Abstract image showing a map overlayed on a blur background
 

COVID Hotel

The COVID Hotel project is a part of the larger Project Room Key initiative, which assists in serving people affected by COVID-19 who are experiencing homelessness and living in high density settings in Alameda County. The system is designed to track clients from their initial referral to the program from an outside provider, through their intake into a hotel, clinical assessment, exit from the hotel and finally an outreach assessment (post-exit), performed by a Street Health Team. The COVID Hotel was built on the Salesforce Platform with collaboration from ITD, the Health Care Services Agency, as well as frontline medical personnel and outside vendors.

The project continues to be enhanced to serve the needs of the homeless community in Alameda County.

 

Data Hub Projects

Alameda County's data strategy makes data a centrally governed Enterprise Shared Asset and provides departments with secure, easy and efficient access to a single version of the data. A central data hub supports discovery, indexing, and analytics. Data marts are being created to transition departments away from using Microsoft Access and Excel sheets for data sharing and archiving. A number of data marts have been created simplifying the process of managing the data by making data collection, curation and access faster.

SSA Data Hub

  • We are in the process of building various data lakes for a data hub for SSA reporting and Analytics
  • IFCN – Integrated Fraud Communication Network Data Repository
  • CIS – County Information Server (CalWin) Data Repository
  • WDT – Workload Distribution Tool (SSA Integration Team) Data Repository

Health Care Data Hub

  • COVID Data
  • COVID vaccination Data
  • Public Health Laboratory Services for Behavioral Health

 

Assessment Appeal System

An assessment appeal is the due process a taxpayer may initiate if the assessed value of his or her property cannot be agreed upon with the county assessor. Clerk of the Board is processing a range of 2000 to 5000 assessment appeals every year.

CBS Assessment Appeal System is a new modern online system designed by the Information Technology Department for Clerk of the Board, with the goal of providing an open and transparent process that relies on a clearly written set of procedures and provides due process, reducing paper usage, improving the productivity of the staff and the quality of service to the public.

Information Technology Department partnered with Clerk of the Board and Assessor’s office and resulted in an in-house system that has been successfully used by both Clerk of the Board and Assessor staff to better serve Alameda County’s residents. This system was released in July 2020 and it will be followed by Phase 2 that will incorporate the legal appeals into the system.

In a prior initiative, Information Technology Department and Clerk of the Board designed and released an Assessment Appeal Online portal that allows property owners to electronically submit Assessment Appeals using DocuSign technology for electronic signature and allow online payments.

Both systems are now able to exchange data in an efficient way and keep property owners informed about their Assessment Appeal status.

 

ITD Service Desk Self-Service Functionality

ITD has rolled out the self-service module for the ITD Service Desk software (Ivanti) to all employees in the County. Now users can report incidents and make requests related to services provided by ITD. Once created, users are also able to track their incidents and service requests. ITD continues to use Ivanti to track reported incidents and Services.

Implemented Q2 2020

 

Radio MPLS Backbone Implementation and Encryption

ITD provides support for the East Bay Regional Communication System Authority (EBRCSA) radio system which provides a 2-way radio communication for public safety organizations throughout Alameda County. The EBRCSA network currently is operating at or above expected capabilities, with over 20,000 regular users communicating on the network. To address this, the TDMA Migration Project was started to move all radios to the newer TDMA technology from the legacy FDMA system, which will double the capacity of the system and provide additional capabilities. The TDMA Migration Project is intended to provide EBRCSA Users the ability to access TDMA enabled radios and any necessary upgrades to operate on the impending EBRCSA Phase 2 TDMA Infrastructure.

The objectives of the TDMA Migration Project are as follows:

  • Provide Faster Access to TDMA Radios
  • Provide greater services to our customers
  • Provide ITD Radio Services better control over the EBRCSA radios used by Alameda County and outside agencies

Usage models indicate by doubling the network capacity with the TDMA Migration Project, we will provide current users unparalleled connectivity for the next ten years or more. The TDMA system upgrade will also allow other regional users to join EBRCSA, furthering regional interoperability and providing potential ITD Radio Services opportunities.

