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The Technical Case for Case Management - Part 6 - Reporting and Analysis

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
May 27, 2010

Welcome back to this series on The Technical Case for Case Management. In previous posts I covered anIntroduction to Case Management, Ad-Hoc Activities, Real-Time Events, Enterprise Content Management, and Collaboration. The goal of each of these posts is to explore what technical features are required to truly have a comprehensive Case Management solution.

In this post, I'll be exploring Reporting and Analysis in the context of Case Management.

Coming from a BPM perspective, let's first see how well typical BPM reporting and analysis capabilities can satisfy Case Management requirements.

BPM reporting and analysis tools often make the assumption that the goal in analysis is to reduce processing times and increase efficiency. BPMS platforms provide tools like bottleneck analysis, simulation, and Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), which all drive to this typical goal in analyzing process and activity performance, removing inefficiencies, and streamlining processes.

Case Management goals though are not as predefined as BPM. The goals in Case Management are often not directly related to process efficiency or activity performance. Case Management often drives towards specific business goals that may or may not entail process efficiency. For example, Case Management goals might be: "Increase revenue per client"; "Increase customer satisfaction"; "Reduce risk", etc..

A goal like "Increase custom satisfaction" may or may not be related to process efficiency. Customers might be happier if their requests are processed with greater efficiency, but they might be equally satisfied if they received a little extra attention in their request, which might actually slow a process down, but still increase customer satisfaction.

Reporting and Analysis in Case Management requires features more closely aligned with a general reporting or Business Intelligence (BI) tool than the more narrowly focused BPM reporting and analysistool-set. But, unlike traditional Business Intelligence tools, Case Management requires analysis to be more integrated and real-time to allow managers to adapt case handling.

Aspects of Reporting and Analysis in Case Management include the following:

    • Business Data Reporting and Analysis

I'm always surprised how some BPM platforms don't include extensive reporting on the business data inside a process and only provide analysis on just the process performance data. I've seen some BPM even restrict business data reporting to a max of 50 data points or require upfront definition of what data will be reportable before any process is run.

These restrictions just don't work in the world of Case Management. Managers need to be able see the entire picture and report on all the data for a case. In addition, they need to be able to slice and dice the data in different ways to track how well they are meeting their goals and objectives. In the narrower world of BPM where the general goal is always process efficiency, restricted reporting might work. In the world of Case Management, where goals can fluctuate and be based on dynamic business data, restricted reporting proves to be a barrier to achieving true management insight into case performance.

    • Business Goal Driven Trend Reporting

Again, I'll contrast Case Management reporting with BPM reporting. BPM tools have excelled at trend and simulation analysis in processes, but the focus again is always process centric. Trends in Case Management are not necessarily process related. For example, trends in patient health are not necessarily process related, but based on patient well being (See case study below). A Case Management solution must support aggregate and performance trend reporting across any piece of business data captured in the system.

    • Integrated Reporting and Analysis

If a product does not offer integrated Reporting and Analysis on Case Performance, can it even be considered a Case Management platform? Without the insight provided by reporting, how can there be any "Management" inside the term Case Management. Similarly, if a BPMS system does not provide integrated BAM reporting, is it a BPMS? As we've learned from BPM methodologies, to truly adopt agile techniques in case handling and have adynamicsystem, reporting must be integrated and near real-time to provide a feedback loop from historicalperformanceto future activities.

As a conclusion, let's explore a real world case study in Reporting and Analysis in a Case Management solution at psHEALTH.

psHEALTH is Appian's strategic partner in the healthcare market. They offers solutions based on the Appian BPMS platform for rehabilitation and occupational health, disease management, virtual ward, and home care.

Healthcare can often be an elusive environment to measure. Doctor's and nurses are not always concerned about how quickly they can process a new patient, but rather how well can they change that patient's behavior to ensure a future healthy lifestyle. As Bruce Lee put it in my previous post, to much reliance on process andefficiencycan make us mechanical and in-human, definitions we certainly don't want to apply to our healthcare.

psHEALTH recently built a solution for medical professionals to track patients who require regular medication for their disease management. This medication often had side effects that can frustrate patients and cause them to stop taking the medicine, resulting in a worsening of their medical condition. The solution wasn't about process performance at all, it was about making sure the patients persevere through the difficult periods and keep taking their medication and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This process never ends and success cannot be measured in individual activity performance.

As medical professionals interact with their patients, they record the collaborations and assess the state of mind and body of the patient. Through these interactions, reports are derived allowing management to track all of their patients' mental and physical well being and identify any trends. The medical professionals are also not evaluated on the efficiency of their process performance, but rather on the well being of their patients. Management reporting can show which medical professionals are generating the happiest patients and what trends have led to improved patient health. Management can now adapt how future cases are handled to adopt these learned best practices.

The psHEALTH solution was created entirely on the Appian Anywhere SaaS solution using Appian's reporting features.

If you'd like to learn more, we'll be hosting a joint webinar with psHEALTH on July 8th to run through more of their work in healthcare case management using the Appian platform. Registration for the webinar will be up in the next week or two.

In my next post, Ill wrap up this series on The Technical Case for Case Management.

As always, I'm open to comments.


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 ??