AIIM industry watch: Case management and smart process applications

Smart Process Applications (SPAs), Intelligent Business Processes, Adaptive BPM: these are all terms applied to a new generation of applications that use computer intelligence to extract context-relevant information from the content associated with a business process, and use it to select, modify or re-direct the next steps in the workflow. One of its primary applications is in case management. Here the term “case” is used in its widest sense to refer to any process or project that has a defined beginning and end, where the process steps and outcome may change during the course of the process, and where associated content needs to be grouped and managed as a case-file or project-file. Applications can range from payment management, through contract bids, claims handling and loan origination, to traditional healthcare, crime or legal cases.

Historically, case management systems and indeed most BPM systems have been somewhat rigid in their workflows, lacking the ability to re-route as the case progresses – much like early satnavs, in fact. However, a completely free-to-change process definition could introduce shortfalls in compliance and may well be sub-optimum in terms of productivity. By adapting the process definition as the case progresses and doing so based on the content and context of documents incoming to the case, the process can be handled flexibly but compliance is still hard-wired.

This report takes an in-depth look at the applicability of smart process applications, the experience of early users, the drivers for improved case management, and the feature sets required of a modern case management system.