Combining a problem-solving mind with a customer-friendly attitude, Chandru Solraj offers the best of both worlds.
A database administrator at the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s office, Solraj, 46, is part of a six-person team that oversees computer services for more than 600 agency staff in 40 offices.
With a Smart Defense grant from the federal government, Solraj has led the SPD’s Reporting, Analysis and Mining Project and works to improve the agency’s case-management system. The system, dating to the 2000s, includes data from across the state pertaining to more than 2 million case appointments and is crucial for case-specific tasks such as appointing attorneys, checking for conflicts and answering client questions.
“When I came aboard I realized there was a lack of information the attorneys were looking for,” he said. “So our goal was to make sure the data we capture allows for robust and enhanced reporting.”
The RAMP project improves the agency’s ability to collect, report and analyze data. That, in turn, provides reports on litigation trends and outcomes, contributes to attorney-performance data and supports evidence-based decision-making on budgets and broader policies.
“Chandru’s skillset of developing technical solutions that fit into the SPD’s business processes has been of great benefit,” said Randy Kraft, SPD communications director. “Chandru is also a pleasure to work with, as he embodies a mindful and peaceful approach to his work.”
His expertise has been recognized nationally, and he has been selected to report on his project at three national conferences.
Before coming to the SPD two years ago, Solraj worked as an information-technology expert at various companies. In 1994, he moved to the United States from southeast India.
From 1994 to 1995, he worked in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew to mend the state’s public distribution system for its welfare program. He then moved to Madison, where he still lives.
Solraj said he takes great satisfaction from knowing that his work helps lawyers do their jobs.
“The Sixth Amendment is everybody’s right, and the technology and tools can help the people on the ground do their work,” he said. “Also from the technical point of view, it gives me an understanding of the pulse of the project and allows me to work within the guidelines of the state, but work creatively to give the attorneys what they need.”