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Posted by Rob Koplowitz on May 14, 2010
A few weeks ago IBM invited me to a day-long conference in San Francisco to preview a new product direction around case management. At first I was a bit hesitant because case management is a bit outside of my normal research agenda, but an old pal in IBM analyst relations convinced me to come over. It was well worth the time. What I saw was much more than I expected as IBM plans to productize a true Information Workplace offering around the pervasive business issue of case management. The concept of an Information Workplace, first presented by Forrester in 2005, is defined as:
I suspect that we need to tune this definition a bit. For instance, the term "now emerging" needs to be replaced with "now maturing". Plus, I think there is currently a legal requirement to include the term "social" in all technology definitions. ; ) However, on the whole, it's still largely relevant.
A number of trends have made the concept a reality. Vendors like Google, Lotus, Microsoft and Novell have actively built integration between their various content, collaboration, communication and portal offerings to create a more integrated, contextual experience for knowledge workers. Lotus and Novell are pushing the experience forward with offerings like Lotus's Project Vulcan and Novell's Pulse.
So, while the Information Workplace is actively emerging, IBM's upcoming case management offering moves the concept forward in some interesting and compelling ways. What I find intriguing about the offering is the following:
The end result is an end-to-end solution that mirrors all aspects of a complex process and drives broader participation from more relevant stakeholders. Given the amount of friction and inefficiency that results when structured processes meet ad-hoc processes and knowledge workers, the potential to drive processes that are more efficient, more accurate and more cost effective are tremendous.
The Information Workplace has been evolving for a while. A number of key areas of functionality have already emerged. The vision of solutions that extend the vision to more processes and more systems have been in "vision" presentations for a long time. With this new case management offering, IBM moves the vision forward by making a reality that you'll be able to buy and implement.
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