Sandy Kemsley gave this presentation on BPM and Case Management hosted by Pega Systems.
Started by saying the Case Management is a hot topic. Lot of talk about structured proceses is for BPM, and unstructured for dynamic BPM or case management. But the truth is that many work situations need both.
F.W. Taylor can be considered the father of modern BPM, and we still see a lot of his influence in BPM today. But not all processes are so well defined. Peter Drucker coined the term “Knowledge Worker” to describe people who think and create the process as they go along. Some definitions from Mastering the Unpredictable:
- Routine Work defined as work that can be analyzed and a common pattern derived.
- Knowledge Work does not have the level of repeatability found in routine work. Not even possible to have a fixed process, and would be too expensive.
When you have a process that involves some part knowledge work, what people are doing today is stepping outside the process system, using email. You want instead to find a way to keep this work inside the process system.
Instant Poll: how routine is your work? 0% all routine, 19% is 3/4 routine, 27% have half and half, 37% is only 1/4 routine, and 17% of the people say they are completely knowledge work.
- BPM is defined as a way of defining a process, and maintaining it over time.
- Case Management is defined as useful for collaborative, dynamic, and information-intensive processes which requires incremental and progressive responses from the case handler to determine actions.
The key thing is that it is dynamic, and you don’t know ahread of time what is going to happen. There is no set of steps in a particular order. Does not mean they can do anything: there are rules and guidelines. But it is the case manager that determines exactly what to do next.
OMG has put out a request for proposal for a case management standard. Case management is really Drucker’s “Management by Objective” supported by technology.
Comparison table: BPM is highly repeatable, while CM is unpredictable. BPM focusses on transactions, while CM focusses on knwoledge. Goal of BPM is to replace people where possible, but CM is there to facilitate the case worker. An example of BPM is straight thru processes, while an example of CM is managing the care of a patient.
There are few times that you have just dynamic process or just structured process. Structured process may spawn a dynamic, collaborative step within the structured process. Some vendors have a “collaboration step” in a structured process. Use case is handling an exception. Other examples are a dynamic process that needs to call a structured process at a point in time, of an otherwise dynamic process.
Non-routine work is today being done most in a manual way. If they are manually handled, there is very little visibility of what is happening, and there is very little control of compliance. Visibility would allow others in the organization to see what is happening. Sandy has seen this, huge thick files physically at one person’s desk, and it is very hard to share this information.
Case Management allows for better visibility, and tracking of artifacts. But still allows easy reassignment of subtasks determined at the time of the work.
Emily Burns is a Senior Marketing Manager leading Pega’s Case Management effort.
Relationship of case to process: one to many and heterogeneous. One challenge of case management is that the scope is so broad that it is hard for people to see the entire subject. Like the parable of the elephant. People are largely unaware of the work that others are doing.
- Case Management is the coordination of multiple tasks, planned or unplanned, and associated with content, towards a concrete objective or goal.
Example is an automobile insurance claim. Consider an accident where two cars collide. There is a lot of context that must be included in the case: for example the prior case history of the parties involved. There is content that will be generated: photos, police report, etc. Context drives this case. If the context was different, the entire case would be different. This case has spun off three sub-cases: bodily injury, and two property damage cases. These sub-cases may be handled by different people. Challenge is to share the right information, without compromising on privacy guidelines.
Imagine what happens if the repair shop comes back and says that the original good-faith estimate was wrong. Originally thought it could be repaired, after looking into it, they find that the vehicle is a total loss. This will cause at that time a complete change in the course of handling for the case.
Note that the process is represented here, but it changes, and begs an essential question: how much of the process really should be captured? Options include complete specification of all tasks, a loose collection of tasks, or even no up-front specification of tasks.
The relationship of case to process: one to many. A single case will have many processes. The key hallmark of case processes is that they are nested and heterogeneous. Different levels of structure for the sub-parts of the overall case. Case processes are dynamic and event driven.
Forrester says there are three overarching case types: investigative, service requests, and incident management. Some cases have aspects of more than one type. Also, a case lives a long time, and may change over time from type to type. Cases must interact with other cases during their life time. A case may re-open another case. Or you may have a number of cases that are duplicate and need consolidation.
Pega Case Management: support all types, all roles, and all processes. Example is British Airport Authority as a case management approach to turning an aircraft around. Covers the span of time that an aircraft enters British airspace, until it leaves again. Interesting because channels are different: e.g. radar. IT does not get any more dynamic than air travel. Which gate will it be assigned to? When will it leave? None of these workers consider themselves “case workers”. Some of them don’t even work for BAA, but still play a critical role in the handling of the case. Can be effected by completely external events, such a fog at Paris airport. (or a volcano?) This coveres the entire range: some processes are completely automated straight-thru processes, while others are completely ad-hoc. Results are an increase in reliability and on-time handling of planes.
Question: What about modeling? What effect do you think this dynamic/structured divide has on modeling. Can you model structured processes in the same way as dynamic cases? Sandy: some discussion of BPMN, and some fragments might be handled, but for the most part BPMN modeling tools are not designed for case management style processes. We do still need some sort of standards for case management modeling which is likely to be different from traditional BPM modeling. Emily: we really need something to allow a process to start as an ad-hoc manner, and then later as you decide it is more structured there is a way to transition to structured, and vice versa.
My take: they got right! Well done! The session is recorded, so I urge everyone to see it. Here is a link to the recording.