How a New Case Management System Improved Collaboration & Reporting at Montana DOJ

State-of-the-art tools from AdvoLogix on the Salesforce platform and improved business processes lead to significant time savings as well as better team collaboration and executive reporting

Montana's Department of Justice (DOJ) is a law enforcement agency whose primary goal is ensuring the safety and security of the people of the state of Montana. The DOJ also manages the Motor Vehicle and Gambling Control Divisions, among others.

The DOJ’s Legal Services Division (LSD) was looking to replace their eProsecutor system and other platforms to manage intake and case lifecycle. They needed to make sure all end users' technology needs were met while improving staff efficiency and productivity. Along with that, they also needed to ensure ready access to legal case data to support both current and future workload — all in the most efficient and cost beneficial way for the state.

The Challenge

Integrating and consolidating four DOJ bureaus into one platform during an agency-wide reorganization.

The Impact

Major pain points have been eliminated in invoicing and document management. The agency now has improved collaboration and new executive reporting capabilities.

The Outcome

Thanks to HIKE2 Solutions and Advisory Services, Montana DOJ has a system that can grow and provide greater ROI over time.

Modernization and Efficiency Goals

Montana's DOJ’s top priority was modernization. They had implemented another case management solution around 2015, but there was resistance to implementing any system. It was difficult to get momentum due to lack of buy-in.

As a result, the system was never fully implemented for four of their bureaus, and many never liked the system at all. The vendor was responsive to requests for bug fixes or questions, but when it came to enhancements or changes, their hands were often tied.

When the Montana DOJ got a new Attorney General and administration in January of 2021, one of their first goals was to get a new case management system. At the same time, the whole Attorney General's office was being reorganized, which made progress tricky.

The DOJ had to work within the state procurement rules but didn't want to go through a lengthy RFP process. If a particular tool is offered by an approved broker, they can purchase it right away. If there's an implementation vendor for that software — in this case, HIKE2 — they get a pass through. The project started in May 2021 and went live during the second week of December.

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Cutting Time-Consuming Administrative Tasks

The goal of the first phase was to design the system, migrate four bureaus from legacy platforms, and consolidate them all onto the AdvoLogix platform, including legacy data transformation and migration.

The DOJ had two major pain points they needed to solve immediately:

Invoicing Creation and Visibility:

The first pain point involved invoicing in the Agency Legal Services (ALS) Bureau. ALS acts as counsel or co-counsel when other state agencies are sued. If an agency doesn't have sufficient legal counsel to cover cases themselves, ALS tracks their time towards those cases.

But ALS never knows when their invoices will be paid. Once they issue the invoice, it’s out of their hands, and another division deals with the receivables. They lacked 360-degree visibility.

Under the old system, it took someone about three days each month to create those invoices. Data had to be exported out of the system into PDF, then converted from PDF into Word, and finally modified and sent. In addition, their time entry mechanisms were really not adequate. There were no timers available and none of the typical functionalities that you would expect in a time entry system. This, plus the lack of tracking made invoicing a huge pain point.

Document Management:

Another challenge was document management, specifically in the Appellate Services Bureau.

The bureau downloads filings from the state appellate court, and several documents could be filed for certain cases on any particular day. For example, support staff might download 50 documents covering 30 different cases.

In the old system, they would have to go into each of those 30 cases individually and upload the documents related to that case one at a time. It was an incredibly time-consuming process.

Project Goals

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Allow partners and external stakeholders to access and update Salesforce information

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A user-friendly solution that would help increase productivity

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Ensure the integrity of their systems and the safety of the data

Implementing with Flexibility and Agile Planning

The deployment went quite well, especially given the challenging circumstances. Justin attributed this to the HIKE2 team's expertise managing projects in an agile format in order to work through several points of compromise that needed to happen.  He credited HIKE2's execution as being "spot on" in terms of having the development done on time and making sure the features were ready when the sprint demos came up.

The UAT was also challenging. The end users involved in invoicing and document management were highly invested in making sure that those systems worked.

However, it was difficult to get some of the other teams to take the time to do the proper UAT. The DOJ completed their side of the testing thanks to a first-rate business analyst.  HIKE2's internal testing was "clearly very good," Justin remarked, acknowledging that that kind of testing is a thankless but critical job.

Justin Stolp

"The HIKE2 team was fantastic in working with me and with the DOJ at large on managing issues as they popped up. They really helped us to nail the timing: for example, knowing how long it would take to make certain configuration changes on their side and estimating what we could accomplish with our own resources."

Justin Stolp
Project Manager, Montana DOJ

The Results: Huge Efficiencies and Eliminating Major Pain Points

Reduced Invoicing from 3 Days to 3 Minutes

Using Formstack and some workflows, the solution that HIKE2 built took the Appellate Services Bureau's invoicing process from three days down to about three minutes.

93% Faster for Doc Management

HIKE2's batch upload tool allows support staff to select up to 25 documents at a time in a grid format. Users can now choose any document and link it to whatever cases it's associated with, without having to go into each individual case record every time. The process for 30 documents decreased from around an hour and a half to closer to six minutes.

More Insight with Aggregated Data

Stolp says he received a very positive response to the executive dashboard the team created. It's simple, but offers much more insight than the DOJ ever had before in terms of aggregating data across all of the bureaus, knowing how many cases have been opened or closed over a period of time, and more.

Improved Collaboration

The out-of-the-box collaboration functionality is far better than anything the DOJ's old system had available. According to Justin, that's one of the bigger, almost unexpected benefits. Their end users are embracing the tools, which is helping the office move beyond the old siloed mentality.

"I didn't expect that the end users would embrace those tools the way they did, but collaboration is really helping with the culture of the office. In the past, we were very siloed. Prosecution services folks never talked to appellate folks unless they were working on a case, for example. So that's changing between the technology and the reorganization."

A Look Ahead into the Future

The Montana DOJ developed a significant backlog list of features that they want to implement but were out of scope in the initial implementation. One example is case weighting for the appellate services bureau. Right now it's a manual process that could be automated in the future through developing an algorithm.

"Working with the team at HIKE2 was an excellent experience and we look forward to working with them in the future. All the team members were very friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient. They adjusted to some challenging circumstances and still came in on time and on budget," Stolp says. "Going forward, we'll continue to chip away at that backlog and get more of those features implemented."

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