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OC Technology Quarterly
OC Technology Quarterly OCTechnologyQuarterly
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September 2012 Issue 2 - Volume 01
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From the CIO
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In this quarter’s newsletter, I’d like to focus on a critical IT initiative, known as “IT Sourcing”. This initiative focuses on the rebid for the IT services currently being provided by Xerox (formerly ACS). I’d like to address questions as to why we are doing this, what is changing, and some of the benefits that will be gained.
 
Why are we doing this?
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The County’s current ten year, $250 million contract with Xerox ended in June
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2011. Recognizing the need to provide continuity of service, the County made a decision to rebid the contract and began the process of developing and issuing an RFP in 2009. The process has been complex and has included participation from many County Agencies on the selection team.

At the same time, the County’s existing PBX-based telephone system has reached the end of its useful life and the County’s data network has become more complex and difficult to manage over time. A decision was made to include a scope in the RFP to replace the current systems with a converged network that allows both voice and data to be carried over a single network, as opposed to the two separate networks that we have in place today. The telephone system will be Voice over IP (VoIP) based, which has several advantages over the current system, including lower cost of ownership and easier management. Additionally, this initiative seeks to ensure that the County operates as efficiently as possible and is in line with IT industry standards that have evolved over time.
 
What is changing?
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The County has relied on Information Technology to be an integral component for providing services to its constituents since the 1970s. During this period, the exponential rate of technological innovation has allowed for computing power and capability to be embedded in almost every consumer good today. IT support services have had to grow and evolve as well, from supporting mainframes to servers and desktops and now tablets and mobile devices. The County has relied on a mix of both internal County IT professionals and contract IT staff for these services. Our Data Center and Voice services have been contracted out under what is known as a “staff augmentation" model, where the vendor works under direction of the County with respect to how services are provided.

The IT service model is changing as a result of technological innovation. For instance, servers can now be consolidated on virtual platforms and users can add or remove processing power on demand. Storage capacity can be bought and paid for by the amount consumed, eliminating the need to buy excess hardware. Businesses are less interested in the “how” of the IT services they are buying than in the “what”. By way of example, as long as servers and networks are up and available 99.9 percent of the time, organizations are willing to pay a fixed price for this service regardless of where and how services are provided. These “managed services” are provided based on industry standard “Service Level Agreements" (SLA). Typical service level measures include call response time and first call resolution percentage for Service Desk or server and network availability for Data Center services. Having measurable service levels ensures at least minimum standards are being reached and that the client gets what they are paying for.
 
What services are in scope?
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In the RFP, vendors were asked to bid on two scopes of work. Scope 1 includes the following:
  • Data Center Services
    • Server hosting and support
    • Enterprise storage
    • Operations management, monitoring and reporting
    • Disaster Recovery

  • Service Desk - Incident and problem resolution

  • Desktop Support - Remote or onsite

  • Applications Support
Vendors will be responsible for supporting the IT assets currently managed by CEO/IT. Agencies that do not use CEO/IT for these services will have an opportunity to opt in initially or acquire these services in the future through a rate plan.

Scope 2 services include the following:
  • Transition support of the current voice and data networks and security (Agency Local Area Networks and the County’s Wide Area Network) to the selected vendor

  • Migration of the County’s current voice and data network systems to a Countywide, converged Voice and Data Network

  • Ongoing management and support of the converged Voice and Data Network
For Scope 2, all Agencies are included except those that currently have a VoIP system in place. The vendor will integrate existing systems with the new VoIP system, with the option of rolling support under the Sourcing contract at a later date. For the Law & Justice Agencies, the vendor will design and install the solution and their Agency IT staff will provide the ongoing support of the system.
 
What are the benefits?
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Perhaps the most visible benefit to clients under Scope 1 will be in the area of Service Desk support. Currently, most calls made to the Service Desk are passed on to a second level of support. In the future, the Service Desk will be required to resolve the issue on the first call 70 percent of the time. Resolving client issues during the initial call both improves client satisfaction and reduces support costs by eliminating the need to refer the call to a second level support.

