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Adaptive case management: Process takes a detour

"By rigorous benchmarking of team performance, Walsall was able to improve overall productivity by 30 percent, achieving better health outcomes with fewer people. Although this study was based on a relatively small number of patients, it is an important step toward understanding the factors that contribute to effective patient care," Urnes says.

The Appian BPM suite is based on a single tightly integrated product that can be used for a variety of purposes, including both adaptive case management and traditional BPM. "We provide business activity monitoring and analytics, but also can pull in social content such as activity streams," says Malcolm Ross, director of product management/marketing at Appian. "The ease with which Appian models ad hoc interactions within a structured process and integrates content from any source provides the basis for adaptive case management."

The ability of adaptive case management to combine elements of workflow, content management and collaboration technology empowers employees to solve problems. "Adaptive case management not only results in outcomes appropriate for each customer," Moore says, "but also is an environment where knowledge workers can function creatively."

When to choose adaptive case management

Traditional business process management (BPM) works well with a defined, structured process that can be encoded into rules, according to Dana Khoyi, VP at OpenText, who is responsible for case management strategy within the company's BPM unit (formed from the acquisition of Global 360 and Metastorm last year). "However, most work is done with documents and spreadsheets, and does not follow a predictable path," Khoyi says.

Adaptive case management is better suited to tasks that do not have a particular sequence of activities or that may require ad hoc actions. Most processes are neither completely structured nor completely unstructured-they are a blend of predictable and ad hoc processes. Over time, the mix may change.

"When users start managing a case, they may see patterns that can be encoded, so that portion then becomes structured," Khoyi explains. "This ability allows for streamlining some portions of a process while retaining flexibility where it is needed." With

OpenText's Case 360, content can be brought in from any repository, and placeholders can be created to mark where content will be incorporated when it arrives.

To some degree, the new terminology of adaptive case management or dynamic case  management is arbitrary. "What users really want is the functionality to get the job done," says Khoyi. "The blurring of categories such as content management and process management may pose a problem for analysts, but it is a boon for users."

Besides allowing for the unpredictable, an adaptive case management approach captures information that a traditional BPM system would not. "Rather than just having a checkbox saying a task has been completed, case management allows for documenting why a decision was made," Khoyi says. "The case management system becomes a system of record that provides a history in the event of an audit." This is important for compliance, because in some systems, ad hoc events and processes are not captured.

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