max's point is simply that adding more features to something already defined to address a specific problem does not necessary make it appropriate to address a different problem. The simplistic "more is better" argument is specious and does not address any realistic situation.

Imagine a fine dinner prepared by a good chef. For the purpose of illustration, let consider roast beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy each cooked to perfection and combined on a single plate. Someone then asks "Would this meal be better if we added ice cream and chocolate sauce to the mix" The answer are:

Nicholas: nobody has ever clearly defined the difference between gravy and other sauces like chocolate sauce, they are both creamy and taste yummy. Why shouldn't they be combined? It is all just food after all.
Ian: Nobody has ever clearly defined the difference between dinner and dessert. I sometimes eat them in the opposite order!
Michael: Absolutely yes, I have seen meal with all this, and included soup and salad. All meals should have 7 courses.
Ken: I have had roast beef with ice cream and it went pretty well together. The Mexicans put chocolate in a mole sauce, so what is the problem with chocolate on roast beef?
Patrick: we always have dessert with the main course. It is silly to even pretend that there is a difference.
Mohammed: It is not a question of whether the main course leads to dessert, it is a question of whether the dessert draws people from the main course to it.
Lloyd: some people want dinner, some want dessert, and some want both. It is a matter of matching the desires of the diner.
David: we are long overdue for eliminating the difference between dinner and dessert. Legacy meals treated these separately, but now modern desires are to have any ingredient at any point in the meal.

Most of these completely miss the point. There are people who want a main course and adding dessert ingredients to that does NOT make it better. There are people who want dessert, and putting ice cream on roast beef does not make a dessert. Some people want dessert consisting of ice cream and chocolate sauce and a combined roast-beef-gravy-icecream-chocolate combination simply does not fit the bill. ALSO, many people want both dinner and dessert, but they want them to be distinct. A good restaurant will serve all of these combinations -- but adding ice cream to a main course does NOT make it a dessert.

Furthermore, it is conceivable that a good cook might come up with an excellent meal made from roast beef, ice cream, and chocolate, but -- here is the point -- that would no longer be roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. It would not simply be ice cream and chocolate sauce added to the existing, well cooked meal.

The key to Max's comment is: "Adding Case Management to BPM" and his point is simply that adding some features to another capability will not always produce an optimal result. Adding a turbocharger to a bicycle will not make a racing bike. Adding skis to a scuba outfit does not make a snow suit. Adding wings to a mobile home does not make a flying house. Adding wheels to a ocean liner does not make a train. Adding 100 words to a blog post does not always make it better.

Sometimes, less is more.

  1. http://social-biz.org/2013/11/28/15-key-lessons-for-managing-complexity/
right. you totally wouldn't want to add an internet browser to your phone. or a camera. or a GPS. or a Map. or a social networking app. or... :)

so, while adding more features isn't inherently better, it isn't inherently worse either. Each instance has to be evaluated on its merits, no?
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 2 years ago
Suddenly I have a craving for ice cream on roast beef. I'm either pregnant or persuaded by Keith's missive. :-0

To be clear, my point is simply this: the market dictating that new features make/remake a market is not persuasive - the problem spaces were always there. If only we could truly purchase BPM automation features like ordering sushi (and now another food metaphor is introduced).
  1. Lloyd Dugan
  2. 2 years ago
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  3. # 9
Expert discussion as usual - a mixture of mutually-confusing topics – BPM as discipline, BPM tools, BPM practices and, this is something new, application architecture for BPM, etc.

I think that the title of Max’ post should actually be “BPM [tools] plus CM [capabilities] is not ACM [tools]”. So the discussion is about how to package various capabilities to simplify the work-related-management, e.g. management of cases, management of processes, management of activities.

Certainly, this is an application architecture issue and various “stakeholders” have different concerns to be addressed. User’s point of view is that various coordination techniques should be available together and in a coherent way. Rationale: a user should be able to choose a coordination technique that is appropriate for a particular situation (similar to a gear box).

Software vendor point of view is that all capabilities should within a product (which becomes an application development platform). Rationale: ... sure you know it.

Enterprise architecture point of view is that at each moment, the capabilities should be “best-for-fit” and changes must be easy at the scale of an enterprise. Rationale: it should be normal to change from of a tool that was yesterday’s best-for-fit to a tool which will be tomorrow’s best-for-fit. (Changes may be initiated by availability of better tools and by arising of different business needs.) As a result of this point of view, any ECM capabilities should be externalised from BPM and ACM tools.

I think it is clear which point of view is more important for each of you.

Thus, using Keith’s analogy (the way to a man's brain is through his stomach): Eating the fine food from the good chef does not protect us from the obesity and high cholesterol because our food must be balanced. Even more, such a balance is different for each person and it may change over time.

Considering a bigger picture may help to solve some current problems.

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Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer
We are yet again delving on some bullshit vendor semantic fight at the same time missing the key point: the customer doesn't care what you call it, as long as it delivers what it says on the tin and at the right price, they will buy it.

As I am working right now on a BPM+ACM solution, I am currently going through the purgatory of having to conceptually combine the two. Key takeaways so far:
- is it painful? Yes: CMMN as a standard is still in beta and there's some rough edges to it. BPMN is mature, therefore a bit rigid. Lots of conceptual discussions.
- is it optimal? Hell no. Nothing really is. We have to hack an open-source BPM engine to do this. It's fun and it works but we need to make sure we stick to the budding CMMN standard if we want interoperability sometime in the future.

- is it the right thing to do? ABSOLUTELY.

Hear me out.

While I like Keith's food analogy, I believe the right analogy for tech consumers is a stew. Yes, we always consume a technological stew: we log-in on our Windows computers, we send emails from Outlook or Gmail, we make calls from our iPhones, we share files with Dropbox, we clock the time in some (undocumented) proprietary bespoke application and then we chat on Yammer, with a Sharepoint infrastructure underneath... most of this being hosted on a horde of Linux servers, using VMware to host various application servers.

No tech mega-company gets it all right. This will always be the case since no one is able to own the tehnological singularity (there is not enough inteligence in the world to understand all the intelligence in the world).

So we, as business-IT integrators, are the personal master cooks of our customers and have a responsibility that this technological stew tastes right. And right means something else for each customer.

So, I think the debate whether ACM is the future of BPM is bollocks. In keeping with the analogy, this is like debating whether the aubergine is the future of tomato. Sometimes you just need both for the food to taste right. Sometimes you need BPM for ACM to taste right, and viceversa.

To BPM pundits: yes, process automation is cool and IoT will lead to a lot of interesting BPM opportunities. But let's also build more ad-hoc, adaptive, creative business management structures for the modern workplace of humans. To ACM pundits: no, blue collar work will never disappear - even robots will need to be choreographed by a BPM engine.
Managing Founder, profluo.com
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