What is an emergent process?
David Gómez 270000KTWU firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  case management acm advanced bpm ecm. | 1 Comments | 2,758 Visits
I was struggling with what is the difference between business process management (BPM) and advanced case management (ACM). Then while reading a book called Mastering the Unpredictable (Swenson 2010) and looking at some internal presentations on the subject the picture crystallized for me. It came down to an emergent process.
This is my attempt at helping it be the same for you. Let's see where BPM and ACM are similar. They both have a goal of increasing efficiency and meeting customers' needs. They both also have workflows or processes as part of them. They also both have roles filled by knowledge workers or experts. ACM and BPM also have information or data as part of them. Both ACM and BPM benefit from visibility into them along with history, analytics, integration, and communication. Well, if you look at these things together they both create a compelling reason to use either one. Well, if they are so similar then what's the difference? I mean really is ACM the next evolution of BPM? I say it is if you get past the initial similarities since they go about achieving those goals in very different ways due to the role of the knowledge worker, information, and workflow in each.
First, let's look at what types of processes a business process management system (BPMS) is focused on. Process or workflow is king in this system. This means defining a process, putting it into production, and going back to see how you can optimize this or automate steps. Everything feeds into this. Information or data feeds the process. Knowledge workers participate at pre-defined steps in the process. So, simply put once again, workflow is king here.
Now, let's see what an emergent process is and how it differs from a pre-defined process. This is a process that unfolds or emerges as information or understanding is discovered. So, a knowledge worker sees an initial set of data or information. Based on this information, he or she will determine what other experts need to be involved and what workflow(s) need to be invoked. It is not a static process. This means that as things are discovered or emerge other experts and workflows may need to be used. Therefore, the process emerges or is emergent. Here we have an emergent process. And as is shown here information or data is the king in ACM.
So, now to that famous radio station WIIFM (What's In It For Me?). Well, if you have had the dubious honor of having been a victim of fraud or been rejected a claim an emergent process as part of case management would have benefited you. Based on your information or the specifics of your case, workflows and experts would have been called upon and may have altered based on what was discovered as new knowledge or information emerged.
We've discussed what the difference is between BPM and ACM. We've also discussed what an emergent process is. Now, where do we go from here? Well, a solution bringing together this notion and creating a template based offering leveraging analytics to optimize case resolution is what is called for. The challenge has been that BPMS based solutions have not had the focus of information or data being the king as is the case of an ACM based solution.
Until next time,
Your friendly neighborhood ECM guy