When Metrics Become Your Boss

Forrester is conducting a deep dive into dynamic case management usage by interviewing 50 companies implementing these solutions and evaluating 10 dynamic case management (DCM) platforms for an upcoming Forrester Wave. Enterprises are using DCM solutions to tackle untamed processes that service a myriad of customer and citizen requests, automate and track "incidents" related to investigations, and meet new compliance demands from a growing number of ever-more-scrupulous regulators. And with an eye to the future, business process professionals report that DCM offers great potential to align process outcomes with organizational goals, leverage unique expertise of I-workers, and improve agility for case workers, business managers, and IT. 

But one aspect of this is interesting in the way DCM may change existing management approaches. The new generation of case management platforms allow for more rapid change by the case worker, business process pros, and IT. But this ability only matters if aligned with organizational agility, i.e., allows rules, such as dollar approval limits, to be approved by management in the same time frame. Approving a new rule or wording change in a communication can take weeks at some enterprises today. So management will have to decentralize decision-making to the case worker.

Further and more transformational, the less structured and scripted a business process’ workflow is, the more important goals become to drive activity. Business process pros see goal definition and measurement, a focus of performance management approaches like Six Sigma and Balanced Scorecard, as increasingly important to how untamed processes should execute. Dynamic case management solutions such as IBM Case Manager, EMC XCP, PegaSystems, Global 360, Singularity, Appian, ISIS, and others reviewed by Forrester provide the capability to tie strategic goals to process execution through advanced SLA, monitoring, reporting, and greatly improved analytics. This means that metrics will guide behavior more than traditional management approaches. So do we need less managers? I think so, and in the end, if DCM fulfills its promise, we will see a gradual decline in the relevance of middle management and more flexibility to the I-worker to execute outside the traditional office — and without looking over their shoulder. And how good is that?