New ICAC Court Tech Directory
Friday, June 8, 2018
Posted by: Andrea Walter
The IJIS Institute Courts Advisory Committee (ICAC) has released a new free directory service at https://icacprovdir.ijis.org/.
As noted by Kofi Annan, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.” Such a simple and powerful message! But how do you find the information you seek? Ah, there’s always a catch. While Google works well for casting a wide net, sometimes what you really need is a sieve. Enter the Court Technology Provider Directory or Court Tech Directory – a simple, easy-to-use web tool that enables court professionals and technology solution providers to connect the dots between business needs and technology offerings.
The Court Tech Directory presents products and services available in the market in a way that maps their capabilities and application to technology components. The approach should make it easier to find applications that meet the specific challenges the court has at a given time. The technology components used in the directory are the same as those laid out by the Joint Technology Committee’s (JTC) Introduction to the Next-Generation Court Technology Standards Application Component Model Bulletin. The Bulletin explains, “using the component model as a reference, court leaders can identify the gaps in their technology environment and, with whatever resources are available, prioritize implementation of the technologies needed to fill those gaps.”
Figure 1 illustrates the currently proposed components. The Application Component Model is a living model, designed to be changed over time as capabilities are identified or evolve.
Figure 1 Draft Application Component Model
Benefits for Courts
On the Court Tech Directory’s website (https://icacprovdir.ijis.org/), courts simply select the desired business capabilities, click search and the results appear. Hovering over a capability brings up its applicable definition. This is so a user can confirm right away what is and what is not covered when making a selection.
Search results present only those applications that solution providers indicated and that ICAC has ascertained provide these specific capabilities. Each application shown also includes a cross reference to other functional components that application may address.
In addition to functional capabilities, results may include information such as a description, the integration architecture and the supporting technologies. This gives the user a quick indication as to whether the application can fit in their technology environment.
From the search results, users can select one or more applications for bulk-contacting all providers of the selected applications, or for exporting their basic information to a CSV file to help with contacting solution providers or doing further research. Users can also have the service send an email to the providers of the applications of the choice one at a time, directly on the search results page, asking to be contacted back via email.
The Court Tech Directory is a free service to the court community. It helps courts cut through the marketing and corporate lingo and get to the heart of the available solutions for their specific business challenges; all in one place.
Benefits for Solution Providers
Solution providers may increase visibility for, and access to, their offerings by creating and maintaining their listings on the service. Rather than having their products and services lumped into a generic bucket of case management, providers have a searchable channel to show which specific business needs their offerings address.
Once signed up and confirmed, providers can create listings for the products their company develops and match it to the appropriate component(s) in the model. The service sends all inquiries to a single contact that the solution providers maintains. This service is provided without charge to solution providers. As the Bulletin explains, “This will provide market opportunities to solution providers and increase competition in new market niches.”
IJIS Institute Members have the added benefit of being listed at the beginning of the results from the searches. Be sure to indicate your IJIS Institute Membership when you complete the information about your product/solution in the directory. (Membership will be verified by IJIS staff and reviewed on a periodic basis to make sure that IJIS Members receive the benefit of top billing.)
Forging the New Path
The Application Component Model introduced last year by the Joint Technology Committee (JTC) of the Conference of State Court Administrators and the National Association for Court Management looks to define a new way forward in purchasing and implementing technology for courts. Until now courts have often implemented monolithic systems that promise to meet all or most of the case management needs in one shot. This approach often leaves many business needs unmet or lacking focus. Through defining granular application components and standard interfaces, the hope is that courts are freed to choose best of breed applications that address the specific needs of their court at that time with the ability to add on or swap components as needed.
Figure 2 Fundamental Diagram of Application Components
The Court Tech Directory is curated by the IJIS Court Advisory Committee (ICAC) in support of the Application Component Model. “It is a basic but comprehensive tool aimed at taking down barriers and better sharing information among all participants in the court market place,” noted ICAC Chair, Joe Wheeler.
To promote the clarity and integrity of the information in the directory, the ICAC reviews the solution provider submissions and requests clarification regarding the product information submitted before it is publicly available on the directory. “The curators help solution providers avoid causing confusion or disappointment among potential customers, “according to Wheeler.
As the RouteFifty.com blog post The End of the Custom Technology Era points out, “In a time of limited budgets and increasingly-pressing problems, limiting options to the enterprise software incumbents is no longer a sustainable model for government procurements.”
The ICAC hopes that the Court Tech Directory can provide immediate value and looks forward to the feedback from court practitioners and solution providers on how the tool can be enhanced and improved for added value in the future.