The business world often looks at Enterprise Architecture (EA) with a sceptical eye, but in an ‘eye-opening’ result, it was EA that laid the foundation for the successful implementation of the Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS).
The success of using Enterprise Architecture (EA) in large change and innovation projects, are quite often debated. The IECMS is a perfect example of how successful system implementation can be contributed to the usage of EA. The IECMS has won international awards and has now been operational for long enough to observe a definite indication of success.
According to Jean-Louis Kaliningondo, ICT advisor for JRLOS (Justice, Reconciliation, Law and Orders Sector), the EA work that was done by Knotion played a crucial role in determining the IECMS project requirements and scope.
“Without it, the project would not have been understood by the Justice Sector stakeholders and may not have been started in the first place, let alone be this successful,” he said.
It all started with an Enterprise Architectural design.
Access to justice is a basic principle of the rule of law. In the absence of access to justice, people are unable to have their voices heard, exercise their rights, challenge discrimination or hold decision-makers accountable. For the Judiciary of Rwanda, it became clear that innovative judicial transformation, ensuring delivery of fair and timely justice, was required. A critical part of the reforms involved introducing innovations and incorporating best practices.
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) decided to use TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework) as the framework for EA. They issued a tender for the provision of TOGAF training for the RDB staff, and Knotion won the bid. Marius Snel, Chief Executive Officer and Owner of Knotion, delivered the TOGAF training as well as Knotion’s Advanced EA training course.
“It was such a wonderful experience training 20 people – all eager to learn and gain knowledge,” said Snel.
“As a first-time visitor to Rwanda, the country and its people exceeded all my expectations.”
Following the success of the training, another tender was issued. This time for the implementation of TOGAF as a framework for the government and the testing of this framework on a large innovative solution.
Knotion was successful once again, being awarded as the selected company to develop the Rwanda Government Enterprise Architecture (RGEA) framework – a customised version of TOGAF. JRLOS was chosen as the first test of the usage of the framework. The Judiciary was at the core of service delivery challenges, and therefore the key environment within the project.
At the time when Knotion started consulting with the RDB in 2013 “there were police stations that did not even have a computer, and prisoners with no record of when the individual was first incarcerated, their exact offence or sentence,” recalls Snel. In a case study on the IECMS, featured in the South African Public-Sector Innovation Journal, Regis Rukundakuvuga and Niceson Karungi explained that this resulted in a judiciary that operated blindly without proper goals and a clear vision, which had to perpetually deal with serious backlogs in case management, with no valid data on court performance.
Having a system where the justice chain could be tracked from the inception of a case to its final adjudication was only part of the solution, they needed “a single view of the offender’s ‘journey’,” added Snel.
Following the design of such a solution was a system that integrated five institutions of the justice sector. These are the Judiciary, The Ministry of Justice, The National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA), the Criminal Investigations Department (Police) and the Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS).
The main objective was establishing an integrated flow of information between all five institutions. To achieve this, Knotion used RGEA, to develop the strategic and solutions architecture for the award-winning IECMS.
The process began with an extensive review of the justice system in the country. In the same case study, Rukundakuvuga and Karungi said: “The review covered many critical areas, including the way in which institutions of justice were configured, how courts were structured, procedural laws, accountability of courts and the leadership, amongst others.”
The team of business, data, application, technology architects, project manager and Snel as lead architect and thought leader, spent many hours interviewing, analysing, understanding processes and information flows. The result of the review process was the creation of the business architecture alongside the review. It was, therefore, a mission underway to understand the current processes but also what the future process should look like. Not only did Knotion review and understand the current, they also began the re-design at the same time.
With the current understanding of the environment, processes and information flow, Knotion could define the application components and develop the solution architecture. Knotion saw how technology and applications could support this. In the solution architecture, Knotion translated the processes into use cases, concluding with a complete solution design for the IECMS.
The judiciary now had a full understanding of both the current environment and the target state.
“The one key consideration in this entire process was that the justice sector consisted of five institutions, each with their own mandate. The result had to work across all five while allowing them to operate independently within each department,” said.
To achieve this, Knotion created a solution that could be replicated between five institutions while sharing information between them. The solution concluded in a final design, offering the chosen developer (Synergy International Systems) the capacity to develop something that could indeed be customised and replicated across the five institutions.
Knotion provided Synergy with the master plan that led to the development of the IECMS, enabling them to develop and then configure it for each institution, depending on their specific functions and processes.
According to Kaliningondo, who also served as Project Manager for the IECMS implementation, the greatest benefit was the huge mindset change it generated.
“When leaders saw the proposed solution architecture, they realised how feasible and beneficial the IECMS would be. It simply opened their eyes.”
The nine-month project was the foundation of the IECMS which was deployed within the Rwanda Judiciary in January 2016. The IECMS has advantages to all the sector institutions and particularly for the Judiciary.
Rukundakuvuga and Karungi described the IECMS as a highly versatile system that incorporates numerous features to facilitate the filing and follow up of cases for litigants, case processing by court staff, notification mechanisms to inform litigants and court staff of case proceedings, a robust reporting module, and many other benefits.
The IECMS received a prestigious Top Ten Court Technology Solution Award in 2017 and the previous year, the Judiciary of Rwanda won the prestigious continental public management gold trophy for EFS-IECMS as the best demonstration of innovative public management in Africa from among 51 innovative projects presented from 13 countries. The award was organised by the African Association of Public Administration Management (AAPAM).
Snel said: “It is extremely rewarding to know that the enterprise architecture and solution architecture work done by Knotion was the foundation of the success of the IECMS.”
Snel offers the following advice to any company doing a large business transformation or strategy implementation project: “There may be an initial expense to prepare the design and while many individuals may not understand or recognise the value thereof, the success is undeniable when looking back.”
Using Knotion’s customised EA framework, resulted in the successful development of the IECMS. Knotion prepared a master plan which provided Synergy with a final solution architecture enabling them to develop an archetype that can be customised and replicated for each of the five institutions. The result was that the IECMS, a digital way of handling cases.
It started with a design and ended with the IECMS which is welcomed by lawyers internationally. Further to the awards it has achieved, the International Journal for Court Administration described the level of utilisation as ‘remarkable’.
“If applied correctly EA can be applied in many different ways and the IECMS is just another example of what can be achieved with EA,” said Snel.
“This is just another example of how Knotion aims to fulfil its corporate vision of making a difference in Africa.”