COURT TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE Front Conference Room Supreme Court, Bismarck August 6, 2010 2 p.m.
Members Participating: Hon. Dale Sandstrom, Supreme Court Justice, Chair Hon. Daniel Narum, Judge - South East Judicial District Hon. Doug Mattson, Judge - North West Judicial District Hon. Frank Racek, Judge - East Central Judicial District Rita Fischer, Deputy Clerk of Court - McKenzie County Penny Miller, Clerk of Supreme Court Donna Wunderlich, District Court Administrator - Unit 3 Sally Holewa, State Court Administrator Becky Absey, Clerk of District Court - Grand Forks County
Members Absent: Hon. Joel Medd, Judge - North East Judicial District Hon. William Herauf, Judge - South West Judicial District
Guests: Jim Gienger, Project Manager for UCIS Replacement Project Rod Olson, District Court Administrator - Unit 2 Chris Iverson, Trial Court Manager - Unit 2 Kathryn Ouren, Clerk of District Court - Cass County Wanda Knutson, Clerk of District Court - Mercer County Barb Hill, Clerk of District Court - Stutsman County Brandi Fagerland, ITD Project Oversight Manager
Staff: Larry Zubke, Director of Technology Don Wolf, Directory of Finance Alex Gonzalez, Programmer Analyst
The meeting was called to order by Chair Sandstrom.
Approval of Minutes from June 25, 2010 Meeting Penny Miller moved to approve the June 25, 2010 meeting minutes. Donna Wunderlich
seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Odyssey Implementation Tyler Management Meeting Status Justice Sandstrom continued the meeting with a recap of a meeting held the previous week
between members of the Operations Oversight Group and representatives from Tyler
Technology's management team. He stated that the meeting was convened to discuss issues with
Tyler regarding the lack of progress on the electronic filing and case initiation technology, the
interactive voice response system (IVR), and concerns regarding support hours.
Justice Sandstrom stated that he felt the message that we are dissatisfied with the previous
performance in the area of e-filing was effectively conveyed and that Tyler appeared to express
willingness to get things back on track, as supported by the recent speed with which Tyler has
been adding additional case types to the system. He also stated that Tyler had expressed interest
in having representatives at both the Court Technology Committee meetings and the weekly
Operations Oversight Group meetings.
Sally Holewa added that she believed the Tyler representatives came ready to listen to what we
had to say. She stated that she felt they understood that we are not impressed with the third party
integrations with Odyssey. She said that in response to that conversation, the progress on e-filing
has taken off since the meeting. In addition, Sally stated that she had expressed dissatisfaction
with the progressive patching process that Tyler currently employs, and expressed the need for
more hot fix type patches in order to resolve issues in a more timely manner. She said that Tyler
was also interested in breaking out of the progressive patching format, and is currently
attempting to find a way to do so.
Jim Gienger agreed with Justice Sandstrom and Sally Holewa and added that he thought as a
result of the conversation there would be better participation and communication from Tyler
management regarding the management of the project. He also stated that the relationship was a
two-way street and he felt that as we communicate more with Tyler on what the North Dakota
management side is looking for in the Odyssey product, we will effect changes that will provide
us with better software.
At this point Justice Sandstrom asked the committee if Tyler representatives should be allowed
to attend both the Court Technology Committee meetings as well as every other Operations
Oversight Group meeting. No objections were voiced so it was decided that Tyler representatives
will be invited to take part in the meetings.
Odyssey Project Status Update Jim Gienger provided an update on the Odyssey Project. He began by explaining that there had
recently been a data push that was completed and he stated that results looked much cleaner than
previous data conversions and as a result we can eliminate one of the planned data conversions
for this phase. He also reported that there is a scheduled mock go-live scheduled to take place
next month in which Tyler will have one of their database analysts on-site to work with the
Judicial Branch Information Technology (JBIT) programmers in order to prepare for the actual
go-live in November.
Jim Gienger reported that the previous week there was a Session Works conference held in
Grand Forks which consisted of a basic overview of the system the first day, a process flow
discussion on the second day, and then a session on the availability of forms as well as their uses
on the final day of the conference. He also stated that during the lunch breaks, an Odyssey
demonstration was provided to the judges in Grand Forks.
Following the discussion on Session Works, Jim reviewed current project statistics for costs and
schedule stating that it is within 5% variance on both. Brandi Fagerland stated that from a large
project standpoint our project continues to be going well and she has no concerns at this time.
