During the COVID-19 Crisis, Case Management Systems Are Helping Justice Sectors to Continue Operations, While Practicing Social Distancing

Amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, both private and governmental law and justice operations are being negatively impacted. Countries and states are forced into quarantine and are adapting their methods of citizen engagement, looking for ways to continue to provide services to the public and not suspend their entire operations.

It is in extreme situations and crisis circumstances such as this, when face to face interactions are limited (or in some cases even prohibited), that the power of technology can be appreciated from a new perspective. While electronic Case Management Systems were originally designed to help governments improve efficiency and combat corruption, in times of crisis the systems display their full value: they support continuity in electronic business processes, enabling social distancing for a subset of their operations that otherwise would have been suspended.

As courts and other justice institutions worldwide are trying to identify new ways to continue their operations, the ones who are already employing electronic Case Management Systems have the option of not shutting down their institutions entirely. Even though some operations are being halted, for instance case hearings and pre-trial meetings, governments that have invested in these systems are now reaping their unforeseen benefits. Those courts and other justice institutions that have moved their services online are able to maintain a base level of functioning and can continue reaching out to their citizens.

Case in Point: E-filing within Rwanda IECMS

Launched in 2016, the Rwanda Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS) integrates all institutions of the country’s justice sector (Rwanda Investigation Bureau, National Public Prosecution Authority, Judiciary, Rwanda Correctional Services, etc.). Since then, all case related business processes of the country’s justice sector have been conducted electronically.

One such business process is the filing of court cases. Since 2016, all cases in Rwanda have been filed electronically, thus eliminating the need for citizens to visit the court in person to file their cases.

In light of the current situation, Rwanda IECMS is helping justice institutions in Rwanda to achieve more than simply increasing their efficiency.

In a “Notice to the General Public” on measures taken to prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19, issued by the Supreme Court of Rwanda on March 15, 2020, the Bureau of the High Council of the Judiciary orders “the suspension of court hearings, pre-trial hearings and scheduled meetings between litigants, court administration and the Department of Inspectorate of Courts” for a period of two weeks, until March 30, 2020. The official statement advises the litigants and the general public to contact courts through online platforms and hotlines, including IECMS.

Rwanda IECMS is helping Rwandan courts not to close down entirely. The system continues to provide an interface between the Rwandan Judiciary and litigants for electronic filing of cases, which allows the registrars to receive new cases from litigants. Moreover, judges continue to have remote access to their cases, making judicial and court services accessible to citizens even in times like these.

“Rwanda IECMS is vital in situations like the one we are facing now, because it enables judges and Court officers to work remotely on their cases from anywhere,” says Justice Harrison Mutabazi, the Official Spokesperson of the Rwanda Judiciary.

The remote access to justice is also helping the Government of Rwanda to prevent the spread of COVID 19 by physical contact.

“In such situations, e-filing is very helpful, since it aids the litigants to file their cases to the Court without necessarily approaching in person. This reduces physical contacts between litigants to litigants and to the Court officers. I think this is one of the means helping to curb the spread of the scourge,” says Justice Harrison Mutabazi.

Moreover, Rwanda IECMS enables electronic transmission of relevant information between various institutions of the justice sector, from the Rwanda Investigation Bureau to the prosecution, then courts and correctional services. Initially designed to increase transparency and efficiency, this functionality of the IECMS is now contributing to the continuity of some segments of the sector, while preventing any sort of physical contact.

“It is a great satisfaction that the technology solutions we provide are helping governments and organizations to keep themselves safe, smoothly carry on with their operations, and at the same time, play their part in containing the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus”, says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s CEO and Founder.

Over the past 23 years, Synergy has been providing consultancy and software solutions in a number of domains in justice sector, as well as governance and public management and strategy execution to its clients in more than 70 countries worldwide. More specifically, Synergy provides justice sector Case Management Systems to a number of countries covering the needs of various institutions from single courts to anti-corruption bodies to the entire integrated justice sector.