The MPLS Backbone Implementation Project will consist of upgrading the existing Aviat TRUpoint microwave radios to the latest ECLIPSE microwave radios. Several microwave paths will be upgraded from 10 GHz to 11 GHz. Along with the ECLIPSE microwave radios and path upgrades, we will be adding an integrated MPLS router to position EBRCSA for Layer 3 services and network scalability.

The Encryption Project expands our neighboring communities interoperability and ensures DOJ regulatory compliance. EBRCSA has approximately 14,000 radios and approximately 190 consoles that require a programming technician to implement encryption. Careful coordination among all law enforcement and cooperating agencies is critical to maintain interoperability during the implementation of this project. We will also be upgrading the radios to accept multi-key and over-the-air programming at the same time we add encryption.

 

Office 365 Resiliency

In adopting Office 365 to be the County’s primary email and collaboration solution, a pre-requisite to that initiative was implementing Federation Services for authentication. In the short time following, we existed in an hybrid state where some mailboxes lived in Office 365 and some were in flight of being migrated to Office 365 so the Federation Services implemented on premises and was sufficiently meeting our requirements. Once we completed the migration of all mailbox accounts into Office 365, we recognized that having the Federation Services living on premises raises concern for our ability to authenticate into the Office 365 should our datacenter lose Internet connectivity.

In our pursuit of the ability to work from anywhere combined with our “Cloud First” approach, we embarked on a project to move our Federation Services out of our datacenter and into Azure. Today access to Office 365 and all of the services available, is no longer tethered to infrastructure living in our datacenter and instead is entirely in the Azure Cloud.

 

Hybrid Workplace

With the pandemic situation improving the County is preparing to bring its employees back to the offices in a Hybrid mode. IT Department (ITD) took the opportunity to relook at how our business users did their work. The pre-pandemic setup was inefficient, paper-centric, and often involved multiple technologies that needed to be kept current, secure, and operational. ITD is enabling a hybrid workplace that is modern, efficient, secure allowing work from anywhere, anytime using a single device!

The workplace before:

before

The workplace after:

after
 
 
 

Hybrid Cloud Platform

The Hybrid Cloud Platform developed from a need to solve multiple challenges that come from sustaining an expensive and aging centralized compute and storage infrastructure. In addition to keeping up with evolutions in technology, we also recognized an opportunity to evolve how technology is consumed for ITD and the departments which we provide our services. Taking public cloud offerings as a model, the solution was designed so that capacity is “subscribed” directly from our technology partners giving us the ability to scale up or down capacity as demand evolves. In this model, we get to “right-size” the physical footprint, control our costs for the actual amount of technology required, and transfer the responsibility of hardware lifecycle management over to our technology partners. Continuing on the public cloud principal in that a customer can self-service provision their own resources within the cloud, our Hybrid Cloud Platform will accommodate dedicated tenant spaces for departments to self provision and manage as much or as little of any resource as they see fit. The Hybrid Cloud Platform brings all of the conveniences that come with using public cloud infrastructure into the on premises environment.

ITD also takes a “Cloud First” approach when considering technology solutions while also recognizing that there will always be a need for on premises infrastructure. With this in mind, what truly makes this solution “Hybrid” is that through this platform, integrations will exist with public cloud providers so that users can choose to provision resources either on premises, in a public cloud, or any combination in between. Additionally, users of the Hybrid Cloud Platform will have the ability to self-service shift existing workloads from on premises to a public cloud and vice versa. All of these conveniences will be available from a single management console via the Hybrid Cloud Platform so users only need to go to one place to manage their on premises resources as well as their public cloud resources.

 

Data Center Modernization & Optimization

With Data Center Modernization & Optimization, ITD can quickly and easily respond to meet the ever-evolving demands of the business and consistently deliver a superior customer experience. This will be done by advancing the monitoring and response capabilities through automated alert ticketing, improve power and space management with accurate equipment inventory while simplifying add/moves, reduce environmental cost by incorporating efficient lighting to support a 'lights out' data center model and implementing new cooling parameters. Implementing a cloud based security solution to increase physical monitoring of the Data Center is also included in the plan. The project is expected to implement improvements incrementally over the next 12-18 months.