Electronic Filing Status Jim then moved on to discuss the status of the Electronic Filing rollout with Odyssey File and
Serve. He explained that Tyler had delivered the configuration of the remaining case types into
the web portal and that the four law firms that are currently using the e-filing technology can
now submit documents for any of the 35 case types. Jim then stated that the e-filing solution was
still missing the restricted case types. He also stated that Vogel Law firm was trained in the
previous week on how to use the new e-filing system.
Rod Olson then expanded upon the training experience stating that he felt the training was very
good and that Tyler did a good job addressing issues that pertained to their business process. He
stated that Cass County is looking forward to using e-filing and that Kathy Ouren would be
meeting with the Regional Child Support Unit for training on e-filing as they had previously
expressed interest in utilizing the system.
E- Signatures Status Jim Gienger provided an update on the status of the e-signatures module inside of Odyssey. He
stated that there had been work done on the project, and a roll-out is planned. He also stated that
all signatures had been gathered for judges and clerks in the counties that are part of the initial
roll out and that work flow queues had been set up for processing the signed documents. Jim
then stated that there were three initial issues with the system and that two of them had been
resolved with the remaining issue not being a road block to completing the roll out. He stated
that the Training on E-Signatures is scheduled to be held via WebEx for Unit 2 at the end of
October and the system will go-live then. E-Signature rollout for Unit 1 will be on November 1st,
in conjunction with their Odyssey go-live.
Municipal Roll-Out Status Jim Gienger provided an update on the status of the municipal courts that are planning to go-live
on Odyssey with Unit 1. He stated that there are three municipals coming online in November
and that they would be participating in several WebEx conferences in order to gather
configuration information and allow them to receive Odyssey basics training.
Web Payments Jim Gienger reported that there had not been any updates on web payments and things have been
going smoothly with them. He also stated that Interactive Voice Response (IVR) payments were
available only for traffic cases.
Larry Zubke then updated the committee on the options for future state-wide roll out of IVR
payments stating that there were four options that were considered.
The first option is to continue using the Sonant solution and one merchant account per county.
Larry stated that these merchant accounts were quite expensive and each county would require a
dedicated merchant account. In addition to this, he said the Courts would need to maintain a T1
line with a toll-free phone number which would cost $630 per month for the T1 line and $0.07
per minute for the toll-free phone number.
The second option considered would be to share one merchant account between all counties.
This option requires a $5,000 cost for Sonant to re-program their system and creates accounting
and reconciling difficulties for the State Treasurer's Office and the Court's Finance department.
The third option would be to purchase merchant accounts for the six largest counties, and use a
single shared merchant account for the remaining counties. Larry stated that this option was
ruled out as it would be quite expensive as well and still would create difficulties for the
accounting divisions regarding reconciliation of the single shared account.
The fourth option considered is a new IVR solution developed by Tyler to be included into the
base Odyssey product. He stated that this solution has been used in other Tyler products and that
the cost would be a $0.14 per minute usage charge and one merchant account per county at a
lower cost of $5.00 each. As Larry stated, this cost is much lower than the Sonant solution,
eliminates the need to maintain a T1 line, eliminates reconciling shared merchant accounts, and
overall is believed to be the best solution.
Larry Zubke provided statistics on web payments for the last 3 months: the average length of
calls is 3.87 minutes, and 6.4% of Cass County tickets have been paid via IVR. Rod Olson
added that he believes there is approximately a 2 to 1 ratio of payments for web based versus
IVR payments in Cass County. In response to a question, Don Wolf confirmed that multiple
merchant accounts would make reconciliation simpler. Jim Gienger then stated that the changes
to the web payment solution would have a minimal impact on the project management schedule.
Justice Sandstrom informed the Committee that it appeared Tyler was going to be ending their
relationship with Sonant. He then asked for a consensus on using the fourth option for future
IVR payments. There being no objections, it was decided by consensus to adopt the Tyler
solution for IVR payments.
Attorney Web Access Sally Holewa updated the committee on the status of the attorney web access. She stated that
there have been some scheduling delays to getting the attorneys access because it was decided
that it should wait until after Justice Sandstrom's presentation on e-filing as well as some
updates from Tyler to the security on the secure public access website which would negate the
necessity for JBIT staff to generate and send out passwords every 90 days. Larry Zubke then
stated that the secure public access website is ready to roll-out now; however, the change to the
security will not be available until later this fall. Justice Sandstrom then added that the State Bar
Association Conference presentation will explain the e-filing process and the attorneys will be
required to sign legal agreements stating that they will file electronically in exchange for secure
public access in their offices, so they will not have to pay to use it. Donna Wunderlich stated that
she thought it was a good idea to allow the law firms use of secure public access in this manner
as it would increase the usage of the e-filing technology.
