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28 April 2016

Case Management Vs Business Process Management

This post is also available in: Spanish

Case Management is not a new concept. It has been applied for years in certain areas, especially clinics and legal entities, and has been gradually expanding to other sectors and areas.

However, you only need to look online, read some blogs or enter a discussion to see the overwhelming confusion, doubts and disagreements that surround the issue.

So, to get a clear picture, it is important to determine the bases covered in this article.

What is Case Management?  

Firstly, when talking about Case Management, we refer to the general management of specific issues of any kind, that need resolving in an organization in a given period of time.

In this context, Cases come from all types of internal and external requests, for example: incidents, records, requests for goods or services, customer service, purchasing, marketing activities, projects, etc. and only end when the case has been, somehow, completely resolved.

The management of these requests (Case Management) is of vital importance for every company as it constitutes an important part of the daily activity in most private companies and public entities.

Furthermore, it can be a challenge, due to the complexity of its management or lack of adequate tools or their high implementation costs.

Why is Case Management complex?

There are many types of Cases, and although some can be very simple and managed using any basic software, others can be extremely complex:

  • They can involve multiple processes, that must be intercoordinated and at a given moment, may stop following a predefined flow sequence.
  • They may require great agility and flexibility to allow any type of change immediately without losing control.
  • They could involve many internal and external people (employees from various departments, customers, collaborators, etc.), who must maintain a fluid but controlled flow of communication.
  • They may require the management of a large amount of information, whether structured (data) or unstructured (documents) of different kinds that should be created and/or captured, stored, consulted and eliminated in the most automatic, fluid and controlled way possible.

and the list goes on…

Are BPMS and DCM the same?

There is an ongoing and sometimes heated debate about the differences between BPMS and Case Management. It is often said that Dynamic Case Management (DCM) and BPMS are two different applications and that BPMS is too rigid to manage cases or, while BPM focuses on processes, as its name suggests, Advanced Case Management (ACM) or DCM simply focus on the cases themselves.

However, the truth is, that as  BPMS is the software that supports the management of an organization’s processes and as DCM forms part of the company’s activities, their management must be included in the company’s BPM strategy and in the capabilities of the BPMS that supports this strategy.

It seems clear that if we admit that BPMS and DCM are different managements, we should redefine the acronym BPMS as ‘Business Process Management Suite… without Case-related Processes’.

As this makes no sense, a BPMS should naturally be able to control the processes in all circumstances. Therefore, if a BPM suite is too rigid and doesn’t contain the necessary capacities to manage the Cases, we can simply deduce that that particular BPMS is insufficient for the management of complex cases.


AuraPortal CRvsBPM

So… What should a BPMS contain to manage Cases?

An effective BPM suite with the capacity to undertake Dynamic Case Management must integrate several capabilities, such as:

  • The ability to monitor, control and analyze the execution of each case (which can involve many processes), as well as the analysis of the results of various cases, for continuous improvement. The management unit is the case, not the process.
  • the flexibility to create additional management to control the different types of cases and the different elements within these cases.
  • Distributed Treatment Technology to steer the flow to other processes at any time (with or without returning to the original process).
  • Obligatory, foreseen and unforeseen task intervention, with dynamic forms capable of making content visible or hidden depending on the circumstances.
  • Business Rules management. (Not to be confused with Process Rules).
  • An agile document and content management.
  • Elements of information, communication and collaboration between employees and external parties.
  • And many others like cost control and profitability of each case, statistical insight of each case, automatic compliance with the regulations and so on.

Above all, these capabilities should be completely integrated and should have enough agility and flexibility to make any kind of change immediately and securely.