 

Microsoft Teams

Alameda County uses Microsoft Teams to chat, meet, and collaborate with internal and external partners. The employees of the County use Teams for project collaboration, staff meetings, crisis management, one-on-one conversations, and much more. While the County has been using Teams before Covid19 the Shelter-in-place for Covid19 has caused a huge uptick in the usage of Teams. See the attachment for the stats.

 

Assessor Property Assessment & Record Management System

The Assessor and IT Department partnered to re-engineer the system with the goal of increasing productivity and operational agility, reducing use of paper and improving service to the public. The project resulted in the development of IMPROVE (Integrated PROperty ValuE system), the most advanced and sophisticated Assessor’s system in California. Alameda County was the first in California to launch a full-featured web-based Assessor system, all built in-house by internal resources. This solution has been delivered in incremental releases. The latest releases in 2020 and 2021support Assessor’s initiative to implement paperless business process. The team implemented the upload of electronic documents submitted by the taxpayers into the system and the retrieval of the documents scanned by the Assessor team. This initiative allowed Assessor to digitize over 15,000 paper files.

Updated March 2021

 

Security Awareness Training Program

To address the increasing complex and dynamic cybersecurity risk landscape, we have established a security awareness program. We conduct formal training using an industry leading training system, quarterly testing of employee awareness, regular communication to remind county employees of risk to avoid, and security workshops to engage technical and business leaders in the importance of security awareness. Additionally, we are implementing a phishing alert button so all Alameda County has a quick and simple way to report possible phishing emails.

 

Chatbot

Service Desk Chatbot

ITD has implemented a Service Desk Chatbot with customized skills integrated with the ticket management system that is capable of voice interaction. This Chatbot is available for the County employees to interact with the ITD Service Desk 24x7 to get their tier1 questions on technology answered. Additionally, the Service Desk Chatbot will allow users to view ticket status, request the technician for an update, and create new tickets.

COVID-19 Chatbot

As the pandemic started, nearly all the County’s communication channels were bombarded with several questions, reports, and concerns regarding the pandemic and how to stay safe. With an influx of questions, Healthcare agency needed an immediate solution to help alleviate the stress on our communications channels and free up the staff to focus on more complex issues.

The project started with multi-department collaboration between four Healthcare departments, CAO, and ITD with limited scope and focused solely on handling COVID-19 related questions. Through agile planning and development cycle, the technology was locked down as Azure, the branding and functionality decided upon, and a working prototype was up in a matter of days.

Through internal testing and continuous learning on what our constituents were commonly asking about, we continued to develop the chatbot features to take advantage of multiple knowledge bases as well as different ways of interacting with the chatbot. This multi-lingual chatbot takes in content from both the CDC and the Public Health, as well as other county resources. It accepts typed-in questions and supports a menu tree system for those that want a guided path to the answers they seek.

The chatbot was launched on May 8th and recorded 5000+ questions soon after. Two more chatbots were created for IT HelpDesk and another for Probation. This new emerging technology implementation provides a blueprint for future chatbot developments. The existing chatbots continue learn and provide service to our constituents for years to come.

 

Digital Transformation

The Digital Transformation initiative that was launched by the ITD to fundamentally change how the endpoints are provisioned, configured, deployed, and managed across the County has been a big success. There are multiple projects tied to the Digital Transformation that include:

  • Staying current with the Microsoft Windows 10 rings
  • Upgrading to Office 2016 Pro Plus 365
  • Eliminating GPOs
  • Encrypting devices using Microsoft BitLocker
  • Implementing Multi-Factor authentication for users and admins
  • Migrating user files and department file shares to Microsoft One Drive

To help ensure the County devices are regularly updated and upgraded, ITD employs multiple technologies including over the air update of remote County devices not on the network. Currently, ITD has upgraded 5976 devices. ITD has launched a parallel initiative to encrypt hard disks to protect valuable data on County devices. So far, 6,696 devices have been encrypted using Bitlocker. ITD has rolled out Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) to all employees of the County. ITD is in the process of migrating file content from internal servers to Microsoft OneDrive.

