ADJD creates justice system

Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has completed the first phase in deploying it’s new public prosecution management system, which was built inhouse to handles processes across all of its entities and stakeholders in the justice system in the Emirate.

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ADJD creates justice system Al Dhaheri: A fully integrated system to serve all of the stakeholders had not been achieved in judiciary systems before ADJD PPS.
By  Mark Sutton Published  November 20, 2013

Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has completed the first phase in deploying it’s new public prosecution management system, which was built inhouse to handles processes across all of its entities and stakeholders in the justice system in the Emirate.

For most large organisations looking for software solutions today, the maturity of the market means there is usually a solution already built to meet their needs. With specialised, tailored systems, add-on functionality for specific verticals and dedicated teams of subject matter experts, vendors prescribe their own vertical solutions and expertise.

When Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) needed a new solution to manage the criminal prosecution process however, it was faced with a lack of out-of-the-box solutions and very little domain experience among the IT communities related to the legal sector. ADJD decided that the solution was to build its own application. The organisation also realised that for a system handling critical data, such as legal documents, it would need to create a best-of-breed system based on a wide range of different stakeholder requirements, develop the skills to create and maintain the application in-house, and deliver a platform that would enable it to meet future growth requirements and high level government aims for integrated e-government.

ADJD was founded in 2007 to take on responsibility for running the judiciary in Abu Dhabi, including the courts, public prosecution, judicial services and administration. ADJD started with an ambitious project in mind, namely developing a single system that would serve all of the needs of its different business units, and provide a platform for future integration with upcoming e-government projects.

The aim for the new Public Prosecution Management System (PPS), would be to automate all of the business processes of criminal prosecution management, to improve work flow, increase transparency and enable a proper audit trail and reduce manual processes to eliminate errors. An initial problem faced by ADJD was the lack of out of the box solutions available for the legal sector, and a lack of external expertise in the justice domain, meaning that the emphasis would have to be on in-house development. This approach would mean a strong focus on including non-technical business experts in the process of designing the system, to ensure that the needs of the stakeholders were properly addressed.

The initial phases of the project, which began in 2010, also encouraged ADJD to be ambitious in its goals for the project, according to Rashed Saqer Obaid Al Dhaheri, Director, Information Technology Bureau, Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.

“Before we started development, we went with our management to see leading areas in this field, in Singapore and Ireland, and we noticed from the technology perspective that they were using different models of systems to link the whole picture of their entities, each one had its own system, some on different languages, which all had to be integrated. We said let us come up with an integrated system, with a workflow mechanism that will help the whole process — that was our target,” he explained.

The PPS would serve 18 different organisational units in the justice process, across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region, with automation of over 30 major processes across the lifecycle of the criminal case prosecution management from case initiation, petitions, registration, investigation and evidence, case handling decisions, court referrals and executions of court orders and judgments. The development process would also require input and integration from other entities, such as the Police, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA), to ensure that it could meet their future requirements.

ADJD selected Oracle Siebel Public Sector Case Management as the foundation platform, to expand and customise solutions from there, preferring a best of breed approach than sourcing other vendor solutions. The PPS would be the first ever prosecution management system built on the Siebel module, and ADJD said it selected it based on its robust workflow and integration capability, extensible data-model and highly configurable user interface, which would give the flexibility to adapt and integrate it to meet new functions.

Given the lack of domain expertise outside of ADJD’s own non-technical staff, the project adopted a highly iterative approach, using storyboarding and prototyping to communicate clearly with the business users throughout the development process.

“Our first approach was not to just go ahead and develop the system — there is a methodology in development. We brought the business in, and we started iterating the business processes, we started seeing where we can minimise the processes, we did a lot of workshops with the business entities, to optimise the business process,” Al Dhaheri said.

“In the traditional development model you do requirements, document, build, whereas we realised that we have got this very specific domain, we need to get the business users involved directly in these storyboarding sessions, where you literally draw the images, screenshots and map the process flows, get quick feedback, build it out, show it again and again until we get it right, because we can’t get it wrong, the first time we launch something the execution has to be spot on.”

The ADJD techno-functional team was supported by its system integrators to provide development assistance, while an onsite and offshore model was adopted to control costs. This ‘right-sourcing’ approach limited the risk of exclusive dependency on any vendor resources.

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