In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, organisations are continually seeking to optimise their operations through innovative solutions. It is often the case firms seek to automate legal process, especially in “high volume, low value areas” by the development of case management systems.

These systems promise streamlined processes, enhanced efficiency, and improved decision-making. Typically there are two approaches:

  1. an “off the shelf” package with unchangeable, predetermined workflows which are maintained by the supplier. Unless the type of work is very minimal most firms will reject these solutions as they cannot “personalise” the process to their refined working practices.
  2. a “case management engine / tool kit” which enables you to develop your own workflows based upon your developed best practice. Most historical mid-market PMS solutions (e.g. P4W, Linetime, SOS, Proclaim or ALB) support this approach.

However, the pursuit of creating an all-encompassing system can lead to a host of problems, ultimately undermining the very goals these systems aim to achieve. It is our observation that most firms who try to create a utopian case management solution will ultimately fail either to deliver to the vision, or over time, unless they are in the truly large scale, high volume, repeatable work market.

Business Challenges

Time Delays

In the fast-paced business world, time is of the essence. Over-developing a case management system can result in lengthy development and implementation cycles. These delays can hinder the deployment of the system, causing frustration among stakeholders who are eager to realise the benefits of the new technology.

Loss of Flexibility

Over time, business needs change, and so do the requirements of a case management system. Over-developing a system can lead to a rigid infrastructure that struggles to adapt to new challenges or evolving workflows. An overly complex system might be resistant to changes, making it cumbersome to introduce new features or functionalities.

Cost Overruns

The process of over-developing a case management system is often accompanied by unforeseen expenses. As the scope expands and additional features are integrated, the budget can spiral out of control. Development teams may find themselves allocating more resources than initially planned, both in terms of time and finances, to accommodate the increased complexity.

Cost of Ownership

A complex, over-developed solution will require more resources to maintain and develop than a more simplistic solution. Whilst the direct costs of such a solution may be minimal, the indirect costs of developers / trainers and staff time could be very significant.

Ineffective Reporting and Analytics

Clear and accurate reporting is vital for informed decision-making. Over-developed systems, however, can complicate the process of generating meaningful reports and analytics, hampering an organisation’s ability to glean insights from its data.

Inefficient Resource Allocation

Excessive development can drain resources from other critical areas of the organisation. This imbalance can lead to inefficiencies in resource allocation, affecting overall productivity and growth potential.

User Adoption Challenges

User Resistance

A well-designed case management system should enhance user experience and productivity. However, over-development can lead to a system that is overwhelming and challenging to navigate. Users might resist adopting the new system, favouring their old methods, and causing a disruption in workflows.

Increased Complexity

While complexity can offer sophistication, it also brings with it a range of challenges. Over-developed systems can be difficult to understand and use effectively. Employees may struggle to grasp the intricacies of the system, resulting in errors and reduced efficiency.

Higher Training Requirements

User training is a critical aspect of system implementation. However, an over-developed system can necessitate more extensive training efforts. Employees may struggle to grasp the system’s functionalities, leading to increased training time and resource allocation.

Lack of User-Focused Design

The core purpose of a case management system is to serve users’ needs efficiently. Over-development, however, can shift the focus away from user requirements. This can lead to a system that fails to address essential user needs, defeating the purpose of its implementation.

Decreased User Adoption

A system’s complexity can discourage user adoption. If employees find the system too difficult to use, they may resort to their previous methods, defeating the purpose of the new technology and resulting in a waste of resources.

Poor User Experience

User experience directly impacts user satisfaction and productivity. Overly complex systems can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction among users, potentially decreasing morale and overall efficiency.

Technical Challenges

Performance Issues

Excessive development can lead to unintended consequences, such as performance issues. A system burdened with unnecessary features and functionalities can become sluggish, leading to slow response times or even system crashes during peak usage.

Compatibility Challenges

Modern organisations rely on an ecosystem of interconnected software and systems. Over-developed case management systems can clash with other applications, causing integration problems and data inconsistencies. These compatibility challenges can undermine the seamless flow of information across the organisation.

Maintenance Difficulties

Maintaining a complex system requires specialised skills and resources. Over-developed systems may demand more attention, time, and expertise to address issues, implement updates, and ensure the overall health of the system. This can strain an organisation’s IT department and budget.

Elements of the system may become out of date and not fixed in a timely manner, further encouraging staff to find uncontrolled ‘work arounds’ to escape the prescribed process, and possibly any compliance features that are built into that process.

Reduced Scalability

Organisations are constantly growing and evolving. An over-developed system might lack the scalability required to accommodate future expansion or increased demand. This limitation can render the system obsolete sooner than expected, prompting costly redevelopment.

Data Security Risks

Complex systems can be more susceptible to security vulnerabilities. Over-developed case management systems might have intricate integrations that introduce potential entry points for cyberattacks, putting sensitive data at risk.

Limited Customisation

While customisation can be beneficial, over-development might limit an organisation’s ability to tailor the system to its unique processes. This lack of customisation can hinder the system’s effectiveness in addressing specific organisational requirements.

Higher Support and Helpdesk Load

Complex systems often generate more support requests. Users grappling with an intricate system may encounter difficulties and require assistance, placing an additional burden on the support and helpdesk teams.

Vendor Dependency

Customising a system extensively during development can create a heavy reliance on the vendor for ongoing support and updates. This dependency can limit an organisation’s autonomy and flexibility in managing and adapting the system.

Limited Future Adaptability

Technology evolves rapidly, and organisations must be prepared to adapt. Overdevelopment can make it challenging to incorporate new technologies or adjust to changing business needs, potentially rendering the system obsolete sooner than anticipated.


In conclusion, while the aspiration to create an all-encompassing case management system is understandable, the dangers associated with over-development are significant.

Organisations should approach system development with a clear understanding of their needs and priorities, focusing on achieving a balance between functionality and usability.

Striking this balance ensures that the case management system remains a valuable asset that empowers users and enhances organisational efficiency, without succumbing to the pitfalls of over-complexity.

Chris Winterburn

Chris Winterburn

01908 592 570

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