Finding a cost effective, easy-to-manage method for centralizing case management computing resources continues to be a issue for the legal aid community. These organizations require a technology that can link multiple, geographically-separate offices in an simple and, of course, low-cost manner. Existing strategies are either expensive, complicated or require high speed Internet access, which is not universally available.
The answer is to integrate case management functions into a website, which can be accessed by attorneys and staff from any computer - from any office, from home, or on the road.
Pika is the code name for a new CMS (Case Management System), developed specifically for use by not-for-profit legal aid organizations. Pika is actually a website, designed to handle case management tasks. It is accessible with any current web browser, including Netscape® Navigator and Microsoft® Internet Explorer. The integration of case management into a website provides an easy, flexible and inexpensive way of connecting multiple offices and telecommuters to a single, centralized CMS.
Pika is designed from the ground up to run over the web, and is the only
CMS to provide true website access to legal aid programs. As a "website
CMS", Pika has several advantages over both Windows-based, non-centralized
systems and "thin client" (Citrix, Microsoft Terminal Server) centralized
systems. These advantages translate into easier administration, better
scalability and significant financial savings.
Pika has lower hardware requirements than traditional Windows-based applications.
This means that old desktop computers, which are too old to run the latest
Windows case management application, can still be used to access the Pika
system. Pika's lower network bandwidth requirements mean that it will
use less bandwidth, even when many people are using the system concurrently,
and can be used across your existing Internet connections.
Administration costs are also greatly reduced with a website-based system,
since there's no special software to install and maintain on each of the
workstations. Once Pika is installed on the web server, it's instantly
available to all your staff.
Finally, Pika is compatible with low cost, Open Source technologies, such as Linux, Apache and MySQL. These tools take the place of expensive, proprietary software such as MS SQL Server, Citrix and MS Terminal Server.