Less visible but equally significant benefits will be realized from Data Center services. Service levels will be established for all critical activities, such as percentage of uptime (99.9%+) for servers and the time required to provision servers. All of these metrics will be made available through online dashboards that will measure performance and quality of service, providing enhanced transparency of IT services.

With respect to Scope 2 services, significant benefits can be derived upon completion of the converged voice and data networks. With a converged network, equipment and circuits can be consolidated to reduce maintenance costs. At the desktop level, Agencies will be able to choose from a variety of options with respect to how messages (voice and email) are delivered. Business needs and client preferences will guide the selection of additional options, including the choice between traditional handsets and less expensive “softphones”. Cost related to moving handsets or phone numbers for staff transfers are also eliminated.

In the long term, Agencies will be able to integrate their applications into the voice system so that staff that interact with clients over the phone can provide them with more effective and timely resolution of issues. Collaboration will also be significantly improved through instant conferencing and document sharing.

We anticipate awarding the new IT Sourcing contracts in December 2012, and look forward to working with our new Vendor (s) and County Agencies as the transition to the Managed Service contract begins in January 2013.

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green arrow Featured in this month's newsletter
01 Initiatives 02 Program Brief 03 In Recognition 04 IT Service Spotlight 05 Did You Know?
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Initiatives
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CSS is Going Virtual!
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virtual spacer The Department of Child Support Services (CSS) is using technology to improve business processes, implementing Document Imaging Solutions to virtualize the distribution of mail throughout the Agency and provide online access to Court documents.

In 2011, CSS manually processed approximately 325,000 pieces of incoming mail from customers, other jurisdictions, County agencies, and local child support agencies. CSS’s Project Management Office (PMO) partnered with Agency

Operations staff to assess the current method of correspondence distribution. They identified business process improvements, appropriate distribution of mail, and resources to ensure business objectives would be met through the use of a virtual mail processing solution.

CSS is using the County of Orange OnBase Enterprise solution to develop their Virtual Mail system. The system includes imaging and indexing of incoming correspondence with predefined keywords for search, automated workflows, and electronic storage of documents.

Process improvements identified through the use of CSS Virtual Mail include:
  • Online access to mail with automated workflows to route mail to designated team mailboxes and file cabinets
  • Auto-fill keywords using data from the CSS case management system to streamline data entry
  • Email alerts for priority mail
  • Custom views and filters to manage and distribute workload
  • Establishment of a master database to allow case workers to search and retrieve images.
Virtual Mail eliminates the manual processing of incoming mail. Time spent on manual processes will be drastically reduced and efficiencies gained by eliminating the need to physically route mail. More importantly, staff will benefit from the ability to immediately access documents online.

In collaboration with CEO/IT OnBase Specialists, the CSS Virtual Mail solution is being developed in three phases. The CSS PMO has finalized the workflows and business requirements for Phase I and is currently conducting User Acceptance Testing to validate the technical solution. Implementation of the Virtual Mail solution is scheduled to be released in January 2013.

In addition to the implementation of the Virtual Mail project, CSS is also using OnBase to develop an Electronic Litigation File (ELF) to be used by Court Operations staff and attorneys to access document images in the courtroom. Court staff previously kept physical documents required for court in file folders. CSS staff utilize these folders as they prepare for court, customer interviews, and court hearings. This paper-based system required CSS staff to gather and copy court documents, organize them in folders, and transport them to Lamoreaux Justice Center on a daily basis. ELF streamlines this process and eliminates the paper file folders. Attorneys prepare their cases, including case notes and document annotations, using the OnBase document imaging system and can access these files online using a laptop in the courtroom.

The OnBase system has provided the toolset for CSS to go virtual and improve business processes. These are just a couple examples of how CSS continues to improve customer service and gain efficiencies through the use of innovative technology!
 
OC Justice Partners Implement Wireless at the Courts
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wireless spacer With the advanced use of computers in criminal justice proceedings, the Public Defender and District Attorney’s Offices began hardwiring courtrooms as needed to provide staff with access to Agency networks. This was a very expensive proposition and became even more difficult when the Superior Court moved operations from one courtroom to another.

