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Blog 29/01/2014

Adaptive Case Management series – in action – part 5

In action

Process flow

Just as you can examine the process flow of a specific BPM instance, a case instance audit trail is also available in the Enterprise Manager console. Like a BPM or BPEL process an ACM project is just another component within a composite and can be inspected accordingly. Unlike BPM where you can also view the process flow yet to come, ACM does not offer this possibility, due to the fact that there’s no known predefined path according to which the case will develop. This adds it a bit of complexity to the manageability of ACM, because you never really know in which state of the overal process the case is currently in.

The picture below gives an example of a flow trace according to the WABO process we talked about in these blog series.

Case Flow

Case Flow

As one can see in the flow, after the case creation a business rule started the BPM process StartUpProcess (automatic activity). Furthermore the FrontDeskTask (human activity) started in parallel. After both activities ended, a business rule was triggered and started the BouwvergunningProcess (automatic activity).
To test the adaptivity of ACM we tried to redeploy a new version of the case over an existing one with running instances and were met with partial success. Minor changes can be added on the fly, but eg. adding a new activity to a case breaks running instances.


We’ve come a long way in this series and tried to show you a little of the power of ACM. We showed you a few useful techniques to use when building a case in ACM. The business rules component got the better part of our focus, because we think it’s what makes ACM so flexible compared to e.g. classic BPM.
There’s also a lot of things we haven’t showed you. One reason for this is that ACM and BPM just offer too much functionality to cover all of it in a couple of blog posts. Furthermore, at the time of the original writing documentation was sparse and a lot of things had to be built by trial and error. Luckily a lot of documentation and blog posts on ACM are starting to appear. A good starting point e.g. is the blog series on ACM by Mark Foster.
Another important component missing at the time of the original writing was a default graphical user interface to manage the case in progress. The only option available at that time was a custom GUI built upon the Case Management API. Luckily this situation has improved and a default GUI is available as a patch for download.
ACM in its current incarnation is still a little buggy though. Adding a new activity to a case on the fly for one doesn’t seem to work right now. With 12c on the horizon, we think that a lot of these things will improve and ACM will become a lot more mature.

All in all, we think ACM is a worthy and important addition to BPM. It brings real case management to the table, a feature that will appeal to a lot of organisations out there.

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