ACM and DCM again

I’ve been prompted to post this by some very kind and positive comments on a statement I made on a LinkedIn discussion on the difference between Adaptive Case Management (ACM) and Dynamic Case Management (DCM).

Given the positive comments I thought I would repost my comment on this blog:

DCM sets out a sequence of steps to achieve a goal, the dynamic nature is met through business rules which are understood at the time of modelling the process. ACM is much less prescriptive on the sequence of activities but is much more focussed on achieving the end goal, it understands that there are unknowns in the business process which will change and allows for these changes.

David was the first to comment on this on his blog and then I received a positive note back from a former colleague on Twitter. Niall made an interesting point that my comment demonstrated the difference between the order of DCM and the entropy of ACM.

It is a shame that the original LinkedIn discussion degenerated into a personal conflict and the comments I made above were somewhat lost in the discussion. I would though point you at a follow up discussion which attempts to bring clarity to the discussion. However I feel this later discussion just adds further fud to the matter and is likely to drive potential consumers to distraction. Take for example the description of ACM as an UN-solution!

Why do I think this? Customers don’t care whether they buy ACM or DCM, they care about how the solution will meet their needs. From the typically prescriptive process of Claims Management in Insurance to the more ad-hoc and unpredictable nature of Criminal Investigations (admittedly with specific business goals within the life of the Case).

My advice, don’t implement based on the label. Understand what you’re trying to achieve and assess the solutions and options which are available to you. Its not rocket science!


2 thoughts on “ACM and DCM again

  1. Hi Lee, I disagree with both descriptions. I do agree that the conflict (which was I unfortunately and as moderator of the group unavoidably involved in) was not productive. I do further agree that the acronym lables are neither helpful not that important, but as it happens analysts, consultants and buyers seem to like them. But that does not make the distinction to flowcharting-style BPMS less relevant. The kind of DCM decribed above is basically normal BPM logic and it doesn’t even include the ad-hoc nature that DCM should at least include.

    While ACM should be focused on achieving goals any way necessary:
    1) It is not just much less prescriptive, but the performers can create/adapt/add goals, tasks, resources, delegate to new performers, and be constrained by business rules. measured against targets and and voted upon in how it achieves outcomes.
    2) The adaptive nature means that all of the above activities (which once completed represent a REAL AS-IS process) can be saved by the performer or the process owner to reflect reusable process fragments linked to goal achievement.

    Am I happy about the UN-solution moniker? No. But I don’t see it as negative either. Keith is trying to say (I think) that it is not so much about the complete functionality but about a principle approach that he describes as flexible but more managable than sending work around by email attachements. Also BPM people say similar things that it is not about the technology. It is unfortunately about rocket science for the technology implementation of the infrastructure but it must be extremely easy to use for the business user to create processes himself as they happen.

    Your advice is good advice: Don’t implement by the label but verify needs and expected benefits!

    • Thanks for the comments Max.

      Interesting that you say the kind of DCM described in my quote is normal BPM logic, I agree with that and it is one of my issues with the Forrester Wave which has really coined the term. I have looked in a little more detail at some of the products contained within that report and this is what they offer, known business rules which are modelled into a business process which can provide a level of dynamism. I don’t think they provide the ad-hoc nature that you say DCM should include.

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