Less Controversial BPM vs. Case Management Comparison?

  • June 4, 2010
  • Scott

Imagine my surprise to see a pretty reasonable comparison of BPM and Case Management, that doesn’t attempt to belittle either approach, nor pigeon-hole either approach, and yet captures an interesting distinction (from David Yockelson of IBM):

Business process management focuses on optimization of a process with a key goal to increase the volume of throughput or work completed for an individual process.  Case management has a different “design goal” and focuses on optimization of outcomes for individual cases by providing an integrated set of information and services for the case worker.  However, case management leverages BPM capabilities to address the different types of processes that could be called upon to drive case outcomes.  These could involve complex structured processes, dynamically assembled sets of services, or ad hoc exchanges among those related to the case (including the customer).

I would have phrased it a bit differently – but if I can pull apart the previous definition a bit I think we can get at the key elements.  If BPM is focused on optimizing the aggregate of many process instances, Case Management is focused on optimizing the outcome of an individual run of a process by providing better information and tools to the case worker.  To take the medical example – case management would philosophically try to help improve the outcome for a single patient.  BPM would philosophically try to improve the overall outcome of health care provided by the facility across all patients.

This seems like an interesting working model for how to think about the two approaches, but I’m curious to see what the ACM folks (besides David Yockelson of IBM) think of this definition.

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