The devastating results of CCMS in Sacramento (Part 2)

Posted on June 1, 2011

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In the devastating results of CCMS in Sacramento (Part 1) we provided you with the knowledge that the logic behind centralized deployment is based on the premise that the AOC will be able to bill your court for ongoing services and their employees.

Courthouse news mentions in their analysis of Sacramento’s BSA survey results that a showdown came over the 680k per year that Sacramento was paying the AOC for CCTC services and suggests that the AOC has won that argument. Sacramento desired a local server to alleviate all the technical issues confirmed by their Citrix testing. As a result of successful Citrix testing , the Sacramento courts acquired equipment to support the faster Citrix connections only to be told by the AOC that they will not support Citrix connections.

Instead of fixing the problems by offering Sacramento solutions, the AOC offered to mask the problems and  mostly silence Sacramento by eliminating most of the money being paid by Sacramento to host the application at the CCTC, saving Sacramento over a half million dollars a year. 

Sacramento’s vocal objections were being picked up by the media, by legislators and by technical experts both inside and outside of the court system. Sacramento was interfering with AOC’s CCMS sales pitch to other courts about the virtues of centralization. Yet there is not a court in all of California that is successfully utilizing the centralized model without a corresponding increase in costs. Anyone utilizing CCMS from the CCTC experiences increased costs, increased risk, increased labor, increased telecom costs and increased downtime. This is all based on fact and as we’ve learned from that distinguished gentleman Mr. Stephen Colbert, facts come from books and books are elitist.  

You used to be able to make up your own opinion but not your own facts. Since King George took power and Queen Minimimi took over, anyone with any authority at the AOC is now allowed to make up their own facts. Nobody makes up their own facts better than she whose favorite saying is “There is no one truth, only versions of it” and so the marching order are given for another version of the truth.

We call it truthiness. The AOC calls it gospel.

It is difficult to close the sale with the other courts when you have someone screaming you sold them a bill of goods and are building nothing but lemons.

Permitting either a Citrix installation or a local CCMS server installation would underscore how wrong the AOC is about running the application from the CCTC in their centralized business model and this flawed architectural strategy. The best way to silence the Sacramento critics is to give them a half million dollar a year discount in the hopes that you can close the sale with other courts to make up for the lost revenue.

Sacramento continues to enjoy the 50K a month discount it gets from the AOC to offset a portion of their increased operational costs for as long as they stay on CCMS V3 hosted at the CCTC.  meanwhile, the AOC gets to claim “They addressed Sacramento’s concerns and worked out a solution” that consists only of masking the fundamental problem long enough to close the sale with other courts. Prior to recent developments of people trying to hold the AOC accountable, the AOC treated each court as if it were an independent silo and that only through CCMS would they realize the benefits of being a centralized branch of government.

And then came the audits.

First it was the OCIO’s audit that most technical professionals believed was watered down. This report highlighted project mismanagement but the OCIO was moving on to the feds and wouldn’t be sticking around to follow-up with the AOC.

The second audit conducted by the BSA was devastating to the CCMS program as a whole, yet even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the AOC continues to promote concepts that preserve their centralized model when all technical evidence says it will cost far more in terms of hosting, manpower and telecom costs and be far less reliable.

Going back to our suggestion in part one, it would make sense that the AOC would want to prove that they can make CCMS V4 work in another court before migrating any other courts to V4. The AOC promotes V4, with its identical architectural limitations as the holy grail of what ill’s you as a V3 court.

We would continue to suggest that the AOC prove their statements that V4 will solve Sacramento’s problems before deploying V4 to any other courts. In light of all the pain Sacramento has had to endure, the AOC should migrate the Sacramento courts to V4 entirely on their own dime with an understanding that if the similar latency parameters exist, then V4 will also be hosted by the AOC at no charge or the AOC will agree to let Sacramento run V4 locally.

In either case, they will decline to known architectural limitations. It will cost them money they will never recover and result in the termination of the CCMS program as they envisioned it. While the vision is mostly dead due to this fundamental architectural limitation with only the least technically savvy buying into the AOC’s argument, it is a position that must be promoted for political survival.

Almost comical is Michael Roddy, court executive officer for San Diego county who remains an evangelistic cheerleader for CCMS V4, even though his court will not move to V4 unless it is installed on a local area network.

Credibility = Zero

Moving forward, it appears only two comparatively small courts will be moving to CCMS V4. Ventura and San Luis Obispo are the only courts who have not re-thought their positions, yet we feel that the other borg executive courts might be dumb enough to buy into the AOC’s big lie in exchange for other considerations.

The AOC intends to continue to pretend Sacramento’s issues are unique to Sacramento’s V3 implementation and are an isolated case. After all, everyone else ( while omitting that they’re running the program locally) is happy with CCMS V3 yet the application architecture remains largely unchanged in V4. The AOC believes it is only a matter of time before (Gordon) Moore’s law outpaces (Bill) Gates law and CCMS V4 will be good to go, yet the only evidence they have is thirty-five years of a push situation.

Coming to terms with the facts 

In more ways than one, the judicial branch should be in crisis mode and trying to manage a crisis. Just like any recovering alcoholic, the first step in recovery is admitting that you have a problem, something the AOC is unwilling to do on any front. Instead, they’ve employed a committee of cheerleaders to underscore the importance of the AOC’s operations to the trial courts and have commissioned them to ignore the elephants in the room as it is not their charter.

Crisis management is a fascinating extension of management in general and has a number of different phases to it. just like every program or person follows a life cycle, so to do crisis follow a life cycle. Programs and people all go through birth, growth, maturation, decline and death. Crisis all go through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Let’s put all of California’s 1,700 judges on the deck of the sinking titanic for the sake of argument – to better explain the life cycle of crisis management and crisis leadership

The life cycle of crisis management involves two distinct stages. The first step being the steps to recognition of a crisis. They include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance before (hopefully) crisis leadership takes the helm and goes through its own cycle of crisis management. 

The stages for crisis leadership involve building an environment of trust, reforming organizational mindset, identifying the vulnerabilities and issues, making rapid wise decisions as well as taking courageous action and finally, reviewing the lessons learned. Learning from the crisis to effect future change.

Back to our 1,700 judges on the deck of the Titanic and human nature in crisis mode.

The ship just hit an iceberg and is beginning to list.

50% of those judges are going to state that it is not their problem. They booked passage on an unsinkable ship and that’s the end of it.

The other 50% are going to be broken up into three groups.

1/3 will recognize that the ship is sinking, realize that there are not enough lifeboats and will develop a deer in headlamps look about them, being paralyzed into inaction.

1/3 will be in utter denial that the ship is sinking and fight those who believe otherwise. After all, the ship is unsinkable.

1/3 will be thinking about how they might be able to make more lifeboats out of the materials available if they have someone who can lead them into building the boats.

Now think about the recent results of the CJA survey and ask yourself, where in crisis management are we today and how the CJA survey underscored human nature.

(End of part 2.) (Part  3 – possible solutions)