Business Process Management (BPM) and Case Management solutions incorporate processes, business rules, forms, data models, document handling, and system integration. They also use the same infrastructure and overall architecture. As a result, there is some confusion in the marketplace about products to use to streamline and automate these workflow-driven scenarios.
Below I try to define each:
The overarching objective of BPM is to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness. Organizations use BPM Suites (BPMS) to build composite applications that streamline (eliminate wasted activities) and automate (reduce time) targeted human and system-driven work. Activities are generally defined, but may include ad-hoc interactions and/or dynamic collaboration. Applications combine business rules (e.g. policies, procedures, roles, responsibilities, routing, escalations, deadlines, SLAs), forms (e.g., layouts, data capture, data validations, dynamic questions), data models, content/document handling, data repositories, system integration, and user interfaces to enable user access and system administration. Benefits include visibility into all work-related objects (i.e. activities, data, documents, responses, correspondence) to enable continuous process improvement and rapid change management. Explicit rules enforce compliance.
The overarching objective of Case Management is to better organize work (i.e., actions, decisions) and associated content (i.e., data, documents, correspondence) to successfully complete a specific business outcome (i.e., settlement in legal investigation, response to service request, payment to claim). Work efficiency and effectiveness are secondary to making the right decision. Work activities are more context-driven. They range from highly defined to completely dynamic based on who is asking, why are they asking it, what are they asking for, who can make a decision, and what materials are needed to make the decision. Rules may often change due to new regulation (e.g. tax codes) and market fluctuations (e.g. interest rates). As a result, relationships among work objectives evolve more over time. Work activities may have many discrete options and require intense collaboration. Like BPM, Case Management applications provide visibility into group work and associated content. Content may need to be changed/edited as decisions are made.
Leveraging BPMS for Case Management
You can use BPMS to design and build both BPM and Case Management applications. The BPMS must support both structured (highly defined) and dynamic (unstructured, non-routine, unexpected, situational) work interactions, attachments of various content types (i.e., structured data such as name and date of birth, unstructured data such as scanned documents and video files), and commentary/collaboration among users. Often BPM Suites need to be integrated with Document Management Systems to support version control of documents.