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Successes

ISSi is proud of our history of delivering solutions for our clients' diverse needs since 1984. By pulling together with other innovative small business associates and resourceful large businesses, Team ISSi formulates the perfect blend of advanced technologies and best-practice management capabilities to address each of our client's unique business needs. Below is a sampling of some of these successes.


International Access to Multiple Library Catalogs

The Business Situation

An administrative division of the United Nations asked ISSi to do the following:

  • Consolidate a myriad of distributed library catalogs containing numerous documents, books, and manuscripts on the shelves of the UN’s globally distributed, country libraries.
  • Provide a centrally accessible calendaring system for all events and activities associated with each local library.
  • Make all of the results available to all member nations through the UN’s computer network.

The Business Challenge

The major challenges in this operation were the following:

  • To combine 138 member nations’ diverse catalogs into one easily accessible, easy-to-use and highly responsive system.
  • To accommodate the unique cataloging (indexing) schema and search retrieval methodology required by the UN.
  • To provide the solution on a network of Wang minicomputers, prior to the Internet.

ISSi's Solution

The solution to the UN’s business need was for ISSi to create a fast and easy-to-use display for the diverse international community to access the consolidated catalog. This goal was reached through analysis, evaluation, custom design and programming, constant user involvement and feedback, and re-analysis throughout the project.

Specifically, the existing situation was reviewed and analyzed. The administering division was asked to provide clear requirements for the project. Possible alternatives were researched and discussed with the client. As a result, the client accepted a custom library OPAC (Online Public Access to the Catalog) that ISSi had designed and developed for several non-profit organizations.

The customized OPAC used for this solution was transaction oriented and capable of supporting thousands of individual catalogs that could be viewed individually as well as globally from a single display screen. ISSi then customized the underlying catalog schema to meet the UN’s unique indexing and search retrieval needs. As a further benefit for the UN member nations, ISSi provided them the ability to define default sets of catalogs to combine selected member nations into one display for easier search and retrieval.

Subsequently, a dynamic and interactive Events and Activities calendar was incorporated into the application. The result, once the data was entered, verified, and released to the database through the quality control process, was to allow our clients to search and retrieve by country, region, continent, and globally. A benefit not foreseen by the UN was that this solution now provided a means to track the travels of diplomats and key UN officials, and with an ISSi assist, a new project for the organization was defined.

Uniqueness of the Solution

ISSi provided the client with the following:

  • An innovative cataloging schema not used at the time by library system vendors who were known to be using traditional US Marc cataloging methods.
  • A global network solution in the pre-Internet era.
  • Software that took advantage of early packet transmission techniques for faster telecommunications in the very early stages of global networking.

Modernization of what our client called the World’s Largest Non-Scientific Database

The Business Situation

A very large logistics organization required the following:

  • Modernization of its several hundred million record database of parts and supplies (massive inventory from numerous vendors).
  • Re-hosting (employing new computer hardware) the proposed system.
  • Twenty-four-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, world-wide query access.
  • Fast response time for tens of thousands of queries per hour.
  • Zero downtime at switchover to the new system.
  • Monitoring and logging of every transaction on the system.

The Business Challenge

The key challenge in this project was to design, prototype, develop, and then implement such a transaction-oriented system while maintaining responsiveness to 40,000 transactions per hour. In addition, the implementation was to be done with zero downtime at switchover to the new system, and included a DBMS record maintenance solution (i.e., add/edit/copy-paste, delete).

ISSi's Solution

The Transaction Manager software created by ISSi allowed the prime contractor on this proposal to be awarded the decision on a "contract protest" on the basis of a technically superior solution. Specifically, the ISSi concept of a "self-appending data dictionary" allowed seamless insertion to the database of new systems containing hundreds of thousands of parts even where new database fields were required to accommodate them. However, a massive but quick redesign was put in place to accommodate the client’s desire for a traditional relational database approach, while meeting the client’s exacting requirements.

The ISSi Transaction Manager capability to receive, log, validate, correct or reject, and post the transactions had a major impact in meeting the goals of the project. Critical to this was our achievement to successfully integrate the system software proposed.

ISSi contributions to the project team in the area of integrating system tools and database design allowed the team to provide the interactive online query and maintenance support the client required for on-going support of this massive database and its high transaction access.

Uniqueness of the Solution

This team solution allowed ISSi to implement concepts and integration tools based on library science technology customized to meet the cataloging requirements of a massive, very high transaction, complex logistics database approaching half-a-billion records. Several years later, ISSi redesigned and implemented the "self-appending data dictionary" in a legal application tracking over ten million documents via both subjective and objective cataloging techniques that resulted in hundreds of million of records. ISSi provided our client with an innovative design addressed to meet the dynamic needs of their massive, mission-critical inventory system; but more important, the ISSi team "turned on a dime" to modify the design to address the specific stated desires of our prime contracts client.