 

New Boards & Commissions Salesforce App

The new Boards and Commission application not only gives the Clerk of the Board better tools to fill and monitor the over 650 board positions in Alameda County, but it also provides the members of the Board of Supervisors new insight into which positions are vacant or will need to be filled for their individual districts. The new application integrates with the websites for each individual board or commission, so that any changes to the memberships made in the app are immediately reflected on the websites for each board or commission. And lastly, the Salesforce platform for this new application will allow ITD to efficiently add new features and enhancements to further improve the usefulness of this application by allowing members of the public to submit their applications directly into the system for review and processing.

Implemented October 2017.

 

Property Tax Systems Modernization

A complete overhaul of the in-house Property Tax Systems is under way. ITD developed a roadmap for the migration of the property tax systems from Mainframe to the browser-based modern system. The team implements at least one roadmap project every year. In 2020, the team automated processing of the tax refunds and rolled out a taxpayer portal which allowed taxpayers to check a status of the refund online in real time.

Updated March 2021

 

CLETS (CA Law Enforcement telecommunication system) Switch Upgrade

The CLETS switch is the only means of connection of all Alameda County Criminal Justice agencies to the CA Department of Justice Databases, The current version was written over 40 years ago on the mainframe and is no longer supportable. AWS is a multi-county warrant management system used by Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco. AWS and CLETS switch were both implemented on the mainframe using IBM Assembly language and COBOL.

CLETS switch was replaced with a new Windows based vendor system that will allow for better connectivity. AWS was replaced with a REST API based solution that can be used by other application including CRIMS (Consolidated Records Information Management System) that can provide a user-interface to it.

 

Open Data Initiative

The Alameda County Data Sharing Initiative provides the public with easy online access to records and information about County business and operations. The Initiative aims to enhance the County’s commitment to transparent government and to encourage civic engagement.

ITD continues to support the initiative by maintaining the County's data sharing website and by hosting community hackathons.

 

eCRIMS Modernization Project

The eCRIMS modernization project converted all of the mainframe CORPUS green-screen functionality to the web based CRIMS platform. The new system created with the ITD, Superior Court, District Attorney, Sheriff, Probation and the Public Defender working together creates a Criminal Justice Data Hub.

Phase 4, which included integration of Court’s Odyssey system with the various case management systems of the County’s Criminal Justice Partners, was completed July 2016. Currently work is in progress on decommissioning the legacy mainframe systems.

 

Upgrade Automated Employee On-Boarding System

A major accomplishment in the recruiting area is the implementation of a digital friendly onboarding system called SmartERP. This new system streamlines the process of bringing a new hire onboard by having the prospective employee fill out all the relevant applications, their personal information and all other required new hire information completely online. This eliminates the need for candidates to make a special trip to the job site to fill out and sign stacks of paperwork prior to the hire date. It also allows them to read and certify new hire policies before they even start. All this can be done by the candidate at their own pace and in the comfort of their home. The information then flows into PeopleSoft, reducing the amount of information that needs to be manually entered by the department.

In November of 2020, the On-Boarding system was upgraded to the latest version, which has and improved user friendly interface. System can be accessed on any device including mobile phones. Users are able to digitally sign the on-boarding related documents, upload required I-9 documents such as driver’s license, social security card, etc.

 

Virtual Marriages

In April, Governor Newsom issued an executive order to officiate marriages online. Auditor-Controller in collaboration with ITD Implemented a contact-free, electronic payment solution. The application and marriage certificate process became Virtual with the very first marriage in Alameda County being officiated on 5, 2020. ITD created a workflow to electronically route and sign the marriage certificate using DocuSign. This new business processes supported virtual marriages. Services were advertised on social media and Clerk-Recorder web site.

 

Virtual Filing of Property Documents and Forms

To support remote work, Assessor needed to eliminate paper documents mailed in by the taxpayers and the cities for property assessments. In collaboration with ITD Assessor team Updated their website with eForms for taxpayers to send documents electronically. The information was made available to Assessor through their IMPROVE system. The documents were uploaded and stored electronically including Millions of archived paper documents which were scanned and stored electronically for easy retrieval.

