Saturday, August 24, 2013

BPM: Does Paradigm Shift from Process to People

While it is easier to define structure and control internal business processes, processes that involve external interaction can become unpredictable. Case Management is typical processes that involve external interaction. Standard BPM practices can still capture some activities of a “case” in order to help with activity monitoring, cross-silo visibility and business analytics (some of the key objectives of BPM). But the point is that BPM demands that there is a standard process, and Case Management demands that people can react to unforeseen circumstances - these are mutually exclusive.  

1. The Characteristics of Case Management 

Case Management represents a different way of thinking about Business Processes. Rather than focusing on or starting from the Business Process perspective, Case Management implies applying business processes to a case. So you’re thinking more in terms of a case:

  • Case Management is about providing the 'Knowledge Worker' with the right information, infrastructure and tools to make critical decisions in real-time. It’s about achieving objectives and goals, rather than just following a single process line. You may follow many different processes just to find and achieve the end goal or resolve business process exceptions.  
  • Case Management is just a specialized form of BPM. Unlike a 'business process', which can be mapped to a human-machine workflow, a 'case' defies such mapping because of its inherent open-endedness. Too many variables, too many possible scenarios, make BPM inadequate for case management. Case Management by its nature is extremely unpredictable compared to Business Process Management, Case Management is about being able to handle exceptions and the complexities within Business Process Management. Business Process Management requires relatively little human input to completing a business process.  
  • Case management is a body of work that consists mostly of unstructured events that is hard to predict in advance. Hence it is not easily defined as a business process. There may be aspects of the work that could be easily defined and captured as activities in a business process, but the bulk of the activities cannot be captured as such. These activities are usually executed by knowledge workers, who are creative and apply knowledge in a way that can't be captured easily in a well-defined activity that is governed by a set of business rules. Usually extrapolation of the business rules may be required to apply to specific scenario/circumstance A BPMS would almost need an Artificial Intelligence (AI) capability in order to perform these activities.  

2. Integrated Capabilities of Dynamic Case Management 

Dynamic Case Management provides solutions to specific issues that need to be resolved in an organization, at any given time. The cases come from loosely structured requests (internal and external), such as: incidents, claims, requests for goods or services, records, projects, etc., they follow many alternative paths and end when the case has been resolved. Case management, especially dynamic case management becomes new trend, also because the enterprise expands into the new boundary, well-interconnected and interacted with clients and partners through social/mobile computing more frequently.

Dynamic Case Management is more flexible: By implementing a Dynamic Case Management solution the advisor is then able to provide quick real-time information, skip unnecessary steps based on previous calls, link into business intelligence tools, use unified collaboration tools,  and even provide an unexpected compensation measures. Customer expectations will then be more likely to be fulfilled and exceeded. Customers will be more willing to tell others of the great service provided and customer retention will be more likely. 

How is the Cases Managed? A tool for efficiently undertaking Dynamic Case Management must have numerous integrated capabilities, such as:
• Management by BPM Processes
• Business Rules Management
• Agile management of Documents and Web Content
• Elements of Information, Communication and Collaboration between employees and with people external to the entity
• Processes with the ability to deviate the flow at any given time, to other processes
• Management of mandatory tasks, both planned and unplanned, with Dynamic Forms capable of appearing and being hidden according to the circumstances
• Agile creation of additional steps for the element control of the cases
• Tools to observe, control and analyze the execution of each case as a whole, as well as analyze the combined results of terminated cases for continuous process improvement

But above all, these capabilities must be completely integrated and be accompanied by a great amount of agility and flexibility to undertake all types of changes immediately, with security and without the need for programming or IT knowledge.  

3. Paradigm Shift from Process to People 

The case is part of the process but the focus is on the work that needs to be done,  not the overarching process that needs to be followed – the process plays a supporting role. People centricity is focal point. 

  • The biggest change brought by the Case Management solutions is the paradigm shift from process to people. This is where the case management solution is marked as a different league altogether. Case Management solution enables skilled workers with excellent decision making ability to choose the right process at right time. Also, automatic process template selection by the case management solution is something not addressed before by the traditional BPM and ECM tools. So clearly, only fusing the BPM and ECM suite will not create a Case Management solution. There are other dimensions to be achieved.  
  • Case Management allows systematic collaboration of individuals in a structured or ad-hoc manner to process a particular case. It is ideally suited for processes that are non deterministic, cannot be modeled at the beginning, driven by human decisions and are content centric. The suite provides knowledge workers the flexibility to improvise based on the context and situation at hand but at the same time ensures that broad guidelines are being adhered to. It guides the decision maker through intelligent correlation of similar situations faced in past and helps him re-use that knowledge. 
  • A Dynamic Case Management (DCM) solution will be effective if and only if the new business scenarios, situational complexities and exceptions are handled in a timely manner. And to do that, the process workers must be bestowed with power and authorization to take the right decision at the right time. According to the situation, the process workers may select any ad-hoc process route, they can trigger any call for action or they can escalate to higher authority for permission. It’s the individual worker’s decision making ability which will make a DCM solution successful.  
  • Case management's "unstructured progression" of workflow, situations that are more ad-hoc (as opposed to pre-defined). Case management also applies to workflow situations that are more document-intense (as opposed to data-intense); to situations that share documents in the same folder; to situations that require real-time collaboration (as opposed to a more defined sequence); and to situations that involve physically separated, remote, and independent resources. 
  • A DCM solution can be BPM centric- where the workflow routing becomes dynamic, or ECM centric- where right based content access is provided to the users, or CCM centric- where the right communication channels are chosen for the right customer with right content, or purely Strategic where Business Analytics like Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) tool and Rule Management System are used to monitor the process performance and take the right decisions at right time or change the business rule on the fly. 


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