Key Differences between IBM BPM Process Management & Case Management

IBM Business Process manager (BPM) advanced v8.5.5 is now offering basic Case management in its BPM Suite. The basic case management solution is derived from one of the IBM’s offerings called “Case Manager”. It also includes an embedded content repository whose usage is restricted to support the basic case management documents & folders. The restricted use of this content repository can be extended to support unlimited content management use cases with IBM ECM.

Key Differences between Process Management & Case Management

Below are some of the key differences between business process management and case management.

Business Process Management:

  • Used for process management
  • Used by process owners who may or may not completed knowledge of the process.
  • Contains ordered set of activities (activities are wired to each other)
  • Activities occur in predictable order with next step decided by the process

Case Management:

  • Used for problem management
  • Used by the owners who have complete knowledge of the process (Knowledge workers) with an ability to initiative required  tasks in an ad-hoc manner?
  • Contains unordered set of activities (activities are not wired to each other)
  • Activities occur in unpredictable order based on human (knowledge worker) decision and preconditions

Some Key Concepts Involved in Case Management

Case Type: 

A Case type defines the activities and might use document types to support the activity. Case types also specify the teams that must complete the activities to solve a business problem.


A case is an instance of a case type.

Document Type: 

A Document type helps us to organize and classify the documents that belong to a case. We can provide more information about the documents by assigning properties to the document type.


A case type can contain preconditions. A precondition determines the action to take if particular conditions are met in a case. We can use preconditions to determine process routing.


A case contains activities. An activity in a case is a discrete task that can be completed by a person or a system as part of that case. We can implement an activity as a user task, which is a client-side human service, a subprocess, or a linked process.

From the development perspective process design is done in process designer whereas case management design can be done in web designer.

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