The US Department of State Office of the Inspector General's data collection and reporting needs recently exceeded the capabilities of any off-the-shelf Investigation Management Systems (IMS), and they contracted with Inner File Software to build a bespoke IMS that would suit their needs. We chose FileMaker as the development platform primarily for the speed of development and solid security model, and built a system that exactly suited their needs. We worked closely with an Agent at the State Department to understand, in detail, the challenges of the legacy system, goals of the redesign, and perhaps most importantly: the actual reality of day-to-day office work and requirements.
With the help of a few FileMaker extensions, we developed an IMS built around State OIG's unique business rules and were even able to add some innovative featues, unique amongst IMSs, including:
- An e-mail templating system based on merge tokens to allow administrative staff to edit automated transactional e-mails without having to go through a developer
- A document review system, also with merge tokens, to generate Word Documents and allow them to be passed between staff members without attaching them to insecure e-mails or creating multiple copies
- A task system to allow staff members to send each other tasks, including ops support requests, HR requirements that need to be completed, and digital signature requests
- Integration with the hotline webform (via a custom Drupal module) to remove data entry requirements when converting a webform submission into an investigation
- A subpoena tracking system, allowing a single place to consolidate all the many details related to creating, and completing, subpoean requests with a visually informative interface
In addition to these unique IMS features, we also tackled several non-investigation related administrative challenges, including:
- A training module tracking professional development requirements and history for each staff member
- A weapons module tracking inventory, training, and maintenance
- An outreach module tracking OIG staff presentations
- A forms module consolidating internal HR documents
The new system launched in mid-2016, the data migration went flawlessly, and the agents and support staff are now able to spend more time doing their important case work and less time wrestling with their IMS.