Every company or organization has an established way of doing things. This varies from one organization to another depending on the type of company, maturity of the business, and other factors. Some companies may have this process fully documented with detailed instructions. Others simply have established but arbitrary guidelines that daily operations follow.
This set of “How To’s” that define the framework on which a business runs can be in the form of business process management, workflows, and case management. All of these are pretty similar in terms of their function. They are solutions that determine how certain incidents or services are managed within the organization.”
However, despite their similarities, they are also remarkably different. In this article, we compare Case management vs workflow by exploring their differences and similarities to help you determine which approach is best for your organization in specific situations.
Components of a Business Process
How business processes are managed within an organization is an essential factor that is crucial to customer satisfaction. This is why it is important to pay attention to case management and process management and choose the right solution for your organization. Some of the essential components of business processes include:
Individuals, teams, and departments within an organization are required to collaborate towards a shared goal continually. Collaboration is crucial for every business, whether for specialized projects requiring interactions between specific teams and groups or for handling specific incident-related services such as customer complaint management. How vast or elaborate the mechanisms for collaboration are depends mainly on the size of operation of the organization and the type of service they provide.
Process Structure and Flow
This is particularly important for core business processes and functions. There is a need to establish a flow or structure to determine how operations will be handled in a specific order. This helps to improve efficiency since every process can be assigned, routed, handled, or automated if necessary.
Tasks or Steps Within the Process
Most business processes consist of various tasks and steps that may or may not be connected. In most cases, the tasks or steps within a process are meant to be followed strictly for swift resolution and to achieve the desired outcomes.
Rules that Govern the Process
Business processes are governed by arbitrary rules that guide activities that staff and stakeholders in charge of the process carry out. These can vary from being structured to follow predefined paths or knowledge-based or by following a path based on new information or incidental triggers.
Business processes involve multiple parties both within and outside an organization. In the most basic form, customers raise requests or concerns with representatives within an organization. Interactions may also involve multiple vendors, stakeholders, or collaborators that work together to deliver the service or fulfill the request. They may be in charge of certain steps within the process or may overlook the whole incident, as in case management.
Data and documentation
Business processes generate many data and documents, all of which typically have to pass through multiple levels within an organization. An invoice document, for instance, will have to be routed electronically through various departments within a business for appropriate approvals. Cases also pass through multiple levels of handling before reaching their final destination. The process of recording or storing data is also a crucial part of the business management process.
To successfully identify potential issues, improve accountability, and ensure the continued efficiency of the business, data generated from day-to-day business processes must be logged and recorded. This data can then be used to generate actionable insights to help the organization improve efficiency and remove redundancies within the process.
Business Process Management (BPM) refers to the framework used by an organization to ensure a structured business process. This is a long-term strategy typically employed to automate repeatable processes and improve work efficiency.
The basic premise of business process management is that standard business procedures are repeatable and consistent. Therefore, developing an improved framework that is streamlined and automated to drive consistency and uniformity in the way the organization delivers their service. Examples of processes that can be streamlined and improved through business process management include employee onboarding, budget approval, documentation, and procurements.
While BPM is mainly focused on monitoring and improving processes, case management has to do with how organizations handle incident-related requests. These processes require knowledge-based decision-making and the ability to pivot or reorganize based on the introduction of new information or occurrence of certain events.
Case management isn’t dependent on achieving the desired outcome by following a consistent predetermined approach. Instead, a lot of intuition and human intervention are necessary to set the right course of action. Generally, case management is often applied to more complex cases where human discretion and dynamic decision-making are required.
A typical example of case management is during an investigative process. In this case, the next course of action cannot be fully predicted, which means the process is not standardized. This is the hallmark of case management, where decisions and actions depend mainly on context. Hence the entire case management infrastructure is based on adaptation (based on complex thought processes) instead of structure.
Picking Between the Two
To sum up this Case vs Workflow debate, business process management follows a well-defined pattern, whereas case management is based on a more loosely linked approach to handling incidents. Both solutions are designed for dealing with business processes. However, they differ considerably in their complexity, approach, and method of management.
While the similarities between these two approaches are apparent, they are also noticeably different. Understanding their fundamental differences is necessary for helping you better evaluate them and determine which solution is better suited to the type of services the organization has to offer.
Generally, BPM is suited for more structured and repeatable processes that are primarily unconnected to each other (although they may sometimes be grouped into a single timeline). On the other hand, case management is often applied to specific areas or cases where an unstructured approach is required to achieve the desired outcome. Picking the right approach to use between these two typically depends on the type of business process, the role of the knowledge worker within the process, and context.
In comparing Workflow vs Case Management, it is important to understand that both frameworks are needed to handle vital processes within an organization. While workflow and BPM tools handle structured processes such as purchase requests, case management solutions deal with unstructured ones like claims or incident management. Hence, when considering technology solutions to handle businesses, one of the critical things to look out for is the ability to handle both workflow and case management use cases. Kissflow Workflow is a tool that helps you leverage both methods to attain your goals.