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The Technical Case for Case Management - Part 1

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
May 7, 2010

There's been a lot of discussion from the larger BPM community recently around Case Management. Analysts and vendors have been releasing a bevy of definitions and analysis trying to define exactly what "Case Management" is. Someanalysts, like Bruce Silver, have been tracking this aspect of process for some timethough. Unlike BPM, that has some relatively well defined technical standards and is rooted in process improvement methodologies, Case Management is in it's infancy in regardstostandardsand methodologies.

So what exactly are the core requirements of Case Management? In other words.. what is the Technical Use Case for Case Management?

First, Case Management looks at a processfrom a more data centricand holistic viewpoint. For example, in a Patient Records use case, the records are the data. These include patient profile information, medical records, documents such as x-rays, prescription history, etc. Process is really just an ad-hoc event that manipulates, updates, and controls the data in a structured and enforced manner. For example, at any time, a doctor might create a referral to see a specialist, which triggers a subsequent process step to schedule an appointment with the specialist. Each action or changeto the patient record has required follow-up steps to ensure the safety and proper handling of the patient and their records, but many of the actions themselves are completely ad-hoc.

Case Management in this sense can be seen as a more comprehensive approach to process. It is a collection of processes that share a common data set and interact with each other.The collective performance of the processes now determines the overall performance of handling that case.

So, if we were to translate this into technical features required in a BPM tool to support Case Management, what would they be?

Over the next few weeks, I'll be blogging about each of the features critical to a Case Management system, and how they support the Case Management paradigm.

I look forward to any discussion this might drive, so please feel free to comment.


Malcolm Ross

Director, Product Management

The Technical Case for Case Management Series

Part 1: Intro

Part 2: Ad-Hoc Activities

Part 3: Real-Time Events and Business Intelligence

Part 4: Enterprise Content Management

Part 5: Collaboration / Enterprise 2.0

Part 6: Reporting and Analysis

Part 7: The End ??