Two years ago, my colleague Kevin Briggs wrote about modernization efforts going on across government legal organizations. While some progress has been made since then, the demand for improvement continues to grow. This demand is driven by the public’s expectation of certain standards of service from their government agencies, as well as government leaders’ prioritization of providing a better customer experience.
In a world of instant access to almost anything, customers have high expectations for service. Service providers today offer mobile-friendly apps, live chat, self-service, and 24-7 access as a matter of course. The public expects no less of courts and government legal services.
Government leaders’ focus on improving the customer experience is also driven by the federal executive branch, through the President’s Management Agenda (PMA). PMA goals include:
- Transform the customer experience by improving the usability and reliability of our Federal Government’s most critical digital services.
- Create measurable improvements in customer satisfaction by using the principles and practices proven by leading private sector organizations.
- Increase trust in the Federal Government by improving the experience citizens and businesses have with Federal services whether online, in-person, or via phone.
- Leverage technology to break down barriers and increase communication between Federal agencies and the citizens they serve.
In order to meet these goals, government legal services and courts are realizing that they need to replace manual processes and outdated legacy systems with integrated toolsets that encourage organizations to continually improve their operations. Adoption of these toolsets by the business users in the trenches removes many of the barriers to continual improvement seen in traditional system development.
Microsoft is uniquely positioned to support federal customers, offering an integrated government cloud suite comprised of productivity tools (Office 365), business application tools (Power Platform and Dynamics 365), and cloud development extensions (Azure).
There was a time when it was common in legal practices for parties to share case file information by photocopying all the material and delivering one or more boxes of paper; a laborious, inefficient, and error-prone process.
Although systems have improved beyond such manual processes in many cases, outdated legacy systems can’t handle the increasing volume of case information, and they do not facilitate efficient internal case management processes or timely communication with constituent clients.
Oftentimes, these older systems took years to develop and were rolled out with much fanfare, but quickly became obsolete — without any way to update or keep up with modern demands. Modern platforms such as the Power Platform, on the other hand, are designed to enable government organizations to update and evolve along with their customers and the industry in an iterative fashion.
These modern systems streamline case management, enable more effective collaboration, and improve overall efficiency — all while keeping sensitive information secure.
The Power Platform application ProCase was developed by Microsoft Partner Procentrix and offers a central repository for all kinds of case information, including case notes, correspondence, assessments, contacts, and more. This eliminates data silos, allows legal team members to find the exact information they need anywhere, anytime, from any authorized device, and empowers transparent collaboration.
ProCase offers seamless integration with familiar Office 365 tools that legal departments already use, such as Outlook, Word, and SharePoint. In addition, tools like Power Automate, allow power users to automate their daily tasks; empowering the users to solve their business challenges without depending on overbooked central IT services.
This technology also offers flexibility. The point-and-click interface of PowerApps & Power Automate allows users and IT support to easily create automated workflows and update the systems without additional coding, and organizations can configure their own robust case management solutions without traditional custom software development. This system is designed to change and adapt along with the needs of organizations.
Innovation for real results
When courts and legal departments streamline their operations, the public benefits immensely. Cases are brought to court and handled more quickly, wait times are reduced, and the whole system can simply run more smoothly.
With more transparent and user-friendly systems, information is easier to find and share, and communication becomes more accurate and effective. In one example, a government agency worked with Procentrix to develop a modernized solution to replace its outdated system. Procentrix developed a secure collaboration portal for the agency that enabled multi-factor, authenticated access to external entities to share information pertinent to the agency’s cases available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to allow the case to progress as data became available.
Data security and privacy are also vitally important to the public. New solutions need to have robust security measures against any threat of compromised information. Platforms such as the Power Platform are FedRAMP High authorized and offer customizable role-based access control so that information is both retrievable and secure.
The time is now
Outdated legacy technology no longer serves legal institutions or their client constituents. Innovative systems such as ProCase Legal Case Management are becoming a must in order to keep up with modern demands for more efficiency, visibility, and security in the legal system.
For more information on how Microsoft can help your Government agency to modernize business processes, access our library of resources here.