IBM Case Manager (ICM) shares with IBM BPM the ability to design a case workflow and build business rules to automate certain aspects of that workflow. However, there are a number of ways that ICM differs from IBM BPM in respect to how it handles the requirements of a case vs a normal process flow.
The first is in regards to how ICM understands process flows. Unlike normal workflows, which have defined start and end point, in cases the outcome is unknown. Is the compensation claim going to be settled next week, or if the claim does last a long time, the steps needed will be different. It is because of these unknowns that ICM has adopted a flexible process mechanism based on process fragments or 'tasks'. These break the process up into discrete actions and allow the caseworker the ability to decide which task should be undertaken when. Some tasks may never undertaken for a specific case, others may be mandatory for all cases, but the deciding power is based on the decision of the caseworker.
The second involves analytics or what we call 'decision support services'. This is the ability to expand on what the worker already knows, their experience and training, by providing specific analytical tools to help them make more informed decisions. ICM includes the capability to do analysis on all other similar case files, using content analytics, to find commonalities and help in making decisions more normalised.
The third differentiator involves content. IBM BPM supports the CMIS standard for content federation. This enables it to choreograph content based processes. The difference with ICM however, is that it also enables something we call 'active content' and supports all content standards, not just CMIS. ICM works with the document metadata to understand what the document is, which case it is a part of, and then automatically move it to move to the next step in the process flow. Active content also tracks each time a document is opened, who opened it, what changes were made, and what were the next steps taken as a result of that review.