 

Virtual Board Meetings

The State allowed Board Meetings to be held virtually. Alameda County chose to develop a hybrid format that allowed for a combination of a physical and a virtual meeting experience that was safe and secure. The county used Zoom Webinar for safe public meetings. Board Room was upgraded with AV equipment to support Virtual Mtgs. New processes and procedures were created for the COB, ITD, BOS and the public to participate. Close Captioning was added for ADA Compliance. A library and talent was created to support public facing zoom meetings for use by all Depts/Agencies. Training of new procedures was established for the BOS, COB, ITD, Department/Agency heads, and the public to use the new platform.

 

COVID-19 Self-Screening Assessment

The State allowed Board Meetings to be held virtually. Alameda County chose to develop a hybrid format that allowed for a combination of a physical and a virtual meeting experience that was safe and secure. The county used Zoom Webinar for safe public meetings. Board Room was upgraded with AV equipment to support Virtual Mtgs. New processes and procedures were created for the COB, ITD, BOS and the public to participate. Close Captioning was added for ADA Compliance. A library and talent was created to support public facing zoom meetings for use by all Depts/Agencies. Training of new procedures was established for the BOS, COB, ITD, Department/Agency heads, and the public to use the new platform.

The CDC recommended that all employees take a self-assessment test before beginning work. Human Resources in collaboration with ITD created a Self-Assessment screening form that employees can access from anywhere, anytime and from any device. The screening is a set of questions which provides direction to the employees on whether they should return or stay at home. The County Announcement regarding the same was sent to all employees explaining the importance of filling out the form daily.

 

Family Visits for Juveniles

With stay-at-home order during the pandemic, the Probation department allowed Juvenile detainees in the Juvenile Hall to visit their families in a safe manner. They made tablets available with Wi-Fi access points so families could have virtual meetings with the detainees.

 

Household Hazardous Waste Scanning

With over 45,000 residents disposing Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) material such as paint, light bulbs, needles, etc. every year, Alameda County offers multiple free, convenient options for properly and safely disposing hazardous waste. It allows county residents to dispose at three HHW facilities located in Oakland, Hayward, and Livermore. In addition, HHW holds multiple one-day annual events at other convenient locations.

In June 2020, Environmental Health launched the state-of-the-art HHW Scanner system at all facilities eliminating the archaic paper intensive process. The new system was developed in one year as an integrated three-part system comprised of an Android application (app) for scanner devices, web services for syncing scanned data to county databases, and a web application for HHW Program administrators to manage the system.

The new system was a huge success as it streamlined and automated the process, eliminated paper, improved data security, reduced staff time, centralized data, and generated accurate and timely reports. During the pandemic, it eliminated the use of high-touch items like pens and clipboards and assisted in social distancing. By using NASCAR style processing, the system improved customer service, allowed speedy check-ins, shorter customer wait times, and allowed HHW staff to safely serve more customers.

Since June 2020, during the pandemic, all facilities allowed appointment-only participation and scanned 55,000 unique driver licenses and collected respective survey data. This is the highest number of customers the program has ever recorded, and the data produced is legible and accurate. The data entry is automated, and records are immediately accessible. With this new system, no transaction has gone unrecorded, which was not always the case with paper records. The residents can now be contacted in case of additional questions. The reports suggest that 30% of the residents were repeat customers. The reports also show a 5% - 10% increase every month in Alameda County resident participation. HHW staff is now able to target cities/locations that need awareness of this free program by using flyers and other modes of marketing and promotions. The HHW Scanner data and survey reports are sent to the Environmental Health management on a regular basis who are elated on the tremendous success of the new HHW Scanner System.

 

Virtual First

In 2018, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors (BOS) updated its 10-year Strategic Vision using Google's 10x Thinking. The development of Vision 2026 included numerous brainstorming sessions involving County leadership, community representatives and a renowned futurist to discuss challenges likely to affect local services in the coming decade in how residents will expect to be served by local government. The plan is used to develop all departmental strategic plans, budget submissions, and any initiative submitted to the board.

 

Active Directory Hardening and Consolidation

Active Directory is the core of our security platform and we working on strengthening this platform to improve our resiliency and limit exposures that could bring down this critical system. To achieve our goals, we are approaching this initiative from different perspectives. The first is by working with various stakeholders to centralize and consolidate our landscape where we can have better control and oversight over any areas of weaknesses and then follow up with implementing Microsoft best practice guidelines to add layers of protection of our critical assets in Active Directory.