With IFMS, Afghan Municipalities Boost Their Financial Performance

Within USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) Project, the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) is computerizing business licensing and property registration processes in two nahyas of Mazar-e-Sharif Municipality. IFMS and its modules are developed by Synergy International Systems, Inc.

Introduction of the IFMS modules helped Nahyas 1 and 2 resolve many of the issues that they have been facing with manual systems. Nahyas are now able to issue printed versions of business licenses and Safayi notebooks, generate computerized financial reports through the IFMS Business Licensing and Property Registration modules, as well as deliver the services in a timely manner. In addition, citizens are now paying their fees and taxes via municipal banking, which ensures transparency and accountability in the municipal service delivery. This resulted in increased citizens’ trust in the municipal administration.

Read the USAID Newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.

Synergy is Developing a Management Information System and a Payment System for the Household Uplifting Program in Nigeria

Synergy International Systems, Inc. is developing and implementing a Management Information System and Payment System for the Household Uplifting Program (HUP MIS & Payment System) of the National Cash Transfer Office of Nigeria. Nigeria Household Uplifting Program is aimed at providing access to targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households under the national safety net system.

The main purpose of the system will be to automate processes of household enrollment and payment of social benefits, tracking of co-responsibility compliance, managing savings and income generation and establishing sustainable livelihood for vulnerable households. This project will help further advance the social protection sector in the country.

As a solution, HUP MIS & Payment System is a customized version of Synergy Social Protection Information System (Synergy SPIS) – one of the few off-the-shelf Social Protection Information System available in the international market today – to implement and track all phases of Nigeria Household Uplifting Program.

“We are happy to leverage our best practice experience to not only successfully develop and deploy the MIS & Payment System for Household Uplifting Program, but also to offer unparalleled, experience-based insight into creating a tool that will help increase the efficiency of the program,” says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s CEO and Founder.

Similar to other relevant MIS and Payment System solutions created by Synergy, SPIS is enabling governments to employ the tools necessary for effectively managing information on beneficiaries of social protection programs, generating transfer payments and distribution of assistance to the beneficiaries, as well as monitoring processes and outcomes to identify key operational challenges and success factors.

Afghanistan State Budget Planning System: A Tool that Grows Along with the Evolving Needs of the Sector it Serves

In 2008, the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan put into practice the State Budget Planning System (SBPS) developed by Synergy International Systems. Over the past years, SBPS has become an essential tool for the Government of Afghanistan to streamline its budget planning and execution.

SBPS is specifically designed to quickly and easily automate the entire cycle of budget definition and preparation processes, as well as enhance monitoring of the approved budget. Over the past years, it has streamlined Afghanistan’s budget formulation and execution processes from budget preparation to its review, execution and monitoring.

“SBPS has increased the transparency and accountability of our operations and has expedited all our budget formulation processes. The reports generated in the system are being used by the line ministries and top management of our government,” says Mr. Sharif Stanekzai from the General Directorate of the National Budget at the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan.

Mr. Stanekzai at Synergy’s Development and Global Learning Center in Armenia.

A web-based, user friendly tool, SBPS has evolved over the past years along with the progressing needs of the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan. Now undergoing its regular upgrading, SBPS’s rich features continues to enable the Ministry of Finance to collect, analyze, and report key data for its projects, create top-down and bottom-up budget planning and execution, and create multi-year budgets and forecasts.

“SBPS has grown in line with the development of our budget formulation processes. We are regularly update our system so that it evolves around business processes and answers all our needs that are evolving with time” says Mr. Stanekzai. “Initially, it was developed as a desktop system, then we transformed it into a web-based system so that it would be available on the internet. This, in its turn, increased the accountability and transparency of our operations, because an increased number of stakeholders had access to the system,” he adds.

SBPS is providing the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan a central platform for budget planning which remains essential to budget preparation and execution reforms of the country. Currently, is being employed not just by the Ministry of Finance, but other line ministries of the Government of Afghanistan for budget planning, monitoring, and reporting.

