After the question of "what is Case Manager" one of the most common questions that I hear is where Case Manager fits within the organization. Many organizations don't realize the breadth of solutions that Case Manager is able to fit. There are several areas that can be examined to see how good a fit Case Manager is within a specific business process. Answers of "yes" to any or all of the questions below are strong indicators that Case Manager is the right tool for the process in question.
I recommend starting with a walkthrough of the business process with the users. This can either be a verbal/whiteboard walkthrough or actually physically following the process. While doing this, consider the questions outlined below.
Do the users use the term routing?
One of the most common words used when talking to a user when it comes to reviewing their process is the word route. You will often hear descriptions that include phrases like "I route the work to…". The term routing implies sending a piece of work to another person, which means that that the person sending the work no longer has it and that the work can only be processed by one person at a time.
With Case Manager, work no longer needs to be thought of in a linear process, users are now free to describe the work the way that they would like it to be processes rather than how the "have" to process it today. Often the word routing comes into play because of technology limitations rather than the business process itself.
Are there times when more than one person could be working in a process?
One of the frustrations often expressed by users is the inability for more than one person to work on things at the same time. Many users have become so institutionalized with the process as it is today that they forget places where work could be done in parallel. Talking to users about who could actually do work when if they had no technical limitations will quickly begin to identify how Case Manager and the task approach could benefit the process.
Are several of today's workflows/processes related and part of a bigger process?
Many times processes or workflows are already in place within an environment. Very often, there is a relationship between the different processes that people work on. These relationships are maintained either through manual activities or through custom applications. Most importantly is there a larger business process that all of these smaller processes support?
Can the overall process be described as a business "object"?
Answering this question can be difficult as it is common for the business owners having difficulty in understanding what is meant by a business object. The ideal approach to this is to provide examples of business objects in other or the same industry. A business object translates into the case, it often is a large business process. Examples of business objects as cases include:
More examples of cases and industry applications are outlined in Chapter 2 of the IBM Case Manager 5.2 Redbooks publication.
For IBM Case Manager V5.2 related blog posts, see:
Is Case Manager right for my business?
For IBM Case Manager V5.2 Redbooks publication, see:
- Advanced Case Management with IBM Case Manager (draft is now available!)
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