Forensic Logic Case Study

KMW and Forensic Logic: Accelerating out of Tech Debt with a Modern SolrCloud Search Solution

Not only did KMW get us through this challenge, but LEAP Search is performing well and our customers are happy with it. And KMW essentially taught us how to take care of it ourselves. It was absolutely a wonderful experience.

Ron Mayer, CTO and Cofounder, Forensic Logic

The Challenge

Forensic Logic is an industry-leading SaaS firm that deploys the largest, most powerful network of users, information, and technology in American law enforcement. It is powered by the most advanced search and analysis technology in the industry. Forensic Logic was an early adopter of Solr search technology and, accordingly, its LEAP product originally used an earlier version of Solr that did not yet include support for native geospatial data types or offer sufficient controls for tuning search results.

To offer the full range of features that Forensic Logic’s customers required at the time, Forensic Logic modified its Solr implementation. The fixes worked well, but they also married Forensic Logic to an older version of Solr for many years, causing the company to accumulate a sizable amount of technical debt that would later become an obstacle to digital transformation. “Many years later, we were still maintaining our own fork of old versions of Solr. As our business and data grew, and we wanted to integrate our unstructured Solr search capabilities into our new product COPLINK X, we found that we really needed to modernize our stack,” explains CTO and Cofounder Ron Mayer.

In the meantime, the current version of Solr had begun offering many of the features it once lacked. Geospatial types were now built into Solr, for example, and the methods for tuning search results ranking had also improved in the intervening years. A cloud-native offering, SolrCloud, became available as well, making the prospect of migrating to a more modern version even more compelling.

The Decision Point

Then Forensic Logic acquired COPLINK from IBM in 2017, creating an opportunity to scale the business on a national level. Forensic Logic set out to merge the original solution with COPLINK to create a stronger, integrated product under the COPLINK X brand name. But as Forensic Logic attempted to integrate COPLINK’s structured data into their cloud of largely unstructured data, they began encountering performance problems. Knowing it was critical to find the right expertise to resolve these challenges, Forensic Logic carefully researched their options in the space and identified KMW’s services as a potential match for their needs. The highly complex yet nuanced approach to relevancy that Forensic Logic required was a great fit for the skillset at KMW. 

The Solution

KMW’s service package included an extensive audit of the legacy Forensic Logic LEAP application that sought to understand the modifications that Forensic Logic had made to the old version of Solr as well as the performance challenges they were experiencing at the time. KMW then prepared a report for Forensic Logic that was based on extensive interviews and design discussions as well as code and log and configuration reviews of the existing search system. This report outlined a plan for achieving the desired capabilities in SolrCloud while enhancing the infrastructure upon which legacy LEAP relied.

Short term recommendations included moving facet requests outside of the main query and updating query parameters to make highlighting less expensive, for example, while longer term recommendations spanned areas ranging from the Solr schema design to changes in content ingestion and methods for improving test methodology. KMW also provided guidance on hardware sizing for the QA and production environments.

Training was an important aspect of the service package as well. In the cases where SolrCloud didn’t have the capabilities Forensic Logic needed out of the box, KMW wrote the necessary plug-ins and then trained Forensic Logic’s team to the point where they could manage everything themselves. This way, Forensic Logic could maintain the functionality they had added to the old Solr cluster while taking advantage of the modern SolrCloud offering.  

KMW took great care to understand the unique requirements of search relevance in law enforcement. For example, Forensic Logic had previously trained the older Solr search engine to understand several very subtle domain-specific rules for ranking based on specific types of crimes. Preserving this relevance as Forensic Logic moved to SolrCloud was essential, and KMW helped Forensic achieve this crucial goal, which has carried over into the new flagship integrated product, COPLINK X

Thanks to KMW’s guidance and hands on implementation support, Forensic Logic was able to dig out of its tech debt in a matter of months, fixing the performance problems the company was experiencing with its LEAP search offering and even wind down the project ahead of schedule. Forensic Logic’s customers have since reported greater satisfaction with the improved product. While Forensic Logic has access to KMW support as needed, the Forensic Logic team is now empowered to manage the legacy LEAP solution, now known as COPLINK Search, and COPLINK X, largely on its own.

Having successfully modernized its infrastructure, Forensic Logic is now able to offer a next-generation platform that combines its groundbreaking search technology with advanced analytics. Free from the burdens associated with legacy infrastructure, Forensic Logic now has a solid foundation from which to successfully scale the company and deliver industry-leading technology innovation for the law enforcement community.

Our work with KMW helped us prove out the business model that our investors wanted when they set up the deal for acquiring COPLINK and integrating our product lines. It was absolutely key to being able to accomplish what we set out to do in our migration to SaaS in the cloud.

Ron Mayer, CTO and Cofounder, Forensic Logic

About Forensic Logic

Headquartered in Walnut Creek CA, Forensic Logic COPLINK deploys the largest, most powerful network of users, information, and technology in American law enforcement. Powered by the most advanced search and analysis technology in the industry, Forensic Logic’s mission is to reduce violent crime and give its users the information they need to keep themselves and their communities safe.

About KMW

KMW Technology is a software professional services firm specializing in search, machine learning, and custom application development. KMW has deep expertise in open-source search solutions with a focus on content acquisition, content enrichment, and big data technologies. KMW Technology is a pioneer in combining search engine applications with machine learning techniques to produce next generation intelligent solutions. KMW Technology has delivered many successful solutions for a variety of verticals ranging from Fortune 100 companies to innovative startups and research institutions.