This paper discusses one of the major outstanding problems in atomic collision physics, namely the accurate theoretical treatment of electron scattering from open d-shell systems, and explores how this issue has been addressed over recent years with the development of the new parallel R-matrix suite of codes. It focuses on one code in particular - the new parallel R-matrix package PRMAT, which has recently been extended to account for relativistic fine-structure effects. This program facilitates the determination of accurate electron-impact excitation rates for complex open 3d-shell systems including the astrophysically important Fe-peak ions such as Ni II, Fe II and Fe III. Results are presented for collision strengths and Maxwellian averaged effective collision strengths for the optically forbidden fine-structure transitions of Ni II. To our knowledge this is the most extensive calculation completed to date for this ion.