DATE: January 23, 2006 CONTACT: Laura Kiernan
603-271-2646 ext 359
CONCORD—The New Hampshire Judicial Branch today launched its new case management system, “Odyssey,” at Concord District Court, putting into operation for the first time a long-awaited, state-of-the art computer system for tracking court cases and administrative data.
Once the system is up and running statewide, trial court judges and staff will have the electronic capacity to share information and documents among 67 courts in 43 locations, enhancing efficient communication and significantly reducing paperwork.
Chief Justice John T. Broderick Jr. thanked the state legislature for its financial support of the project and he congratulated the court’s technology staff for their hard work and commitment to making the new case management system a reality.
“Today is a big day for the Judicial Branch and for every citizen who uses the court system,” Chief Justice Broderick said. “Odyssey will give us the tools we need for major improvements in the administration of justice.”
The Odyssey case management system, developed by Tyler Technologies Inc. of Plano, Texas, replaces the court system’s outmoded DOS-based information storage system, SUSTAIN, which has been in operation in the court system since 1989. Complete conversion to Odyssey in all court sites statewide is projected for completion in two to three years.
“When the doors opened this morning at Concord District Court, it was the start of a new information era in the New Hampshire court system,” said Thomas A. Edwards, the court systems information technology manager.
The new, up-to-date information storage and retrieval system not only improves collection and exchange of data and documents within the court system, it also lays the essential software foundation for public access to case information and for electronic filing.
The road toward the conversion to Odyssey began with a $3.5 million appropriation from the legislature in 2001 for conversion from an obsolete DOS-based operating system to Windows, which was completed statewide in 2003. That appropriation also provided the funds for updating hardware to provide the speed and memory needed to operate Windows and for the purchase of the new case management system.
In 2004, the Judicial Branch signed a $1.9 million contract with Tyler Technologies for Odyssey and began the extensive process of configuring Odyssey to meet the needs of the New Hampshire court system, planning for the statewide conversion of data, staff training and system rollout.
Court technology manager Edwards said work on conversion to Odyssey was particularly challenging because his staff, working with Tyler technicians, had to take SUSTAIN’s 17-year-old software format, adapt it to Odyssey’s modern information storage and retrieval software, and then test the new format, and reconfigure when necessary, all in preparation for today’s “live” launch.
Odyssey, now customized to meet New Hampshire’s court system needs, will yield more data for trial court managers, provide a platform for data exchange with criminal justice partners and allow for greater information to be provided to state policy makers.
Case data from SUSTAIN at Concord District Court was “migrated” to new Odyssey software this weekend. The changeover included the complex work of converting all case financial data from SUSTAIN to Odyssey. At the Concord site, data on 301,000 cases recorded in SUSTAIN since March 1989 was converted to Odyssey; data on 1.2 million financial transactions was also converted at the Concord site from SUSTAIN to Odyssey.
The Odyssey project implementation manager, Sandra L. Wentworth, a 20-year veteran of the court system, led a team of systems technicians who set up the Windows operating system at 650 workstations around the state. Wentworth also had oversight of adaptation of Odyssey software to District Court needs, conversion of SUSTAIN data to the Odyssey case management system, and deployment planning.
Andrea E. Cattabriga, the internal auditor with the Administrative Office of the Courts, was responsible for conversion of financial data, and adaptation of Odyssey financial accounting software to New Hampshire’s court system specifics.
As the Odyssey system is rolled out across the state, each staff member will need 12-15 hours of training on the new Odyssey software before the actual conversion to the system is activated at their court. All court sites will continue normal operating hours while Odyssey training is taking place.
With the district court deployment underway, Tyler Technologies staff will begin the same process at a Family Division site with installation of Odyssey and the first round of training. Once the process has been turned over to Court personnel in the Family Division, Tyler staff will begin the same process at a Superior Court site, and then at a Probate Court site. Because the types of cases are different in each four levels of the trial court system, Odyssey must be reconfigured and retested along the way to collect the specific type of data each level needs.
Court officials said the Concord District Court experience with conversion to Odyssey has helped in development of timelines for the system’s roll out in the remainder of the trial courts. Odyssey is expected to be launched starting this spring in district courts in Hillsborough, Salem, Haverhill, Colebrook, Keene and Berlin.
The Odyssey case management system logo is available at http://www.courts.state.nh.us/images/odysseylogo.gif.