Session Works Becky Absey provided an update on the progress of Session Works stating that the training
process was going well so far. She also stated that she is continuing to work with the forms
group in order to get the forms completed in time to be used for training in October. Becky then
stated that she wanted training to put an emphasis on the use of hotkeys in order to make the
clerks more efficient at using Odyssey.
Continuity of Operations Planning Justice Sandstrom provided an introduction on the need for continuity of operations planning and
what it entails. Larry Zubke then presented his investigation into what type of disaster recovery
plan would best fit with the current status of the Court systems. He began by stating that a
continuity of operations plan is not something that is put together quickly. He then stated that the
four steps of developing a plan are completing a risk assessment, completing a business
requirements and impact analysis, developing a business continuity plan that mitigates the most
probable risks and is affordable and maintainable, and lastly, deployment of the plan, testing and
continuous upkeep into the future.
Larry then explained the risk assessment portion of the disaster recovery plan he developed by
stating that all risks were rated and it was determined that the highest risks posed are from power
losses due to storms and natural causes as well as telecommunications issues, such as network
failures. He also listed the following additional risks: flooding, blizzards, loss of key staff, and
security data loss.
Following the discussion on risk assessment, Larry continued with his findings for impact
analysis. He defined the process as asking what systems are most mission-critical and how long
they can be down. He stated that the Court's currently have 88 servers running with virtual
machine technology, which allows for much simpler disaster recovery as the hardware can differ
as long as the virtual machines are set up the same way.
Continuing the discussion on the continuity of operations plan, Larry delved into the cost
analysis portion. He began by explaining that if you have duplicate facilities you will have
higher expenses that will cost as much or more than the original. Justice Sandstrom then noted
that this is what Minnesota does currently with their Odyssey system. He stated that Minnesota's
backup is contained outside of the Twin Cities area. Larry then stated that he had contacted IBM
and found that it would be three to four weeks to get the exact same hardware that is being used
currently from them in order to restore our systems in the case of disaster. He then went on to
explain the three kinds of back up sites as a hot site, which is a real time back up of the system, a
warm site, a slightly delayed back up of the system with intermittent communications with the
main system, and a cold site, which is a backup of the system where the main system has a kind
of snapshot taken of it on a certain schedule and the backup system is then built to make use of
the snapshot. Larry explained that the more frequently a warm site is updated the more
bandwidth is required in order to maintain that schedule.
Larry then explained that he met with four different vendors to determine costs for a backup
solution. He said the first vendor he met with was the Executive Branch's ITD department. He
stated that he had expected ITD to be the most effective solution but found that ITD does not
have a full backup site for its own servers, but instead has a small disaster recovery site in
Mandan. They would not have the space required in their disaster recovery site for the Court's
equipment. Larry went on to state that ITD does have room for us in the Department of
Transportation basement computer room. He stated that currently at the Judicial Branch
Information Technology (JBIT) facility in downtown Bismarck we don't have a generator
backup system; instead we have a battery backup. In addition, he also stated the current JBIT
facility does have two air conditioning units, but the backup unit cannot handle the full load of
the server room. He then went on to explain that moving to the DOT building would address
many of the current risks identified in the risk assessment. Larry noted that the move to this
facility had been discussed for some time and a date for the servers to be relocated to the DOT
building has been set for September 25, 2010. The cost for the next biennium would come in at
around $40,800 to house the JBIT equipment in the DOT building. In response to a question
from Donna Wunderlich, Larry replied that the only issue for the JBIT staff would be the
inconvenience of changing the daily backup tapes.
The second option that Larry researched was using Tyler Technologies. However, this option is
not really a full back up option as Tyler said they would be willing to only back up our Odyssey
sites, but nothing more. Larry also stated that this option was fairly expensive and that they
refused to back up any of our other virtual servers such as email, etc. He then said that this
option would involve a nightly backup of the system and allow up to 30 people simultaneous
access to the backup system in a disaster situation. More access could be added for additional
The third option presented by Larry was through a company called High Plains Technology.
Larry stated that this is the company that the current IBM servers had been purchased through.
He also said that they suggested a redundant system located in the Dakota Carrier Networks
(DCN) building in Fargo with the same hardware as what is currently in use and a three year
disaster recovery site for a total of $894,000. However, Larry stated this would not include costs
of implementing a network connection to the building, and it would also not include any
Microsoft or Odyssey licenses. He then stated that he did not know how much staff time it would
take to get the DCN site up and running and that there may be issues with upgrading firmware or
patching which would cause travel to Fargo to become a necessity.
