While a caseworker may be the ultimate arbiter of the decision making, he or she often requires information found in one or more disparate enterprise applications. Moreover, any changes made to a case file often require an update to those enterprise applications so that the customer or citizen’s file is accurately maintained. IBM Case Manager interfaces with IBM BPM at the design level to enable Case Manager process designers to access the power of IBM BPM process choreography to enable data exchanges. By effectively merging design environments this enables Case based workflows to extend beyond the realm of individual decision makers and leverage the power of the automated process choreography. By combining the two, the flexible task based process capabilities of IBM Case Manager with the automated business rules driven engine of IBM BPM, the full promise of the process efficiencies of Advanced Case Management can be achieved.
ECM In Motion
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Guest blog by Michael Green, Offering Lead - Advanced Case Management
IBM BPM is the enterprise class business process engine from IBM. It is designed to choreograph process flows from multiple enterprise applications based on sophisticated business rules enabling discrete process decisions and automated process steps. Inherent in IBM BPM is the idea that a process is an end-to-end system with a known outcome. Case management, on the other hand, is by definition a process flow where the outcome is unknown. While business rules and automated steps are important to case management, case management requires the ability to pick and choose process tasks based on decisions made the by case worker. Nonetheless, there are distinct requirements in case management that demands the sort of process choreography that IBM BPM provides.
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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.
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