Case Management in a CRM: pros & cons


Nowadays most customer relationship management (CRM) solutions also offer a form of case management. Because of this trend we sometimes receive the question why organizations need a dedicated solution for (adaptive) case management?

In this blog we will look at the way CRM packages support case management, and when this may be a good fit for your use case.

How do CRMs define case management?

When you see how leading CRM providers describe their case management capabilities, one thing quickly becomes clear: they all define case management in a similar way.

  • “Using case management software, businesses can automatically collect and organize customer interactions into one easy place. The best customer support software goes beyond simple case management”
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM: “MS Dynamics Cases are, most commonly used in help desk scenarios, in which a customer has an issue with a product or service; the activities to resolve the issue need to be tracked in an organized manner from when the issue was first reported to resolution of the issue.”
  • SugarCRM: “Route Cases and their escalation status to the appropriate customer support agents and ensure timely resolution. Track resolution times across accounts and agents.”
  • Zoho CRM: “In general, case trouble tickets are used to capture customer feedback on various types of issues that arise after purchasing a product or service from your company..”

As you can see most CRM solutions, logically, only define case management from a customer’s point of view!

This is a quite narrow definition of case management for specific service/helpdesk applications.

When is CRM case management a good fit?

Quite a few organizations use CRM solutions with great results. Personally, we are a big fan of CRM. Our sales, marketing, and customer success teams use Salesforce. For quite a lot of use cases, the functionality provided by a CRM may be all you ever need.

If you can tick the following boxes then the basic case management functionality for solving and tracking customer (support) requests/tickets will do just fine:

  1. All your customer data is centrally managed and available in your CRM
  2. Your organization offers products and/or services directly to these customers
  3. Cases typically follow a fixed path from opening until resolution
  4. All stakeholders collaborating on these cases (customer success, technical support, IT, etc.) have access to the information in your CRM

When to opt for a dedicated ACM solution?

The simple answer: Once organizations hit the limits of what is possible with their CRM. Often this happens when there are specific needs or requirements, due to the nature of the process.

Here are some examples of case management where governments and companies turn to a dedicated Adaptive Case Management solution:

  • The subject of a case is a more complex business operation, for example: construction permits, subsidy requests, or adoption cases.
  • Case workers need to be guided and supported by an adaptive event-driven workflow to streamline and plan work, for example: legal dispute resolution, control & inspection, fraud investigation.
  • There is no central CRM, or contacts/citizens are not kept in the CRM, for example: An expat logs in for the first time through an online govt. portal.

In such cases it becomes very tricky to use of the standard functionality offered by CRM-based case management. Often organizations then customize their CRM resulting in a solution that is harder to maintain and update.

Specifically for Government, complexity increases exponentially. Just imagine aligning all different policy domains and related organizations to adapt one CRM? Each government organization also has it’s unique way of handling specific types of cases, given the legal framework.

Instead of wasting a lot of time and money trying to wrangle your CRM into something it was never meant to do, it is best to look at proven solutions designed specifically to handle case management.
Don’t just take our word for it: Let’s take a look at what Gartner said about Ground lion in their 2015 Cool Vendor report.


Customer Relationship Management software is amazing at keeping track of your customer interactions over time. It’s also amazing for sales and marketing departments to follow-up on their sales process, manage the ‘funnel’, and target different groups of customers. For any business a well-oiled CRM is indispensable!

However, there are stark limitations on the ‘case management’ side. Once your organization wants to use the CRM for complex processes that require knowledge workers to navigate different event-driven stages, you will quickly hit the limits of those systems. Lucky for you we are here to help!

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