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Chapter 1. Case management

Case management is an extension of Business Process Management (BPM) that enables you to manage adaptable business processes.

BPM is a management practice for automating tasks that are repeatable and have a common pattern, with a focus on optimization by perfecting a process. Business processes are usually modeled with clearly defined paths leading to a business goal, often with a starting point that is structurally connected to build an end-to-end flow of work and data. This requires a lot of predictability, usually based on mass-production principles. However, many real-world applications cannot be described completely from start to finish (including all possible paths, deviations, and exceptions). Moreover, using a process-oriented approach in certain cases may lead to complex solutions that are hard to maintain.

Case management provides problem resolution for non-repeatable, unpredictable processes as opposed to the efficiency-oriented approach of BPM for routine, predictable tasks. It manages one-off situations when the process cannot be predicted in advance. Case definition usually consists of loosely coupled process fragments that can be connected directly or indirectly to lead to certain milestones and ultimately a business goal, while the process is managed dynamically in response to changes that occur during run time.

In Red Hat Process Automation Manager, case management includes the following core process engine features:

  • Case file instance
  • A Per case runtime strategy
  • Case comments
  • Milestones
  • Stages
  • Ad hoc fragments
  • Dynamic tasks and processes
  • Case identifier (correlation key)
  • Case lifecycle (close, reopen, cancel, destroy)

In Red Hat Process Automation Manager, case management authoring uses Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN2) rather than Case Management Model and Notation (CMMN) for both modeling and execution. This means that there is no need to choose between BPM or case management; you can use both, taking advantage of your existing knowledge of BPM, while also benefiting from the dynamic capabilities of case management.

Case definition is always an ad hoc process definition and does not require an explicit start node. The case definition is the main entry point for the business use case.

Process definition can still be introduced as a supporting construct of the case and can be invoked either as defined in the case definition or dynamically to bring in additional processing when required. A case definition defines the following new objects, though they are not all mandatory or required for every case:

  • Activities (required)
  • Case file (required)
  • Milestones
  • Roles
  • Stages