In response to the need for more efficient and cost-effective methods of providing network access, Jerry Sakelaris of the Public Defender’s Office invited the Sheriff, Probation and the

District Attorney to partner on a project to install wireless network connectivity in the courtrooms. The Justice Partners received funding from CEO/IT in FY 2007/08 to install a secure wireless network in a limited number of Adult Criminal arraignment courtrooms. The Justice Partners were successful in completing the installation of a secure wireless network in the majority of these courtrooms. This project built the foundation for the creation of an electronic courtroom that would allow for more efficient access to data and information.

The original wireless equipment reached its end of life in FY 2011/2012. The Justice Partners came together and decided there was a business need to upgrade the wireless access points in 51 courtrooms and deploy wireless to the remaining 94 courtrooms. A request was then submitted to CEO/IT for funding to support this next phase. As part of due diligence, the Justice Partners found that several other County Agencies (i.e., Health Care Agency, Child Support Services, Social Services Agency and County Counsel) would also benefit from wireless access in the courtrooms. The partners modified the scope of the project to allow any County Agency to use wireless access in the courts.

The budget for the expansion of the wireless network within courtrooms was approved, and in July 2011 the Justice Partners Wireless Project had its official kick-off. Jerry Sakelaris from the Public Defender’s Office was named the Project Manager. This was a one year project with an original completion date of June 30, 2012.

In October 2011, the project ran into an unexpected delay when the Courts requested a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the County and the Courts. The County Executive Office and County Counsel worked with the Justice Partners to establish the MOU. In April of 2012, the Board of Supervisors approved the MOU between the County and the Courts and the project completion date was reset to September 30, 2012.

By August of 2012, a full month before the revised completion date, the Justice Partners, along with the Courts, successfully completed both the upgrades of the wireless access points inside the 51 original courtrooms and the implementation of the 94 new wireless access points in the remaining courtrooms. Each participating Agency can now securely connect to their respective network from the Courts. Staff can access court documents online and in real time when in the courtroom, eliminating the time and cost to prepare hard copies of documents beforehand.

Thanks to the hard work and collaboration of the Public Defender, District Attorney, CEO, CEO/IT, County Counsel and Superior Court staff, the wireless project succeeded in meeting business objectives; a great example of County collaboration and teamwork!
 
Assessment Tax System (ATS II) is a Success
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assesssment spacer The Orange County Assessor is the first in California to successfully develop and implement a major new Assessment System. The new Assessment Tax System (ATS II) provides staff with the 21st century tools needed to effectively value and assess taxable property. This was a significant systems development project that was completed on time and with a lower total system cost than the original legacy system built between 1984 and 1991 (in adjusted dollars).

The ATS Re-Engineering Project was initiated in 2007 to update
and move the legacy Assessment Tax system off the County mainframe. The mainframe-based version of ATS was developed 25 years ago using the IDEAL programming language, which the vendor began phasing out support for in the mid-2000s. The ATS II Re-Engineering project objective was to take advantage of newer technology and re-engineer the legacy ATS on a Microsoft .NET application platform and migrate to a lower cost blade server production environment.

The Assessor Department assembled a team of in-house subject matter experts and outside contract resources for this project. Xerox/ACS, the County IT contractor, provided the key application development resources for the project. CEO/IT provided the critical production hardware and network platform support. The project was also conducted in close coordination with the Property Tax Management System (PTMS) project that is supporting the Auditor-Controller, Clerk of the Board, and Treasurer-Tax Collector in related business functions.

The re-engineered system is comprised of modules that include existing and expanded ATS functionality. Using a design-build, iterative software development approach, ATS II was developed and deployed to production in August 2011. The new system was used to successfully develop and deliver the Fiscal Year 2012/13 Rolls of Value on schedule in July 2012. This was a significant ATS II milestone. The Secured Roll has 914,000 parcels (784,000 residential, 47,000 commercial/industrial and 83,000 timeshare, rural and other) with a valuation of over $408 billion. The Unsecured Roll has roughly 139,000 assessments (106,000 businesses, 32,000 boats and 790 aircraft) with a valuation of over $19 billion.