 

Form 700

Every elected official and public employee who makes or influences governmental decisions is required to submit a Statement of Economic Interest, also known as the Form 700. Departments Filing Officers used a time-consuming manual process for collecting the Form700 statements from all filers and used Excel to keep track of all received statements. Clerk of the Board was unable to view the filing status of each department and send notifications to overdue filers.

eForm700 is an in-house system developed by Information Technology department in collaboration with Clerk of the Board, with the goal of moving from a paper-based reporting system to a more transparent electronic system, improving the productivity of departments Filing Officers by eliminating the manual work and providing all necessary information to view filing status and various reports.

Electronic filing makes it easier for county’s officials to comply with reporting obligations and provides the public with the information in a more accessible and consistent format.

The system was tested and certified by California Fair Political Practices Commission in 2019 and has been used county-wide for 2020 filing year. eForm700 system was used this filing by over 800 filers from all county’s departments, and it will be extended next year to all Board and Commissions and Alameda county schools assisting over 2000 filers.

 

AC3 Azure Project

The Office of Alameda County Health Care Services Agency (HCSA) is currently implementing the Social Health Information Exchange (SHIE) project as part of the Whole Person Care pilot. Thrasys is the technology partner for the SHIE but HCSA staff need to have direct access to this data so that HCSA is not solely dependent on Thrasys for all their reporting and data analysis needs. HCSA is using Power BI from ITD as the visualization tool that runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud. Alameda County has moved towards a hosted solution in Microsoft Azure that is cost effective, secure and easily scalable for HCSA. This is aligned with ITD’s 10-year strategic plan for IT infrastructure set up. This approach has required less maintenance as software tools are available for Azure cloud has enabled automation.

 

District Attorney’s Case Management System DALITE

ITD Criminal Justice tam is implementing a new version of DALITE, RD3 that is used by the DA in all their daily criminal caseload management. It includes functionality to file a case electronically with the Court’s Odyssey system and to manage the complete lifecycle of the case. Phase 1 of the system was implemented in 2020 and Phase 2 is currently in development.

 

COVID Continuity of Operations

To maintain continuity of operations in response the COVID-19 pandemic, the County had to quickly change the way services were delivered to the community. County Agencies and Departments had to transition to a new hybrid work environment while still providing all critical services. This included providing the necessary equipment and software for employees to work securely remotely and to develop virtual services for customers that were previously provided in-person in County Offices. Collaboration tools such as Teams or Zoom were provided to keep the staff connected regardless of whether they were on premise or working remotely.

The support for business operations fell into 3 main categories:

  • Remote Work – providing technology support to allow employees who normally work in the office to work securely from home or elsewhere. This includes providing laptops and peripherals, softphones and headsets, VPN access and remote or virtual desktop capabilities. This also included allowing contact center workers to work remotely while still leveraging call management systems
  • Virtual Services – allowing residents to access County services without requiring face-to-face interaction. This included capabilities like electronic document approval (DocuSign), rapid application development (SalesForce), video and audio conferencing and virtual contact centers
  • Public Engagement – continuing the transparent conduct of business in public meetings and other forums while complying with social distancing mandates. This included audio and video conferencing, conferencing services (Teams and Zoom) and use of websites for public communication.

In addition, The COVID-19 pandemic required Alameda to upgrade facilities to protect the health and safety of their employees and the community. The General Service Agency (GSA), working with the County departments, implemented changes based on guidance from county, state and national health agencies. Changes included updating and adding COVID-19 signage, installing safety screens, providing enhanced janitorial services, installing touch-free utilities, installing MERV air filters and placing temperature scanners in County facilities.

In addition, The COVID-19 pandemic required Alameda to upgrade facilities to protect the health and safety of their employees and the community. The General Service Agency (GSA), working with the County departments, implemented changes based on guidance from county, state and national health agencies. Changes included updating and adding COVID-19 signage, installing safety screens, providing enhanced janitorial services, installing touch-free utilities, installing MERV air filters and placing temperature scanners in County facilities. In addition, ITD provided mobile cleansing kits to keep staff safe when servicing equipment.