Pioneering Attorney Workflow and Document Imaging in Litigation Support

The Business Situation

The legal division of a major international, research-based health care organization required a computerized litigation support system in order to do the following:

  • Manage and monitor more effectively massive product liability lawsuits.
  • Integrate large-scale document retention and retrieval activities for legal document productions, specifically in the discovery phase of a lawsuit.
  • Provide fully integrated document, imaging and workflow management to include access by 350 co-counsel around the nation with associated security.

The Business Challenge

The challenge for the corporation was primarily a technical one. At the time of this project, there was no single computer software package or vendor in the legal market vertical that could meet the business needs identified by the corporation. After an extensive vendor review, the corporation decided to acquire the services of ISSi to build a system to meet its needs following a formal solicitation and oral demonstration process of prototypes.

This technical challenge was exacerbated by the need to integrate numerous third-party software and hardware entities, which before this endeavor, were not integrated, and most were not even talking with each other (no reason to). Some of the problems encountered were resolved through software programming and others required a redesign of the original approach.

Concurrently, the corporation’s attorneys were anxious to use the new system and at each demonstration scheduled they would come up with new and novel ways to use the evolving system. Consequently, changes were made to the original specifications resulting in a more complex system to satisfy the needs of key attorneys.

ISSi's Solution

ISSi and the corporation agreed on a networked solution that was to be prototyped in a proof-of-concept, phased approach to meet the business needs built employing client-server approach.

The PC system was designed to integrate the following legal activities:

  • Docketing (court calendaring)
  • Lawsuit tracking and monitoring (including co-counsel tasks)
  • Full-text searching of depositions and interrogatories
  • Attorney review of documents to include masking (redaction)
  • Pre-trial discovery productions and trial preparation to include checklists

Security was a key requirement to limit access to the system and the items contained within the system.

Input to this system was to be primarily through imaging (document scanning), multiple OCR engines, and where available, computerized data from word processing, e-mail, and so on.

Output was designed to be on paper, e-mail, CD-ROM, and other magnetic media as well as telecommunications transmission capabilities, and Kisok-style reading room access for Plaintiff Teams.

The PC system was designed for a local area network environment with large scalability for workstations, servers, and document storage devices. The integration of existing e-mail and telecommunications capabilities was included in the project.

Uniqueness of the Solution

The ISSi PC solution designed with the corporation had numerous unique features incorporated into the system. Looking at this today, one may not consider these features "unique;" however, at the time (1992-‘93) these were unique in the industry, much less the legal environment. A few of them include the following:

  • Single, centralized PC database for all entity types entered into the system
  • Image management workflow integrated with attorney workflow
  • Document, text, and image management integration on a personal computer
  • Redaction (selected masking) of documents "burned" into image
  • Immediate searchability of scanned documents through ISSi’s "self-appending data dictionary"
  • Bar coding of document input and other document identification capabilities
  • System portability and large-scalability
  • Robust online, and offline cataloging for millions of records
  • OCR cleanup and CD-ROM generation
  • Online quality control and quality assurance of scanned input

Web-Enable Financial Audit Application

The Business Situation

The office of the general counsel in the legal group of a large organization required current audit information provided in a more dynamic fashion to monitor all of the organization’s contracts. Monitoring all of the contracts was required by the organization in order to provide reports to nationwide field offices and to comply with Congressional regulations and inquiries.

The Business Challenge

The business challenge to ISSi was to provide a computerized solution, impacted by the following:

  • Complexity of the contracts
  • Interrelationships of the vendors involved
  • Quantity of contracts and associated subcontracts
  • Assumed liability of the contracting organization
  • Many different computer operating systems and platforms in the nationwide field offices
  • "Costs already expended" for the existing application to be redesigned and web-enabled

These challenges required ISSi to completely understand the existing application and retain its workflow and "look and feel" wherever possible. Additionally, because of the nationwide acceptance by the users of the current application, many users would need to be retrained if a new system diverging from the current system were installed.

ISSi's Solution

ISSi responded to the client’s request by Web-enabling the existing application and using the client’s intranet as the vehicle to communicate and store the contract data. ISSi converted an existing MS-Access® database to an ASP-SQL-Server® in order to Web-enable the data. As a result, users can now access the application over the organization’s secure intranet from any nationwide field office regardless of the operating system or computer platform they used locally. The client now receives addenda and modifications to contract financials almost immediately and posts the relevant data for all personnel with the appropriate security access, to view or print reports. As a byproduct of the conversion, the client can now take advantage of the many benefits associated with an ASP-SQL implementation related to telecommunications, data storage scalability, durability, and other advantages over the more limited MS-Access database software.

Management of Web Content for Major Litigation Organization

The Business Situation

A large, wide-spread litigation organization sought an intra/internet Website as a means to attain more effective management of Discovery [production] and delivery. Their vision was innovative for the time as they sought to use the web for posting high profile case content to meet F.O.I.A. requests and Discovery. In meeting the need to get in-sync with their vision ISSi recognized from our commercial experience the importance of establishing guidelines for privilege as well as Court appointed deadlines, but were very excited about the considerable cost reduction that could be attained. This process needed to be consistent with legal practice relating to disclosure, confidentiality, quality control of format, related links to points of law, court-appointed guidelines, and relevant legal requirements. The client's goal was to meet court needs and make relevant materials available quickly to all involved parties worldwide, as well as managing website breach [hacking] and finally to reduce cost of delivery. This was the next step in innovation from our last commercial task.

