When talking to clients, one of the most common questions I personally get asked is Case Management or Business Process Management, how do I choose?

So my answer to this is pretty simple. Case Management is to BPM what Sherlock Holmes is to Doctor Watson. They are both integral to each other but have incredibly different work styles.

Sherlock Holmes when solving a murder case follows an unorthodox approach. He likes to make decisions on the fly and switches up his investigation as the situation demands it. Give him linear tasks and he’ll scramble them up within seconds. Sherlock Holmes, by our industry definition, falls into the agile and dynamic process category. Can you imagine Sherlock Holmes being able to follow a structured process? No. Because for him, each case is unique and he needs to use a different approach to solve it.

Now Watson on the hand is a man of textbook science. He is clinical and methodical. He has processes and structured ways of doing everything. He is most efficient when he follows a clearly defined and well thought of plan. He is a great believer of planning what needs to be done and then methodically completing said work. Doctor Watson by our industry’s standards will fall into Well Structured Process category. Watson would love a BPM platform.

So how do you make a choice between Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson? The short answer is don’t. While pop culture always favors the quirky protagonist, it is important to note that there would never be a Sherlock Holmes without a Watson. Let’s take your organization as an example, your knowledge workers may love the freedom of Sherlock Holmes, but your managers may not be comfortable with the risks that it poses. Since we’re not in Victorian London, no organization or regulator can allow complete ad-hoc work and flexibility for most types of work. In any organization even collaborative work requires controls and processes. So like you need a Sherlock and Watson to be in every story, you need a healthy mixture of dynamic and structured processes to do your work.

This is the point in our story where we introduce Case Management platforms. A robust Case Management platform will not ask you to make the choice between BPM and Case Management. It provides the agility of Case Management within the structures and controls of BPM.

So now that you have Sherlock’s unorthodox approach and Watson’s clinical methods. What we now need is the deductive reasoning to solve the case. Your Case Management platform’s analytics engine can help you “observe than just see.” Add to that capabilities for big data, mobile, social and others and you have a 21st century detective for an application.

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