 

VPN Standardization

With the onset of the pandemic, Alameda County, like most organizations, faced an enormous challenge of supporting numerous remote workers while determining the most secure way of connecting them safely. In order to do work remotely, users needed to connect to documents and systems that required a VPN connection. A VPN solution was implemented to satisfy the immediate need, but as we step back to review the overall strategy going forward, we are determining the requirements of all systems and teams, and providing upper management with options and cost analysis in order to standardize on a VPN solution that best suits the needs of the county. This effort also conforms to the Alameda County Strategic Plan and Vision 2026 of providing “Proven, flexible and dynamic Cybersecurity strategy and framework”.

 

Upgrade of Enterprise SQL Server

We will be upgrading our SQL Server Enterprise Solutions to the latest SQL Server 2019 version. Current version of SQL Server 2012 will be end of life in July 2022. New upgrade system will be current with the latest delivered version by SQL Server .

 

DA Charging Packet Automation

All law enforcement agencies in Alameda County bring their arrest information the District Attorney (DA) on a daily basis to allow the DA to make charging decisions. This information called the DA Packet or the DA Charging Packet consists of the police report, RAP sheet, Probable Cause Declaration etc. Currently the packet is in a hard-copy format brought over to the DA by each police agency. During the pandemic, a short term process and system was implemented to allow police agencies to submit this information using Secure File Transfer (SFTP) accounts. ITD Criminal Justice Team is working on a long-term system solution to allow agencies to submit the DA packet using CRIMS. This will create a completely automated system with secure and audited document storage and retrieval and integration with RD3, the DA’s Case Management System.

 

Design Guidelines

A design guidelines website has been established as a resource for anyone in the county to utilize. It not only incorporates accessibility guidelines but also focuses on best practices for common design and UI elements. The goals are to allow developers and staff across the county to improve their overall user experience, build consistent interactions across platforms, and speed up the design and development process. This applies to anything from applications to PowerPoint presentations. There has never been anything like this in place before and having this as a tool should help improve efficiencies across the county.

before
 
 
 

Voice Modernization Initiative (VMI)

The County has an aging, legacy phone system based on Avaya technology. To support the goal of a more mobile and flexible workforce, the Voice Modernization Initiative (VMI) was initiated to replace the legacy system with a new, cloud-based phone system. In addition to replacing outdated equipment, this project will add key benefits such as the ability to work remotely and accept calls over wireless, cell, or other technologies securely. It allows employees to use mobile phones, laptops, or desk phones to make and receive County calls using their County number. The County is using Microsoft Office 365, which includes Teams to support voice communications and other collaboration functions. Teams is based on a cloud platform that is not tied to a specific geography or device. The VMI solution is expected to drive reduced operational costs and better alignment with accessible infrastructure for mobile and remote workers. This solution supports Alameda County’s current and future needs and is in accord with ACGOV Vision 2026.

Solution Benefits Summary:

  • Supports Mobility, Collaboration and Security
  • Not tied to a specific geography or device
  • Better support for remote work
  • Cloud based solution providing flexibility and lower cost
  • Alignment with ACGOV Vision 2026 Goal of Accessible Infrastructure

This project is in progress and as of March 2021, approximately 700 staff have been converted to VMI.

 

Endpoint Detection and Response

As the types of cyber threats become more sophisticated, ITD has implemented an Endpoint Detection and Response tool for all Alameda County endpoints. In addition to addressing traditional anti-virus threats, EDR addresses zero day and fileless attacks and prevents malicious files from being executed using both signatures and behaviors. Potential attacks are monitored and stopped not only through the agent, but through a security operations center 24/7.

 

Pretrial Pilot Project

The 2019-2020 California state budget earmarked $75 million to the Judicial Council of California (JCC) to launch and evaluate two-year pretrial projects in local trial courts. The project’s aim is to increase the safe and efficient release of arrestees before trial; use the least restrictive monitoring practices possible while protecting public safety and ensuring court appearances; validate and expand the use of risk assessment tools; and assess any bias. The JCC selected Alameda County as one of the 16 counties to participate in a 18-month Pretrial Pilot project.

