If you’ve only invested 15% of $3,000,000,000.00…….

Posted on February 18, 2011


I typed out  the number with all nine zeroes behind it to illustrate how out of touch some people are. The number above represents over 10% of this states’ current structural deficit. Deleting this number won’t make things any better but NOT deleting this number will make things substantially worse for the California taxpayer.

Truth be told, we’ve only invested about 15% of this figure into CCMS today. The remaining 85+% of the costs for CCMS are currently projected costs based on the BSA audits findings.

An IT designer friend of mine were discussing CCMS yesterday and he brought up an interesting point that makes knowing what is going on in the Sacramento Courts critical. He said “If I were a consultant out to bleed the AOC dry, I would get management to buy off on the reduced costs of a server farm in one location. I would develop my program around that one location where the program will be running, so that any other application architecture would result in costly change orders. While the application would perform flawlessly for acceptance and stress testing, what it wouldn’t be able to do is do anything that fast in a production environment. Meanwhile, I have my sign-off from acceptance testing and I know I am getting paid. When it comes to performance issues, I can always blame the telecom infrastructure because no pipe would be big enough to handle the load. You know that the AOC is not going to make the local courts pay 90K a month for their internet connections so after a bit of frustration they issue an expensive change order to re-write the application to run locally. They will have to. They’ve got too much invested at that point and the telecom costs per court location will be crippling. They will be damned if they do issue a change order for the application and damned if they don’t issue a change order for the application.”

I never told this designer that a few counties who praise this system are running it locally or that the few counties who loathe this system are running it out of the CCTC. I did tell him that the application was being designed to run out of the CCTC.

The judicial branch is only 15% invested into this project. Before the BSA audit, Mr. Bill would have liked us to believe we were more than 50% down the rabbit hole and it was too late to turn back. Damn the torpedoes, the good ship CCMS needs to move forward and it will be completed in October of 2009. Everyone, myself included, bought that argument. This argument assumed what we heard Ron Overholt tell the Assembly Committee on Accountability & Administrative Review was accurate. The total expenditure he espoused at the time, including rollout, would be 1.3 billion dollars.

We’re only 15% invested into this project – a project whose total costs remain indeterminate. The projected costs continue to rise by hundreds of millions of dollars every time someone takes a better look at the total costs and currently stand realistically at somewhere over 3 billion dollars.

Of particular interest in any cost-benefit analysis of CCMS

Focus on transaction processing times, bandwidth utilization and increasing telecom costs as being the primary excuses as to why the application does not work the way it was purportedly designed to work. Expect these costs, which are not application costs, to be excluded from any cost analysis for the application itself or to be understated by a wide margin as to keep that 3 billion dollar projected figure at bay. As mentioned by Mr. Bill, costs for other agencies (justice partners) are not normally factored into a cost-benefit analysis for any project of this magnitude. While this may be true, never before have so many justice partners need access or an interface from their systems to CCMS. Expect these too to be excluded from the cost benefit analysis as they are not normally factored in. In summary, you will see the AOC justify a much smaller figure than BSA and it will be comprised of smoke and mirrors. No worries though; 4 committees of people appointed by Mr, Bill will re-present the 50% down the rabbit hole already justification as a reason to move forward.

We’re about to see how many critical thinkers exist in California’s Judicial Branch.