Court Information Systems Division New Direction

The Court Information Systems (CIS) Division has expanded its use of agile methodologies in order to break down organizational silos and fulfill its customer-driven vision for the AOC. In December 2021, the CIS Division revised its strategic initiatives plan in order to focus on two goals: building a new court-management solution and providing supporting to the courts using our current systems.

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Contexte is built on Oracle Forms, an outdated technology that results in a case-management system that is difficult to navigate, difficult to learn, and increasingly difficult to support.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 system from the ground up. In 2021, a CIS Division team was dedicated to laying the groundwork for a new-court management solution.

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 is essential, but planning is impracticable  because CIS staff time is spent on only the most immediate problems, such as responding to every customer’s request to quickly resolve technology-related issues––regardless of criticality. CIS staff members have indicated that, as a result, they do not have the time or the resources to research and identify ways to improve process efficiency. The current lack of automated processes for routine tasks, such as testing, results in bottlenecks. It also gives rise to unnecessary staff overhead, inaccurate work estimates for assigned tasks, and unreliable metrics to measure employee performance.