Justice data warehouse live at last

The Ministry of Justice's data warehouse has gone live a year after it was originally scheduled to.

The Ministry of Justice's data warehouse has gone live a year after it was originally scheduled to.

Ministry CIO Sandi Beatie says the delay — it went live on July 16 — happened because the data warehouse project was dependent on the Department for Courts’ much-delayed case management system.

“The data warehouse had a dependency on the case management system, which is rolling out across the courts.”

With the case management system now sufficiently advanced, the data warehouse is taking data previously accessed through the law enforcement system the via corrections department and courts, she says.

That data is now able to be mined for policy and research purposes by authorised persons at the justice ministry.

To that end, the ministry is looking for an analyst to work on the data warehouse and is also seeking a technology strategist, who will be responsible for the operational management of the data warehouse “and will also be part of the sector strategy team, linked to the justice information strategy, which was launched last month”.

The strategy sets out the future of IT at the ministry and the data warehouse will be an integral part of it, Beatie says.

The data warehouse was implemented in partnership with BearingPoint. It is

Microsoft-centric, running Windows Server 2003 on six HP Compaq servers.

A Cisco gigabit switch and Nokia firewall are also part of the infrastructure.

“The data warehouse environment has been isolated from the rest of the ministry and security, both within the data warehouse and in terms of access, has been the subject of independent review,” Beatie says.

Extraction, transformation and loading are done via “a mix of custom-developed components built using Microsoft’s .Net platform and the data transformation services module in SQL Server 2000.

“The core data stores were designed and implemented using ERWin 4.0 and automated data feeds are delivered through the DMZTransfer service using the DMZ scriptable interface.

“The data access and support applications were developed using a mixture of Microsoft ASP and ASP.Net and Crystal Decisions Crystal Reports 9.0.”

Those applications provide data lineage, metadata, data access and user tracking services to the systems administrator and the ministry’s research and evaluation unit, she says.

“All applications are browser-based and delivered via Microsoft IIS and managed through active directory using integrated authentication.”

It was first announced in 2001 that the ministry was to get a data warehouse and an original completion date of mid-2002 was flagged.

The justice and electoral select committee noted in the 2002-03 vote justice estimates that “we are concerned that the minister was unable to give a timeframe for the implementation of the ministry’s ‘data warehouse’.

“The ministry has significant funding in this area and some of us therefore think that clear timeframes should be put in place and adhered to.”

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard also noted in a paper on the merger of the Justice Ministry and courts (scheduled for October) that “there have been problems in terms of information technology developments across the sector, [with] INSLAW, CMS and consequential delays to the justice ministry’s data warehouse”.

Associate Justice Minister Rick Barker officially launched the justice information strategy 2003-2006 late last month.

The strategy’s goals are to establish an authoritative base of justice information, increase information and knowledge sharing across the sector, make justice information available through a choice of channels and provide efficient processes for managing information and information-related initiatives.

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