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Case Management Delivers - And Requires - Agility

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
November 9, 2010

Business process management software is great for building case management solutions, and case management is becoming huge in government thinking. It's easy to understand why. In government-speak, many action items are thought of as "cases," and case management is nothing more than a way to use technology to deliver better service and take better care of people.

But there's the rub right there. As I've blogged elsewhere, "case" usually means "person," and because people's behaviors are often unpredictable, case management solutions must be dynamic and flexible. That means development of those solutions can't be one-and-done. Case management requires an Agile development methodology of continuous review and enhancement.

The FBI learned this lesson the hard way with its Sentinel project. Work on Sentinel started again this month after having been put on hold in July. By moving forward as an agile development initiative, with teams working incrementally on capabilities that are tied to specific mission requirements, the FBI expects to make better progress on the case management system.

If your organization is just getting started with case management, that type of incremental development approach will help. The result can be end-to-end solutions that encompass a variety of potential inputs, responses, next steps and resolutions.

For example, case management is at the heart of the "Wounded Warrior" application developed for the US Army by CollabraLink on Appian's BPM software. The application is used in Warrior Transition Units for on-boarding, rehabilitating and off-boarding servicemen and women injured in the field. The entire experience, with all its potential permutations, is managed through this essential case management application.

Case management strikes an obvious chord with federal agencies. BPM-based case solutions can help realize new possibilities in how agencies perform their missions and serve their constituents. Letting those new possibilities out of the box, and realizing their full benefits, requires new thinking about the nature of "cases" and how that relates to solution development.