Larry said that generally disaster recovery sites are located at least 100 miles from the main site.
He then said that the Dakota Carrier Network also had just broken ground on a building north of
Bismarck, and that we may be able to lease network space there in approximately one year's
time. Larry then went on to explain that DCN is the company that ITD purchases network
In response to a question from Justice Sandstrom, Larry responded that our hardware update
cycle is every fourth year, so costs for the disaster recovery site in the fourth year would need to
include a hardware update which would mean the server hardware would have to be reevaluated
in order to remain in synch with the current server setup. The costs are likely to be around two
million dollars to upgrade the production equipment and the disaster recovery equipment, in
addition to the cost to rent the site.
The fourth option Larry researched involved a company called First National Technology
Solutions. He stated that the company provides quite a few different options for disaster recovery
sites, and that he had asked for an estimate based on a warm site configuration. Larry then said
that First National Technology Solutions suggested the best option would be for the Courts to
purchase a second disk storage unit and place it in their facility. The storage system would then
provide redundant backup. He stated that the estimate came in at $750,000 for a three year site
with 60 virtual servers. The largest portion of this cost, Larry noted, came from the purchase of
the new disk storage system. Larry also stated that this quote did not include business continuity
planning and that the fourth year would cost around $500,000 plus any increases in rates from
First National Technology Solutions.
Justice Sandstrom then continued the discussion by asking Larry for his suggestions for a
solution. Larry replied by stating that he thought a two phase approach would work best, with the
first phase being a relocation of the servers from the downtown JBIT building to the DOT
basement computer room near the capital, and the second phase being a more in-depth
evaluation of the continuity of operations plan with additional funding from the legislature.
Judge Racek then asked how long it would take to duplicate the servers if something catastrophic
happened, and Larry replied by stating that it would be three to four weeks for a complete
replication with the exact hardware but that other hardware could be used as a stopgap during
that period due to our use of virtual machines. Judge Racek then noted that the expense for
having the immediate disaster recovery system seemed quite high when creative record keeping
could be done for the period when servers were unavailable.
Justice Sandstrom then asked what amount of money would be required to complete an in-depth
business continuity plan and if there was money in the current budget for any kind of continuity
planning. Larry Zubke replied by stating that he has estimates requiring $80,000 to $100,000 to
complete a plan and that there was $60,000 allocated for miscellaneous disaster recovery
purposes. Justice Sandstrom then asked if it was necessary to request an additional $100,000 or
if the $60,000 would be allocated to continuity planning. Sally Holewa stated that the $60,000
currently budgeted for disaster recovery is money put aside to purchase hardware for use in
emergencies and an additional amount should be requested for continuity planning.
Sally Holewa moved to include an additional $100,000 in the 2011-2013 budget for the
purpose of completing a comprehensive business continuity plan for the Courts. Rita
Fisher seconded the motion and motion carried.
2011-2013 Technology Budget Larry Zubke explained the changes between the previous technology budget which was proposed
at the last meeting and the budget that was before the committee now. The following changes
were made: · Removed $383,800 for the cost of Session Works - Judge's Edition · Increased total Citrix PC numbers to include judge's benches since touch screens would
not be installed for Session Works · Removed $200,000 for the cost to roll out the current Sonant IVR solution statewide · Added $6,000 to cover the Tyler IVR $0.14 cent per minute charges · Reduced the cost to house server equipment at the DOT from $79,800 to $40,800 · Added in the Unit requests for IT related expenses of small printers, projectors, etc. · Added in IT related costs for Cass County courthouse expansion The discussion then turned to the cost of telecommunications lines in Cass County with Justice
Sandstrom asking why they were increasing. Larry responded by stating that previously the
courthouse had been using the county phone switch for a minimal cost, but that the county had
decided to upgrade their equipment and requested that the Court find a different solution for their
phone service. This mandated the use of ITD's telecommunication solutions which are more
Judge Mattson moved to include the budget changes and approve the 2011-2013 technology
budget. Judge Narum seconded the motion and motion carried.
In response to a question from Justice Sandstrom, Jim Gienger indicated that he was comfortable
with the budget.
For the Good of the Order The meeting was adjourned by Justice Sandstrom. The next meeting is scheduled for October 8,
2010. It was noted by Justice Sandstrom that management personnel from Tyler Technologies
will be present at that meeting and future meetings until the project is completed.