The Business Challenge

The business challenge confronting ISSi and the organization was primarily from a human perspective. In order for ISSi to receive the contract to manage the Web contents for these high-profile cases, ISSi needed to provide a viable solution which took into consideration the following:

  • Need to respond to court-appointed deadlines
  • Key Users [attorneys] did not have time nor desire to acquire web skills.
  • Compliance with all Congressional Mandates governing web postings; this was before there were e-Discovery guidelines.
  • Litigation teams at diverse locations of the organization across the United States (and the world).
  • The complexity of Cases plus their unique internal review and approval procedures involved for safe guarding sensitive materials.
  • Potential thousands of items, existing in numerous formats, would require posting in the format of the original item and had to meet imposed deadlines [2+ years later, 508 compliant was added to those “must meet” criteria].

ISSi's Solution

An advantage: prior to this task, ISSi was engaged under our 8(a) Contract to redesign the same website to client specifications in preparation for this web-content mgmt task. ISSi worked with the client using their intranet to stage and assemble optional (i.e., color, graphics, navigation) materials for internal approval before development and then deployment.

Basis and concerns: the basis for the ISSi approach was our own experience with numerous workflow solutions over the years including the most relevant being the 1992 conversion of a major Pharmaceuticals’ switch from:

response to Discovery [for major class actions] via “boxes of paper” delivered by18-wheel tractor-trailers taking separate routes  to “CD-ROMs” delivered via Couriers.

The concern was simple, to our knowledge this had not been done before, but we relied on the due diligence and vision of our client that this would be accedpted and that there were no available COTS products (i.e., our preferred approach even if we had to work with the Publisher to make revisions).

The ISSi solution to this desired web-content management need was to use a workflow process containing “workflow stages” that might be needed to post the web-content with each “stage” using software functions needed to meet the needs of the attorney teams, applicable legal directives [knowing these could change], and appropriate QC/QA monitoring of content and format (and eventually 508 compliance that followed). This approach provided flexibility to support growth by inserting/deleting/revising workflow “stages” as needed, or to revise software used at each stage – an advantage proven at previous ISSi client.

ISSi efforts included modules to address the need for document conversion to HTML (which could involve unique attorney requirements). The workflow process might best be defined as a serial string of “check-points” or “assembly-line-steps” as follows:  < 

<receive documents>- -------<acknowledge receipt>   

<sensitive review>---<alert atty-team if sensitive document are believed to exist>

 -otherwise----- <assign to a Web Analyst>

<reformat if required>

<Q/A “step”>

---<correct errors>

 -or- <reject/return to Web Analyst>

-or- <submit to final stage>

<release to posting queue>

<materials posted by schedule>

  <email notifications to all parties>

ISSi suggested that a Project Lead for this web position be an attorney with technical experience to ensure that sensitivity issues were addressed. Experience proved it a suggestion not warranted as the “review stage” proved adequate by the nature of its Process to address sensitive materials.

Example: actual occurrences of sensitive materials were detected by one or both of two specific Web Analyst, one being a MBA and the other being a Paralegal whereby both had years of litigation-support experience.

Note: the ISSi Pharmaceutical project included bringing in an attorney with technology experience to assist in defining the Discovery and Interrogatory and Corporate Sweep aspects of our solution – he remains at legal technology forefront today as a member of the committee to redefine guidelines of e-Discovery, as well as being Lit-Support VP at major Law Firm and sounding board with ISSi for years.

Excluding such high performers as that attorney, experience proved that (i.e., for our budget and relatively simple needs) an attorney with management and functional technical experience did not exist. On the occasion(s) that sensitive materials were identified at the “review and return stage” by one of the two Web Analyst mentioned, they made the Project Lead (i.e., an attorney) aware of them and he returned them to the attorney team involved. In addition a Queue Log was deployed to record all details of Queue activity with the documents from receipt to posting; that is,

  • Who: submitted them, who received them and who processed them at each assembly-stage.
  • What: materials were received (i.e., with brief profile defining the Case, Case-ID, number of items received).
  • When: must they be posted [date-time] in addition to posting deadlines any relevant records-mgmt dates.

Uniqueness of the Solution

ISSi workflow strategy and expansion flexibility and data/document conversion modules to address the needs of this mission were critical components to the success of this application and this organization. Client usability challenges were overcome through innovative teamwork between staff, subcontractors and client.

The result: ISSi was informed that this application became well known within the legal community served by this client. In the 2002 timeframe this task was shifted to another functional section of the client with an assumption on our parts that a COTS solution might be sought. Under this new Contract vehicle--a facility management/staffing vehicle--ISSi no longer had vision into the status of what was being done.