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September 5, 2013

Tech Committee to take recommendation to county

Athens — After a year of study, the Henderson County Information Technology Committee is ready to take its recommendation to Commissioners Court to contract with Tyler Technologies of Plano, Texas for a new legal software system.

The change was necessary because after the 2013 Texas Legislative Session, the current provider, Able Term, will no longer provide all the services the county needs.

County Information Technology Director Josh Brock said the new software presentation will take place in a Commissioners workshop, perhaps as early as next week.  The Court should take action on the item during the first regular meeting after the workshop.

“At this point, we feel confident in our recommendation,” Brock said. “It’s a non-binding recommendation. The Commissioners can do whatever they want to.”

Odyssey is an integrated justice software that has attracted numerous counties around the state. Brock said Kaufman County was the first in the state to convert to Odyssey. Smith and Anderson County areas are also getting ready to make the move.

Brock said he has studied not only offering the positive reports from entities using the Odyssey system, but also the negative ones.  Brock said he had to evaluate whether some of the aspects of the software seen as negatives would even apply to Henderson County’s needs.

Brock said it’s always a bit daunting when making a large software conversion. The plus side is that the employees can be fully-trained in the software at its implementation.

“In the IT world, the challenge is keeping up with the technology,” Brock said. “The county is never on the leading edge, because it wants something that’s established and we want to know it will fit us as it should.”

Brock said County Attorney Clint Davis has met with attorneys of Tyler Technologies to smooth out any contractual issues before the document is brought to the Commissioners. Brock said the last time the county made a change in judicial software in 1998, the cost was about $800,000. He was surprised to find the expense of the new software will not be much different. 

 “For it to not go up exponentially from 1998 to 2013, we were kind of excited,” Brock said.

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