ATS II is intuitive, descriptive, more efficient, accessible, flexible in presentation, and provides department users with many benefits, including:
  • Customizable screen views and page views that can be saved by users
  • Universal tools for the integration and output of information from more than one source and more than one software or hardware platform
  • Pull-down menus and sort/filter functions
  • Seamless interfaces with the document storage platform and other tool sets
  • Flexible note and remark capability
  • Enhanced task processing with workflow
  • System data integrity and security
ATS II will support the Assessor Department effectively and efficiently for years to come, providing technology essential to meeting annual property assessment and valuation mandates. It is anticipated that ATS II will continue to be updated and adjusted over time to accommodate changes in property tax laws, demands from the public, and department users.
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Program Brief
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Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR): Business and IT Working Together to be Prepared
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You wouldn’t know it from the weather, but fall is here. And even though the leaves on our trees haven’t turned and there’s no chill in the evening air, we can always tell when autumn is upon us.

How? Start with September being National Preparedness Month. The Board of Supervisors has once again passed a resolution recognizing the event in Orange County. The electronic message board on the corner of Broadway and Santa Ana Boulevard is flashing messages to passersby about visiting ReadyOC.org and signing up for emergency notifications at AlertOC. Agencies and departments countywide are preparing to drop, cover and hold on during the fifth annual Great ShakeOut on October 18th at 10:18 a.m. And incidents occurring nationwide – from wildfires to hurricanes to earthquakes –remind us that preparedness is really a year-round thing.

National Preparedness Month puts an emphasis on personal preparedness, but what about workplace preparedness? Do you ever wonder if we’ll be able to provide critical services to the constituents of Orange County in the event of a disaster? The County’s Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Programs work together to ensure that the answer to that last question is “yes”.

Not every disaster is big. A flooded file room, a server room that experiences power fluctuations during a heat wave, a suspicious package in a mail room – any or all of these things can disrupt business operations for a day or more. Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) are separate but related programs that help participating Agencies/Departments to continue to operate no matter the size of the disaster or the ensuing disruption.

BC identifies and analyzes critical business processes and determines process dependencies (technology, people, and facilities) BC planning involves determining how to operate with a diminished workforce or at an alternate facility. DR identifies how to recover the technology on which critical business processes depend.

The County’s BC Program was “rebooted” in 2007, when CEO/IT was tasked with completing a countywide Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis (BIA). Those documents formed the basis of continuity plans for each County Agency/Department. Included in the BIA was a list of the County’s critical business processes and the systems and applications that would need to be recovered in order to ensure that those processes could function.

In 2008, CEO/IT began work on a DR solution that would enable Agencies/Departments to recover certain application dependencies at an offsite location. The County contracted to lease space in Solano County’s data center. The County uses this space to house the servers and equipment needed for a “warm site” – an alternate facility where mirror images of critical applications and databases are maintained. If an Agency/Department loses its local version of an application or database, it can connect to the Solano site and continue doing business using the mirror image copies.

The OC Data Center completed a redesign and deployment of the Solano DR warm site in late spring 2012. Currently, 16 Agencies/Departments participate in the Solano DR solution, housing a total of 29 applications and 13 databases at the site.

Twenty-three Agencies/Departments participate in the BC Program, which provides services like the PrepareOC 24/7/365 website; use of the OCDC Business Recovery Center; standards and best practices for BC planning, testing, and maintenance; and facilitation of the BC Working Group.

Over the next several months, CEO/IT plans to aid Agencies/Departments in closing the gap between BC and DR by ensuring that business users are involved with connecting to and testing systems housed in Solano. This testing will facilitate communications between business and IT staffs regarding each group’s expectations and capabilities for County recovery.

