Social BPM and Case Management

BPM has always provided fertile ground for new ideas but often results in confusing business process and application professionals. Recently Dynamic Case Management and Social BPM are being spoken of as important directions for BPM. But how do they relate to one another? And since social media is an important part of both, what value does social really add to process improvement and Line of Business professionals if any? No doubt social improves collaboration in process design, and more important is the ability -with analytics to add a new form of input to process improvement -input that may go directly to the CEO. This is part of the BPM advantage but the area of Case Management may have more dramatic value as you collaborate during a critical incident like an adverse drug reaction, or create a stronger community to deliver a more personalized service event -or to gather "voice of the customer" data to improve case handling. But in both BPM and Case -social is an enabler and takes a seat along side important advancements such as analytics, convergence of BPM and ECM, and a stronger domain focus.



Collaboration is key

"Case Management may have more dramatic value as you collaborate during a critical incident" - I absolutely agree. Although I also think it goes broader.

When you look at the design of many processes in real organizations, the initial process models tend to show every little interaction and communication people believe they need to represent. After a few iterations, they realize that modeling at such a low level of granularity is actually invalid - they end up enforcing a flow around interactions or capture of data / documents that has no real order, when really all that is required is that its completed before a certain step in the process. Case management enables these type of interactions to be removed from the process model, while ensuring that they continue to be enforced.


I blogged about this complexity:

Case Management

To be valuable in case management social has to provide the context to make decisions or achieve objectives. Social capabilities like voting, commenting, rating can help in a number of ways. My belief is that auditing the interactions provides a new dimension to the decision making process. Who commented when, what was said, was it within the proscribed time frame, was it relevant all of this is self evident with social. Sure you can do this with BPM but you need to design a process that enable voting and collect comments and then progress to the next step. With Case Mgt - you could collect the comments in a word file or as annotes in a PDF but you would need another method to extract and audit the results. Neither of these methods provide the ease of use, flexibility or auditability of social.

Social BPM is a special case of dynamic case management

Interesting post. I actually think that Social BPM (or collaborating on creating a process model) is a special case of dynamic (or adaptive) case management. They have the same attributes - they are both unpredictable, emergent human processes that can't be managed by standard BPM suites. I think that main difference is that users of social BPM tend to have a technical background - which makes them more comfortable with new technologies, while adaptive case management is targeted at standard knowledge workers (whose standard tools for these processes are email and office). I have blogged about it here:

Social BPM and CAse Management

Interesting thought and it makes sense - the process design aspect is just a specilized case activity. It does leave the aspect of social as input to the process transformation process to try to position - but this would be just "social or voice of customer" analytics that will be part of improving the case. Thanks for your comment.

Human Latency

I think that integrating tools such as twitter, IM etc in some of these business processes could reduce human latency. No matter how optimise your business processes are, eventually you will have to wait for a human reaction...