Moreover, SBPS is playing a significant role in shaping the image of Afghanistan as a country willing to do business in advanced ways. “I am happy to tell that the reports from our system are very much accountable, which has helped in coordinating projects with international donor agencies. Our auditors from international financial institutions are impressed by the functionality of SBPS,” states Mr. Stanekzai.

“The accuracy that the system has brought us has no comparison to any other system in Afghanistan. The data in this system is way more reliable than in any other system used in our country. All line ministries, even contractors, depend on the data generated by SBPS,” explains Mr. Stanekzai.

Over the past decade, the relationship between the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan and Synergy has evolved along SBPS to grow from being a client-technology provider relationship into becoming technology partners. “Our relationship with Synergy is such that I consider us both part of the same department. The responses are prompt, the fixes are prompt, and they know which way we are heading. They know the problems even before we find out about them and are there to fix them in time,” says Mr. Stanekzai.

Education Above All in Qatar will be Using Synergy Indicata

Synergy is excited to announce the start of a new partnership with Education Above All (EAA), a not-for-profit founded in Qatar in 2012. Over the next months, Synergy will be designing, developing, and implementing a customized version of Synergy Indicata, the company’s flagship Monitoring and Evaluation Information System, to cater for EAA’s organization-level monitoring and evaluation needs.

As a centralized, automated strategy execution and monitoring and evaluation Information System, Synergy Indicata is favored by dozens of international non-profits from around the globe.

Customized to the specific needs of Education Above All, Synergy Indicata will help the organization to effectively capture, analyze and use program monitoring and evaluation information, as well as monitor EAA’s progress towards reaching the organizational goal and measure the impact of its programmes.

Moreover, the client-branded M&E Information System will support the organization’s commitment to ensure quality education for marginalized and vulnerable people. With its multi-dimensional features, Synergy Indicata will provide EAA a growing knowledge and understanding of both the impact of its programmes and successful models that inform them over time.

“We are proud to become the technology partner of Education Above All Foundation, an organization whose mission is close to our heart as a tech company,” says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s CEO and Founder. “At Synergy, we remain committed to cultivating opportunities that would support the life-long education of not only our employees and community members, but also that of our clients and partners.”

It is worth mentioning that since 2016 Synergy Indicata has been regularly recognized by Gartner as a representative vendor in the prestigious annual Market Guides for Strategy Execution Management, Monitoring & Evaluation software.

Improved Transparency and Access to Information Achieved in Afghan Municipalities

Within USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) Project, two modules – that of Complaints Management System and Legal and Policy – were installed and configured in the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), addressing a lack of transparency and data accuracy. IFMS and its modules are developed by Synergy International Systems, Inc.

Through the Complaints Management System, citizens’ complaints are recorded and processed, and monitored and tracked for resolution. This system will help Deputy Ministry of Municipalities of Afghanistan (DMM) have oversight and awareness of general issues being faced at municipalities across the country and allow them to monitor their resolution and make sure the complaints are addressed. It also generates computerized reports to municipal authorities and DMM.

Read the USAID Newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.

 

Synergy Recognized as Representative Vendor in Gartner’s Market Guide 2019 for Strategy Execution Management

Synergy Indicata, Synergy’s Strategy Execution, Monitoring & Evaluation Software has been included by Gartner in its 2019 Market Guide for Strategy Execution Management Software, thus marking its 5th consecutive year in the prestigious list as a representative vendor.

Every year, Gartner, the world’s leading tech research and advisory company, studies and analyses the strategy execution software market. It then shortlists companies, who are experts in providing strategy execution and M&E software solutions, as representative vendors. The SEM technology providers highlighted in Gartner’s Market Guide 2019 “can help communicate the strategy of the organization and determine the degree to which people are doing something to support strategic objectives”.

Moreover, the Market Guide states that the listed vendors are “innovating their products beyond this set of core portfolio management capabilities to bring business processes and elements into a portfolio and strategy execution tool for consideration during decision making.”

