Is BPM On Its Way Out?
Is Case Management the New BPM?
Recently there has been a good deal of discussion about the decline of BPM and the ascendency of Case Management. In the last couple of weeks one of my favorite moderators on the subject, Peter Schooff of ebizQ posed the questions “Is the BPM industry in need of disruption?” and “Do we need a new name for BPM?”
It’s true, practitioners and strict proponents of BPM are facing real challenges these days. Organizations are realizing that while BPM is a great theoretical construct, its rigid framework is oftentimes unable to deal with the messy reality of accommodating organizational change and getting day to day work done. Case Management on the other hand has proven to be exceptional at accommodating the needs of knowledge workers and facilitating rapid agile development.
The real issue is not whether BPM is out and Case Management is in, but it is that too many people are taking all or nothing positions on the two practices. This shouldn’t be an either/or discussion.
The fact is that most business applications feature elements of both BPM and Case Management — good technologies should easily accommodate that type of ambiguity.
MicroPact CTO Mike Cerniglia recently elaborated on this subject in response to Peter’s question “Do we need a new name for BPM?”:
To my thinking BPM and Case Management (and we are talking technology now) are equals that lie at opposite ends of a single spectrum. Most systems however lie somewhere in between with some being more process centric and others being more case, or data centric. BPM sees “processes” as strategic assets of an organization that must be understood, managed, and improved to deliver value-added products and services to clients. Therefore BPM’s value is in the continual maturing of processes to the benefit of the business.
In contrast, Case Management, views a “case” and its associated data as a strategic asset which must be guided, coordinated, and ruled upon, to deliver added value. Case Management’s value is in delivering an appropriate outcome for each case.
Similarly in building a BPM system one should start by mapping out the processes. With a case management system, because the case is the core item of value, and a case is itself data or information-centric, one should take a data-first approach to engagement and system design.
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