An Overview of Case Management

07-06-2012
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A case is a coordination of multiple tasks planned or unplanned and associated content towards a concrete objective or a goal. Cases are dynamic, and respond to and generate events which generally involve unstructured processes. This means that steps in the processes are not rigidly defined. Case Management usually involves highly human intensive workflows with the key actors being known as knowledge workers or case managers. Their actions typically define the flow of the case and could even include modifying the process itself by adding or skipping steps.

In the banking and financial services sector, for example, some cases could be: credit card dispute, account opening request, and account closure request. Similarly in the insurance sector, examples of cases would be a medical insurance claim, auto insurance claim, and a check book issue request.

The moment a customer reaches out to the organization through any communication channels be it directly appearing at the branch, phone, internet or social networks, the knowledge worker will initiate a case. This case will then go through various steps before closure. The steps will include tasks and activities to be executed by the knowledge worker who has initiated the case, or other workers.

The Evolution of Case Management

There is a lot of overlap between case management and Business Process Management (BPM); in fact opinions appear to be divided about the precise nature of this distinction. One view is that BPM is primarily focused on process automation and optimization for structured business processes with case management focused mainly on unstructured processes. Another view is that BPM is a broader term which is still evolving and case management falls under its purview..

Figure 1 below provides a comparison of Case Management with BPM.

 

 Figure 1: Case Management and BPM

Regardless of the individual viewpoints, it is generally accepted that case management has evolved into a very important field with two main platform categories:

  1. Dedicated case management platforms are available from specialized vendors
  2. BPM vendors offering case management support as an added feature of their platforms

An illustration of the evolution of Case Management is provided in Figure 2.

 

Figure 2: Evolution of Case Management

 

Limitations of Current Approaches

The scope of case management is well known with adoption and implementations at several organizations over the years. However, in our opinion, the traditional approaches have some limitations and scope for improvement. In figure 3, we outline some of the key characteristics of traditional approaches to case management, as well as the corresponding limitations.

 



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