In 2017, Optimation and our partner HCL successfully delivered one of the largest modernisation overhaul projects attempted in New Zealand for some time. This project breathed new life into the core system used to administer all offenders managed by the New Zealand Department of Corrections, delivering faster response times, and more intuitive modern user interfaces, to their frontline staff.
The Department of Corrections works to create lasting change by breaking the cycle of re-offending – public safety is their bottom line. As part of this mission, the Department is working to make New Zealand a better, safer place by protecting the public from those who can cause harm, and by reducing the rate of re-offending.
At Optimation, our relationship with the Department goes back almost a decade. We operate as the prime vendor in a consortium comprised of ourselves and HCL, a large global IT company headquartered in India, who are our major delivery partner, with resources both offshore and here in New Zealand. As Prime for the consortium we successfully leverage a unique and successful onshore and offshore resourcing model to deliver responsive, scalable, high-quality services, with a deep understanding of core Corrections IT systems, at a cost-effective price point. As the consortium prime, we are tasked with the end-to-end application management, development, maintenance, and support of Corrections’ business critical systems. We also provide a managed resource service to supplement internal capability with talent from the contractor market.
The Web IOMS project involved a total overhaul and redevelopment of the Integrated Offender Management System (IOMS). IOMS is Corrections’ core frontline system to administer the approximate 10,000 prisoners held in custody, plus around 30,000 people on bail at large, completing community sentences, on parole, or on home detention and electronic monitoring.
The original IOMS application was a very dated legacy system with something we refer to as a ‘fat client’ - a heavily desktop reliant application. This meant the old IOMS had to be physically loaded onto a PC to be accessed and used. The application was clunky and very slow (slower still when multiple users started using it at the same time).
To enhance the user experience and increase the speed and effectiveness of key business processes, we transformed the application into a stateless web browser-based user interface, using modern user interface standards and behaviours. Significant work was done to reduce the amount of unnecessary data being transmitted around the network and to significantly speed up the time it takes for data to be displayed by the frontline staff. As part of this project, we also integrated what was effectively two very separate and different modules (one for managing people in custody, the other for Parole and community sentences).
IOMS is predominantly used by frontline prison officers to administer people in prisons; additionally, there are parole officers administering people released into the community. About 8000 users have access to IOMS, and for many, it’s an intrinsic part of their work day; there can be as many as 500 concurrent users at any one time. The number of concurrent users post upgrade is significantly higher than the number anticipated at the beginning of the project.
IOMS is the Department’s core business system, and we believe it to be one of the biggest bespoke .NET applications in Australasia. The new system has seen significant gains in end-user process time, and the new UI architecture lends itself to improved delivery timeframes for future business change.
At the peak of this project, we mobilised over 100 people in the project team across Wellington and Chennai (India). During the project, the team had to deal with destructive floods in Chennai and a major earthquake in Wellington!
Flexibility of the new system makes it accessible by multiple different categories of users, from anywhere, anytime. Ultimately, having faster access to more relevant information leads to better decision-making and hopefully, a safer environment within our prisons, and safer communities for all New Zealanders.
We have subsequently extended on the new Web IOMS application, with digital extensions such as the smartphone applications for people on community sentences and Electronic Monitored bail. This is the first time information held in IOMS, is able to be directly accessed by offenders to help them manage their sentences, and drive better outcomes.