With the release of Lima v2.9 scheduled for May 10th Andrew Frowen discusses how Lima has defined capabilities and standards in Forensic Case Management for over a decade, and now version 2.9 is set to rewrite the rules.
Lima has long been at the forefront of forensic casework management; how did it all begin?
When I started IntaForensics back in 2006 the landscape of digital forensics was rapidly changing and we needed a platform that was granular, accountable and auditable, which simply didn’t exist for medium sized businesses; so we decided to build our own.
Initially it was only intended to be an internal system, but our clients were so impressed that they began asking if we could provide them with the platform, so we spent time commercialising the product and Lima was born in 2009.
The release of Lima v2.9 marks a significant evolutionary step in forensic casework management, how do you anticipate it will reshape the marketplace?
Fast forward now to 2021, the advent of version 2.9 is really exciting because for the past decade Lima has primarily focussed on digital forensics and now, we have opened Lima’s capabilities to any type of investigation or forensic casework.
We have been demonstrating Lima v2.9 to a number of clients and the reception has been incredible. The ability to match any department with any evidence and any test makes Lima v2.9 a seriously versatile tool across the whole of forensic science.
The wider forensics community still struggles with the same difficulties surrounding case management that I faced back in 2006. The only options are either very heavy and expensive or very light and inflexible, which is why Lima v2.9 is a genuine game changer.
Lima v2.9 not only allows users to record and track any type of evidence, from Drones evidence to DNA, but brings the data together providing transparency and giving a holistic view of a forensic investigation.
Looking at a real-world example it allows police officers or crime scene investigators attending a crime scene to collect multiple evidence types, whether fibres or fingerprints, on a single system which would have traditionally been siloed in separate lab systems. The Lima Portal then allows that investigator to submit all evidence types for analysis in one single process, reducing the amount of time on rekeying information on sperate systems.
As every investigator knows, if you examine items in isolation it’s all too easy to make the mistake of thinking that you are analysing the only piece of evidence recovered from a scene.
The development of Lima v2.9 has been shaped by listening to your analysts’ and your clients’ needs, what are the most common constraints of other casework management systems?
As well as opening Lima to the wider forensics community, and providing a helicopter view of an investigation, we have always been driven by empowering end users. Most of our installations are done on premise, although Lima can be installed in the Cloud, and most are operated by the client who purchases the product rather than having to rely on wider IT organisations.
Put another way, you don’t need to be a developer or a SQL Admin to get the most out of Lima. We have made it easy to match your localised environment, without the cost of going back to a software developer. We have also built a simple and intuitive interface that anyone familiar with their processes can easily operate and replicate.
As well as listening to casework managers’ needs we’ve also been careful to listen to wider business’ needs and our Lima Insight application enables transparency and easy reporting throughout an organisation. Customisable dashboards allow management to pull through relevant information and metrics to streamline statistics and reporting, which most platforms can’t provide. Lima Insight is an application that allows stakeholders and line managers to get exactly the information they want when it’s needed, without being bogged down by the detail of the investigation.
Lima has an impressive client base, including being used by 60% of UK police forces, what do you think really sets it apart from the competition?
Initially we were the only horse in the stable, there were no other platforms that could provide the level of accountability and transparency that was needed in a newly regulated industry.
However, over the years Lima has become embedded within the DNA of organisations across the globe, much like people use Outlook or Word. Lima has become the ‘go to’ tool for forensic casework management and trust has spread uptake throughout the industry to wider verticals.
In fact, Lima is now being used by a large number of multinational organisations involved in Banking, Risk and Regulatory Compliance, these can vary from Professional Services Networks to Casino Corporations. Lima’s uses are very diverse, and basically cover anything that involves investigation.
Lima is robust, it’s been well and truly tested and independently reviewed, both internally and externally, all of which mitigates risk. Readers might be surprised to learn that some competitors just supply development frameworks and customers then have to pay developers to build the product into a useable system. Not only is it expensive and time consuming, but it’s also untested.
Lima is completely different, it’s an ‘off the shelf’ solution that’s completely customisable. In fact, we have had organisations who have purchased a licence in the morning and will be up-and-running by the afternoon, configured to their localised environment.
Lima v2.9 boasts a raft of new Functions and Features, which three would you choose to showcase Lima’s new capabilities?
I’ve mentioned this already, but the real standout feature is the ability to use Lima v2.9 for any item type. For example: I recently demonstrated Lima v2.9 for a vetting agency, covering security clearance and criminal record checking, and it’s the perfect tool for the job using a ‘person’ as an ‘item type’. This is just one example of the use cases of the Lima solution.
The next key feature is the ability for users to create their own forms and form fields, and more importantly the functionality to associate the forms with one (or more) of the items created in the system.
It makes Lima v2.9 infinitely capable of meeting today’s needs and what’s coming around the corner. Technology moves at such a pace, platforms need to be versatile enough to move at the same speed. Lima v2.9 provides a futureproofed solution by moving in parallel with the pace of technology.
Take smartwatches as an example, which only really became available to consumers in the past ten years, traditional forensic casework management systems are far too rigid to be able to react to changes and therefore quickly become redundant. Of course Lima v2.9 is completely different, you don’t have to wait for software developers to make changes, you just do it within the system.
I’ve also got to mention the ability to add conditional forms within the submission process. We have evolved the Lima submissions Portal to enable users to pre-set conditions (think checklists or workflows) at the initial evidence/ item submission stage to ensure that everything that may be needed for an investigation is recorded and tracked at source.
It’s belt-and-braces functionality that allows investigators to return to the original incident and be confident that they have everything recorded that might be needed for ongoing investigations, such as who? what? when? and how? the item was triaged, and of course users have ability to set the conditions depending on the item in question.
Andrew do you have any further thoughts?
I just can’t wait for May the 10th when Lima v2.9 can really flex its’ muscles and help organisations across the globe with a bulletproof and futureproof case management solution .
To find out more about Lima v2.9 or to arrange a demonstration visit: https://www.intaforensics.com/book-a-demo/ or Tel: 0247 77 17780 to talk to a member of our team.