Sunday, June 15, 2014

Adaptive Case Management: The Path to Emergent Processes

Business Process Management(BPM) is ever evolving and it's not taking a rest now. BPM started with straight through processing combined with simple workflow with pre-determined flows and exception paths. Even where the process paths were loose, case management with pre-determined milestones to hit had to be set with fixed targets. This gave processes some flexibility that wouldn't be modeled. Today with adaptive case management employed, BPM can handle emergent and non-deterministic goals. This will give way to process models acting as visual audit trails for the most part. Of, course there will be deterministic snippets of process that can be modeled ahead of time.

Traditional Processes:

Normally processes represent best practices (happy paths) with exceptions for known deviations for the best path. These processes can include free collaborations, but they are focused around specific points in the process where knowledge and judgement is called for to complete a process instance or structured case.

Emergent Processes: 

Emergent processes form naturally around collaboration in a people to people fashion, a machine to machine fashion or people to machine fashion. This collaboration is forming naturally and are captured as better practices potentially. These practice patterns can be analyzed as bad practices or better practices. The bad practices are avoided through constraints (do no allow them) and the better practices are presented for future leverage. If a better practice is used often, it can become a best practice or be established as an alternative happy path.

Adaptive Case Management(ACM):

ACM encourages collaboration and the dynamic adjustment of milestones, goals and tasks plus supports emergent processes well. As processes expand in scope and more knowledge work is supported, the growth of ACM is expected to expand. However processes are likely to include ACM and traditional process snippets. As better practices yield best practices, over time, traditional best practices will play in end to end processes.

Net; Net:

I really expect ACM to grow over time as it is very valuable in getting practice handled and established without all of the analysis up front to create complete and perfect models. I also expect that the bed of better and best practice patterns inventoried as snippets will grow as well. It's not a "zero-sum game".

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