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


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.


DSV SU/IbisSoft
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
Presentation at the workshop on “Adaptive Case Management and Other Non-
workflow approaches to BPM”, Graz, Austria, September 2013
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Goal with presentation
Outline a theory/model that can be used for
analysis, comparison and development of ACM
Why do we need a theory
1. “There is nothing more practical than a good theory” – Kurt
2. Existing theories are activities/task based, which does not
satisfies the needs of ACM
Why the latter is not satisfactory?
DSV SU/IbisSoft
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
DSV SU/IbisSoft
… VS Non-activity-based CM outline
A CM system does
not mandatory need
to support
Supporting progress of
reaching goals and producing
results has enough value on
its own
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Corresponds to practice –
form/template based CM
Decision Delivery
Quite common in Swedish municipalities and other public offices
DSV SU/IbisSoft
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
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Background for the theory: state-
oriented view on business processes
Main notions (borrowed from the dynamical systems
• 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
DSV SU/IbisSoft
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
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Advantages of state-oriented view
• Allows both imperative and constraint-based definition of a
• Imperative – specify a set of valid trajectories via chain of
• 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
• 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
DSV SU/IbisSoft
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
DSV SU/IbisSoft
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
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Example of a form
Form for lecture/lesson
DSV SU/IbisSoft
A course case in progress
• 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
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Form for lecture/lesson
Synchronized form for
teacher feedback
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Specifying restrictions
A matrix that specifies dependencies between the forms
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Specifying synchronization
A matrix that specifies synchronization between the forms
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Interpretation from
state-oriented view
Each form specifies a
fragment of the state
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Interpretation from state-oriented
• 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
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Possible usage & work to-do
• 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
• List of useful restrictions on state-space construction and
movement (similar to the workflow patterns)
DSV SU/IbisSoft
Thank you for your attention!
Q & A
Ilia Bider, DSV SU/IbisSoft

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