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Adaptive Case Management as a Process of Construction of and Movement in a State Space


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Despite having a number of years of experience, adaptive case management (ACM) still does not have a theory that would differentiate it from other paradigms of business process management and support. The known attempts to formalize Case Management do not seem to help much in creating an approach that could be useful in practice. This paper suggests an approach to building such a theory based on generalization of what is used in practice on one hand and the state-oriented view on business processes on the other. In practice, ACM systems use a number of ready-made templates that are picked up and filled as necessary for the case. State-oriented view considers a process instance/case as a point moving in a specially constructed state space. The paper suggests to consider a case template as a definition of a sub-space and piking different template on the fly as constructing the state space along with moving in it when filling the template. The result is similar to what in control theory is considered a state space with variable numbers of dimensions. Beside suggestions to building a theory, the paper demonstrates the usage of the theory on an example.

Published in: Business, Technology

Adaptive Case Management as a Process of Construction of and Movement in a State Space

  1. 1. DSV SU/IbisSoft 1 Adaptive Case Management as a Process of Construction of and Movement in a State Space Ilia Bider - IbisSoft/DSV SU, Stockholm, Sweden Amin Jalali, Jens Ohlsson- DSV SU Stockholm, Sweden Pre-proceedings: Presentation at the workshop on “Adaptive Case Management and Other Non- workflow approaches to BPM”, Graz, Austria, September 2013
  2. 2. DSV SU/IbisSoft 2 Goal with presentation Outline a theory/model that can be used for analysis, comparison and development of ACM systems. Why do we need a theory 1. “There is nothing more practical than a good theory” - Kurt Levin 2. Existing theories are activities/task based, which does not satisfies the needs of ACM Why the latter is not satisfactory?
  3. 3. DSV SU/IbisSoft 3 Activity-based CM theory outline VS … From “Case handling: a new paradigm for business process support” Activity is an integrated part and cannot be excluded from the CM/ACM system
  4. 4. DSV SU/IbisSoft 4 … VS Non-activity-based CM outline A CM system does not mandatory need to support activities/tasks/ operations Supporting progress of reaching goals and producing results has enough value on its own
  5. 5. DSV SU/IbisSoft 5 Corresponds to practice - form/template based CM Application Form Decision- making Form Decision delivery Form Application/Decision-making/ Decision Delivery Form Quite common in Swedish municipalities and other public offices
  6. 6. DSV SU/IbisSoft 6 Example of a form How a theory for form based CM and ACM should look like? A form for BBiC case – social office of a Swedish municipalities
  7. 7. DSV SU/IbisSoft 7 Background for the theory: state- oriented view on business processes Main notions (borrowed from the dynamical systems theory) • Process instance - a trajectory in a multidimensional state space (+time) • Process type/model – a set of allowed trajectories in the state space (+time) • Goal - an end point of an allowed trajectory • Activity –movement in the state space directed towards the goal
  8. 8. DSV SU/IbisSoft 8 Illustration of the main notions • For each item Ordered = Delivered • To pay = Total + Freight + Tax • Ordered > Delivered shipment • To pay > Invoiced invoicing • Invoiced = To pay • Paid = Invoiced State space Goal definition Activities
  9. 9. DSV SU/IbisSoft 9 Advantages of state-oriented view • Allows both imperative and constraint-based definition of a process-type. • Imperative – specify a set of valid trajectories via chain of movements • Constraint-based – forbid movements between certain points of the state space • Provide a tool of determining the progress achieved in the process instance independently of how it was historically achieved • Can serve as a basis for developing process support system that does not understand the notion of activity. Defining a process state and its visualization give the user possibility to track the progress of each case
  10. 10. DSV SU/IbisSoft 10 Using state-oriented view as a theoretical backing of the form- based CM/ACM • Possible to use in the following manner: • Forms – visualization of the state space. • Fields – visualization of dimensions • Problems with Adaptive Case Management : • there can be many different forms related to the process type, while only few is used for any particular instance/case • The same form can be used multiple times • Solution – consider the state space not fixed but constructed on the fly during the process instance/case life span
  11. 11. DSV SU/IbisSoft 11 Example: Course occasion in DSV SU Forms to fill during preparation and giving a course Could be a first occasion of a completely new course or a regular occasion of an existing course
  12. 12. DSV SU/IbisSoft 12 Example of a form Form for lecture/lesson
  13. 13. DSV SU/IbisSoft 13 A course case in progress Legend: • Blue – filled form • Green – partially filled form • White – form that can be filled • Gray – form that cannot be filled as yet Restrictions on filling forms Form synchronizations
  14. 14. DSV SU/IbisSoft 14 Synchronization Form for lecture/lesson Synchronized form for teacher feedback
  15. 15. DSV SU/IbisSoft 15 Specifying restrictions A matrix that specifies dependencies between the forms
  16. 16. DSV SU/IbisSoft 16 Specifying synchronization A matrix that specifies synchronization between the forms
  17. 17. DSV SU/IbisSoft 17 Interpretation from state-oriented view Each form specifies a fragment of the state space
  18. 18. DSV SU/IbisSoft 18 Interpretation from state-oriented view • Field - a dimension of a state space • Form – a fragment of the state space • Picking a form - adding a fragment to the overall state-space of the given process instance/case • Filling a form - moving in the sub-space defined by a form • Form synchronization - restrictions on construction of the state space (an example – there can be others) • Restrictions on the order of filling forms – restrictions on movements in the overall state-space Summary handling a case in ACM is constructing and moving in the state space
  19. 19. DSV SU/IbisSoft 19 Possible usage & work to-do Usage: • Building ACM systems and/or tools for ACM system development • Analyzing the existing ACM tools and systems, e.g.: • Whether they support form synchronization • Whether they supports restrictions on movement and which types To-do: • List of useful restrictions on state-space construction and movement (similar to the workflow patterns)
  20. 20. DSV SU/IbisSoft 20 Thank you for your attention! Q & A Ilia Bider, DSV SU/IbisSoft Email: