ArkCase vs. NIEM

by | Jul 29, 2010 | Case Management, Government IT, NIEM | 1 comment

Now that we have covered the basics of “What is Case Management,” and you have developed a pretty good sense of the various Benefits of Case Management,  lets talk about a comparison of ArkCase and NIEM. Is there any doubt that ArkCase wins this battle?

But how so? Read on…

Part 1 – The challenge

NIEM is an important cog in a government case management solution. At some point in a case’s lifecycle, you may need to share the case-related information with other agencies or individuals, perhaps to get assistance in completing the case or maybe to give more information to another agency for a similar case that they’re working on. Whatever the reason, this information must be easily passed from one system to the next without being ‘lost in translation’.

As mentioned in the blog “My Name is NIEM,” NIEM (National Information Exchange Model) is a framework for sharing enterprise-wide information across all levels of government. It has a core set of elements that are standard across all the agencies and has more specific ones for the various entities and stakeholders. Agencies can now speak a common language, allowing one agency to publish data from its case management system to the XML standard, which can then be picked up and parsed by another agency that requires this information.

Now all you need is a case management system that lets you export data into the NIEM standard and then a parser to put it back in.

Pretty neat and simple, n’est-ce pas?

Almost. (Let’s face it, if it really were that simple, I’d have nothing to write about and I’d just put up some comics to keep you entertained.)

There are a few problems to watch out for:

  • Before importing or exporting, the system must check the data’s security classification. A document requiring a classification level of Top Secret cannot be sent to an agency (or individual) with only Confidential level access. Perhaps only certain parts of the document are deemed to be Top  Secret, in which case, the publishing tool should be able to extract only those parts that are at the required access level.
  • Large amounts of data may need to be continuously exported to, or imported from, an external system. Every time an update is made to case data, it may be necessary to push this information out to other agencies. So it may be better to export/import only the changed data and update the existing data. This reduces the time and cost of transfer and would help to reduce duplicated data.
  • Data may be imported that already exists in the case management system. Checks need to be in place to handle matching data during import. When duplicate data is found, is it better to replace the data or create a new version of the existing data?

ArkCase comes with a tool specifically to import from and export to NIEM that tackles these problems. Stay tuned for Part Two… The Solution, which discusses how ArkCase implements the NIEM publishing process.



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1 Comment

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