In the past two years we have seen a dramatic increase in interest in a new approach for systems that support office workers. Much of the focus for information technology deployment has been on automating or even eliminating less skilled jobs. This has been largely effective, and organizations today are able to much more with fewer people. People today spend less of their time on routine tasks, and more of their time on things that make a difference, than was possible just ten years ago.
An unpredictable process is simply a process that has to be figured out; it emerges as the work is done. That is precisely what knowledge workers do.
Case Management (CM) is an approach which has been used for years in the fields of health care, social care, the courts, and law enforcement but now we are seeing this basic approach being used for all knowledge workers across all industries. We call it case management because all the work is structured around a case, which is simply a place where everything for the job is collected. It is not just a folder, but is also has an implicit or explicit goal.
Sherlock Holmes has the goal to solve the crime, so he keeps all the relevant information in a case folder. The case is considered “closed” when the crime has been solved. Today, that case is not a physical folder, but instead an information system structure that can be access by multiple people from multiple locations simultaneously, but it is the same concept.
Adaptive Case Management Systems automatically keep a record of everything that happened along the way, so that there is a complete history to learn from. The history is helpful in reaching the current goal, but even more valuable when many cases are reviewed to see what patterns are having the most success. Process Mining is a technique that is used to show what patterns of actions have been occurring, even when no process diagram was set up in advance.