Statement of Responsibilities
The CIS Division is responsible for acquiring, developing, enhancing, implementing, and supporting court technologies for the State’s courts. The Division is responsible for desktop and network support for the appellate courts and agencies in the Justice Building as well as remote sites for staff of the AOC, Office of Professional Conduct, Office of Professional Programs, and Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program. The Division provides applications for case management, jury management, attorney management, electronic filing, online public access, online payment, online jury interaction, and the Judiciary Website. In addition to the applications, CIS has worked with several agencies to develop data sharing interfaces with other agency systems. CIS maintains the infrastructure and security to support the systems and services provided, and the Division provides training, education, and help desk support for the thousands of users of the court management systems. The Division provides project management expertise to the Division and AOC to ensure successful delivery of technology projects. The Division hosts an annual ACAP Systems Conference for the customers who use the AOC-provided systems. Beginning in 2022, the CIS Division is discontinuing the roll out case and jury management applications to courts around the state in order to focus on modernizing the systems upon which the courts, justice agencies, and law enforcement rely. The AOC has an extraordinary opportunity to build a best-of-breed court management solution, and by narrowly focusing our strategy, we expect to be able to delight our customers.
Replace the Arkansas Court Automation Programs (ACAP)
Contexte is built on Oracle Forms, an outdated technology that results in a case-management system that is difficult to navigate, difficult to learn, and increasingly difficult to support. The eFiling system is provided by a third-party vendor and is not updated regularly with new features expected by customers. The Juror for Windows system, although simpler to navigate, is nearly impossible to support because of its development platform. The vendor has been unable to provide a modern replacement, and acquiring a new system is unaffordable. iMIS was acquired to replace multiple attorney-management systems. Although the application achieves the goal of unifying attorney management within one system, it is very limited in capabilities, and to contract with the vendor for modifications is expensive. Many courts refuse to use the case- and jury-management systems because of their complexity. Jury-, case-, and attorney-management data reside in separate databases, and much of the information is duplicated or must be re-entered. Increasingly, the courts and the public expect to interact with court systems intuitively according to their personal experience with modern applications, including full functionality from mobile devices. Avenu has been unable to provide a path to modernization. After carefully evaluating the option of modernizing Contexte, the CIS Division determined that the best path forward to a uniform court-management solution would be to build a new, modern, secure, intuitive, court management system for all Arkansas courts while decreasing resources assigned to support AOC legacy systems.
Improve Operations Management
The CIS Division is too often reactive instead of proactive because, although the number of courts and users are increasing, the size of the staff has not increased proportionately. As a result, the level of service to our customers has decreased. Operations planning to improve efficiency would help, but planning is difficult because of a tendency to focus only on the most immediate problems. CIS staff feel there is not enough time or resources to explore improving processes to increase efficiency because of the desire to quickly resolve all customer issues regardless of criticality. The lack of automated processes for routine tasks, such as testing, results in bottlenecks and more staff overhead. Employees have difficulty providing work estimates for many assigned tasks. The Division lacks reliable metrics to measure performance. Employees don’t feel empowered to invoke change. Staff locations in multiple buildings, outdated and unclear procedures, and an underlying fear of making mistakes reinforces a culture of siloes. AOC staff has extensive valuable experience that is difficult to replace when employees depart.