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Workflow, BPM & Case Management: What’s the Difference?

Workflow, Business Process Management (BPM), and Case Management: What’s the Difference?

More than ever, the management of processes is a critical factor in executing agency strategy, and close attention is being paid to this vital practice. This article aims to clarify the differences between the three disciplines: workflow, BPM, and case management, and resolving how they apply to the management of business processes.


When my team uses the term workflow, we often refer to the product, Laserfiche Workflow. Or to a particular workflow built within Laserfiche’s Workflow Designer. To that end, a workflow identifies the state and course of information across a business process. Hence a workflow is a subgroup of a business process. Workflow focuses on the order and predictability of a process within a single system and the management of information flow across the various tasks. Its goal is scaling and optimization.

Business Process Management

The definition of BPM I really like was written by Nathaniel Palmer and reads:

“A discipline involving any combination of modeling, automation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of business activity flows, in support of enterprise goals, spanning systems, employees, customers, and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries.”

Also, BPM is a high-level, standard approach that doesn’t focus much on processes with complexity or uncertainty. Experts would add that BPM is a technique that focuses on monitoring the process, identifying what can be modified to improve it, and implementing it. Finally, workflows are tools used to enforce and enable business process management.

Case Management

A case is a group of documents that goes through a set of processes to a formal disposition. Case management handles sets of interrelated business processes in order to achieve a particular agency objective. The focus here is on less structured (or loosely coupled) processes. Case management is well-suited to complex cases where human interaction and decision-making is required. Our upcoming webinar is essentially a case management process which is built on three business processes, contract management, redaction management, and records management. You’ll see that context drives the sequence of actions and decisions are made based on each step’s realized results. Information availability from countless inputs becomes the main driver for achieving results. If we were to give this case management a name, we would suggest, vendor management.



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