As the Gartner Market Guide for SEM states, “People make thousands of decisions every day, bound by understandings they have and, many times, by their own self-interests. For strategy execution and supporting SEM tools, it is not only the ability to communicate and manage the strategies of the organization that makes them useful. Even more important, SEM tools also indicate the degree to which people, in-flight projects and programs, and ongoing assets are delivering the desired metrics that indicate the degree to which the strategy is being executed and achieved. Strategy should always drive what we decide to do and how we decide to do it.”

Synergy Indicata has a wide array of capabilities enabling effective Strategy Execution Management. The software provides a set of tools and practices that offer multidirectional communication, dynamic portfolio and program management, and enables investment portfolio modelling and evidence-based decision making. Moreover, Synergy Indicata offers toolkits that link between strategies, metrics, and resources.

“At Synergy, we work diligently to further develop and automate our solutions and persistently add more capabilities to our products,” says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s Founder and CEO. “This is how we can assure that our information management systems will be well-equipped to meet the future business needs of our clients.”

Over the past years, Synergy Indicata has been helping governments, development organizations, and global nonprofit organizations worldwide to improve their strategy execution, make decisions informed by data, and deliver more effective impact.

Synergy to Develop Modules for Grants Management System for AGRA’s Existing Management Information System

Synergy International Systems, Inc. is proud to announce the signing of a new contract with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Within this new collaboration, Synergy will be adding new modules from its Grants Management System to AGRA’s existing AMIS (AGRA Management Information System) – also developed by Synergy – to support the management of AGRA’s Programs and their grantees.

The new modules of AMIS will enable AGRA to monitor the operational performance of their programs and grants and enhance communication of results to AGRA’s partners and stakeholders with an advanced efficiency. Moreover, the AMIS will improve AGRA’s data collection, analysis, and reporting capabilities.

“We are excited over our continuous collaboration with AGRA and are working on building a system that will help AGRA to fully address grantor and grantee needs at granular level, from grant planning to administration and grant performance analysis,” says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s Founder and CEO.

Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, AGRA was formed in 2006, with the goal “To increase the incomes and improve food security for 30 million farming households in 11 African countries by 2021”. The organization is working towards dramatically increasing the productivity of smallholder farms, thus helping tens of millions of extreme poverty.

In 2015, AGRA selected Synergy Indicata as the technological platform for the implementation of its corporate web-based strategy execution and Monitoring and Evaluation Information System. The centralized, automated M&E information system is designed to support AGRA’s commitment to transformation of the agricultural landscape of Africa and serves as a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework called to capture all program data on process monitoring and impact assessments. Since then, Synergy has continued to provide technology support to AGRA through building additional modules and providing maintenance and support.

Synergy’s Grants Management System was recognized in Gartner’s 2019 Market Guide for Grant Management Solutions. The system fully addresses grantor and grantee needs at granular level – from grant planning to administration and grant performance analysis.

Integrated Financial Management System by USAID’s SHAHAR Project is Improving the Way Afghan Municipalities Are Managed

USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) Project is supporting Kandahar, one of the largest municipalities in Afghanistan with the implementation of Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), addressing a lack of transparency and data accuracy. Developed by Synergy International Systems, IFMS has six modules: Accounting, Budgeting, Payroll, Business Licensing, Property Registration, and Other Revenue.

Now, the municipality is able to generate computerized reports, deliver faster services, and demonstrate improved transparency in their operations.

Read the USAID Newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.

Building Development Projects Management Information System for the Government of Zimbabwe

Synergy International Systems, Inc. (Synergy) is proud to announce that it has won the tender to create the Development Projects Management Information System (DevProMIS) for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of Zimbabwe.

With development of DevProMIS underway, Synergy is providing the complete set of technology, knowledge, expertise and services to design, develop and deliver an integrated system that is user-friendly, scalable, and sustainable. It is envisaged that the system will provide the Government of Zimbabwe an end-to-end framework to automate business processes, manage workflows, and attain an increased capability in managing relations with Development Partners.

“Synergy has an outstanding expertise in creating and successfully delivering Information Management Systems that are providing country governments, development organizations and citizens worldwide a more transparent, accurate, and focused view and management of development programs,” says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s Founder and CEO.