BELTON — More than 30 years after its development, Bell County finally replaced its aging case management system.
The old system — developed over time by the county based upon need — was taken down Monday in favor of the county’s new Odyssey System, which it purchased more than two years ago. Implementing the new system — created by Plano-based Tyler Technologies — started in October 2018 and came in under its $3.5 million budget at $3.2 million.
County officials spent the past two years converting more than 30 years of files and working with employees who would work with the new software.
Susan Weaver, assistant director of technology services, said the goal of the change is to make it easier for both employees and the public.
“This project has been an ongoing two-year process, and we are excited for the culmination of all that hard work and effort,” Weaver said. “The Odyssey platform will serve Bell County for many years to come and will streamline many of the activities performed by the courts and clerks.”
For the public, the county said the new software will allow for better court docket management, automatic court notices and the searching of court documents through the system.
Similarly for employees, the new software will allow for better searches, decrease the amount of paperwork, eliminate duplicate data entry and improve workflow.
Adam Ward, technology services director for the county, said the new software affects hundreds of jobs around the county.
This includes all county-level courts, district courts, county and district clerks’ offices, all six Justices of the Peace, the adult probation office, the county court coordinators’ office, pretrial services, the county auditor and the county treasurer.
It took more than two years to implement the new system, Ward said, because it needed to be customized to work with what staff currently does, how they could do it and how their work could be improved. This was on top of converting more than two decades of files multiple times to get them to the right format.
County staff also spent the weekend digitalizing thousands of archived files in addition to the more than 9 million digital files previously transferred.
Ward said the implementation of the system Monday had some issues but they were minor.
The entire process of setting the system up will take about three weeks as certain elements come online, such as the ability for the public to search court files, which will be available on Wednesday. During this time, the company behind the software will work with the county to address any issues.
“The go-live process is really considered a three-week process where Tyler will be on site,” Ward said. “So that means we will work through the various operations in a three-week period. They will be on site as well as a tech team staged at various departments.”
Ward thanked commissioners and other elected officials for allowing the lengthy process of updating the system.
“A project of this size and magnitude transcends election cycles and normal county operations, and I have to credit the leadership of both past and present elected officials for making it happen,” Ward said. “Our hope is this software will allow Bell County to continue to be an innovation leader in the justice process for its citizens.”