For more information on the County’s Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Programs, please contact Lynne Halverson, Program Manager, at (714) 834-5294 or lynne.halverson@ocgov.com.
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In Recognition
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windows 7 spacer Each quarter, the CIO recognizes an Information Technology employee or team that has made a significant contribution to their County Agency/Department by demonstrating one or more of the following attributes:
  • Excellent customer service
  • Exceptional level of commitment and dedication
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Effective and efficient stewardship of IT assets
  • Business process improvement and/or efficiency
  • Creative and innovative thinking
After receiving nominations from County IT Managers for this period, the CIO would like to recognize the Probation Department’s IT Operations Support team for the excellent teamwork and customer service they provided on their Windows 7 Migration Project.

Project Team Recognized: Chris Nelson, Tham Vo, Lien Tran, Syed Ali, Gwen Harris

The Windows 7 Migration Project was necessary to allow the Probation Department to move forward with other technology initiatives. The sheer volume of users and locations involved, 1,200 users in 25 locations, made this project very challenging. In addition, there were also Windows 7 compatibility issues with existing applications and processes that needed to be resolved to ensure that there were no impacts to the department users.

The Operations Support team worked for five months on this project, implementing a process to effectively manage deployment of Windows 7 to 1,200 desktop and laptop computers and to provide users with excellent post migration support. At the same time, the project team continued to deliver exceptional, routine support to Probation Department users.

Congratulations to the Probation IT Operations Support team for on their success with this project!
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IT Service Spotlight
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Publishing Services Prepares
for the 2012 Presidential Election
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Most people have no idea of the preparation that goes on behind the scenes for a Presidential Election. Did you know that CEO/Publishing Services is the exclusive print provider for the County’s Registrar of Voters as authorized by the California Secretary of State (SOS)? If you are a registered Orange County voter and vote by mail, then you are a Publishing
Services customer and have received materials that have gone through a thorough quality control and chain of custody process.

The ballot production process starts with the SOS deciding the security tint design and Pantone Matching System (PMS) ink color that will be printed on every ballot. The design artwork is sent to Publishing Services as an encrypted digital file. Once the artwork has been prepped, Publishing Services begins printing nearly 3,000,000 sheets of ballot base stock with the SOS specified watermark. The base stock is then printed with an individual ballot on high speed digital printers.

There are 285 ballot types printed in five different languages, with every ballot page being unique based on the precinct, language, etc. The SOS requires that every sheet of paper and every ballot printed be accounted for and documented as it makes its way through the production process. Any scrap sheets must also be documented and shredded. During ballot production, security is of the utmost concern, with only Publishing Services and Registrar of Voters staff allowed in the production areas.

Once printed, the ballots are boxed and labeled with the number designate of the ballot file printed, the quantity of ballots, the equipment operator’s name, and the specific equipment the ballots were printed on. The ballots are then palletized, signed for by Registrar of Voter’s staff, and mailed to the voters.

With over 1.6 million registered voters in Orange County, Publishing Services is seeing a continued increase in the demand of “Vote by Mail” (VBM) ballots as voters prefer to avoid lines at the polling places. For the 2012 Presidential Election, Publishing Services will print over 700,000 VBM ballots (a 36% increase from the 2008 Presidential Election) and over 400,000 precinct ballots. In fact, 2,091 ballots have already been printed and prepped to be mailed to our brave men and women serving in the military overseas.

Publishing Services takes great pride in continuing to serve Orange County voters.
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Did You Know?
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How many times do you look in your personal e-mail accounts at home and see nothing but “junk” mail or “spam” as it is often called?

As you know, email is a frequently used tool for business communications. Thankfully at work, County IT has implemented systems that monitor our incoming email and keep our inboxes from being inundated with “junk” mail.

On an average day, the County processes approximately 600,000 incoming emails. Only 100,000 of those emails are legitimate and make it through our County email filters. If we take a conservative approach, that’s 156 million emails received during a year, with only 26 million (approximately 17 percent) that qualify as legitimate emails that are sent to a County User’s inbox.

If you think you spend a lot of time on email now, imagine what it would be like without the filters. You’d be spending six times as much on managing your email. Thank you, IT, for helping our productivity!
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