The Alameda County Superior Court, the Alameda County Probation Department, and the Alameda County Sheriff and other police agencies all worked together to create a system that will allow pretrial evaluations, assessments and judicial reviews to happen efficiently. County’s CRIMS (Consolidated Records Information Management System), a consolidated system that is used by all public safety and criminal justice organizations played a crucial role in creating interfaces with Probation’s Tyler Supervision (TS) Case Management System and with Court’s Tyler Odyssey Case Management System, to create a seamless automation.

 

eDocs

ITD successfully designed and launched a cloud-based application using Salesforce.com to automate the end to end application process used by the Social Services Agency (SSA) In-home Supportive Services Division (IHSS) Social Workers.

Alameda County IHSS division currently processes an average of 6,000 new applications for intake and about 18,000 reassessments annually. The eDocs application is designed to automate many of the manual steps in the intake process. Through integration to various source systems, the application pre-populates the forms needed by the Social Worker. The capability includes an electronic signature by the recipient and digital storage of the signed forms in the enterprise document management system. As a result, the application saves time and has a reduction in data entry errors. The projection for the time savings is estimated between 15 and 30 mins per application. When Phase III is completed in summer 2020, the projected time savings is about 4,000 - 8,000 man-hours yearly.

The eDocs application can generate all the necessary forms in five languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Farsi, and Vietnamese) thereby allowing SSA to serve the recipients of these languages better. Per state-mandate, these documents are digitally signed and emailed to the recipients during home visits thereby eliminating the paper printing and the additional effort for scanning, storing, printing, etc.

 

Perimeter Firewall Security

The legacy firewall appliances were reaching end of life and were not meeting the growth and security requirements of modern technologies. The solution was to collapse existing firewalls and security functionality into a single security platform. This new platform would offer support required throughput, new security features, and centralized administration. Palo Alto Networks (PAN) Next Generation firewalls were selected through a competitive procurement process in 2019.

Migration to the new PAN’s started with our Internet Egress in late 2019, followed by EBP and E-Commerce front-end early in 2020. The last of the zones, E-Commerce back-end, was migrated in June 2020.

We are now able to secure our perimeter in a manner that we would not have been able to before the Palo Alto Networks (PAN) Next-Generation security firewalls. The PAN’s provide:

  • Anti-virus, anti-spyware (command & control) and vulnerability protection
  • Built-in external dynamic lists that secure our network against malicious hosts
  • The ability to identify infected hosts that try to connect to malicious websites
  • Enhanced DNS security
  • URL filtering

All these zones are now managed through a single management console (Panorama).

 

DevOps

ITD is committed to continuous improvement in operational efficiency. We have been working on streamlining internal operations and implementing automation for internal processes using DevOps methodology. Using various development tools, developers automate deployment and testing of the in-house applications. This effort leads to an increase in quality of our in-house applications, reduced implementation time and improved communications with the customers and other teams within the department.

 

Tech Reuse

Under the guidance of the Board of Supervisors, we in partnership with TechExchange donate refurbished computers that are distributed to local schools, communities, and non-profit organizations. The cool thing about this program is the processes that were developed in partnership with TechExchange to manage the supply chain, digital data erasure and distribution of computer assets on an ongoing basis.

 

Acvote.org Accessibility Certification

A big part of the redesign for the Registrar of Voters (ROV) website was to make it as accessible as possible. The WCAG 2.1 AA standards are in place to ensure users with disabilities have the same access to information as everyone else and that websites meeting these standards must be compatible with screen readers. During a yearlong effort in 2019 and 2020, ROV took it one step further and worked with the National Federation of the Blind to get the site certified for Accessibility through WebAim, a leading web accessibility non-profit organization. To meet this highest standard, the entire code base for acvote.org was evaluated and modified where needed to meet the stringent requirements for certification and ensure all citizens of Alameda County can get the voting information they need.

 

Upgrade of HRMS, Financial – ERP System

In March of 2019 we successfully completed upgrade of our PeopleSoft Financial system to the latest delivered version of PeopleTools 8.56 and PUM 29. As before, this upgrade was achieved completely by in-house staff. The upgrade was flawless. County vendors are able to use the latest version, called FLUID version for bidding on any County Projects.

In August of 2019 we will be upgrading our PeopleSoft HR and Payroll system to the latest delivered version of PeopleTools 8.56 and PUM 28. New upgrade system will be current with the latest delivered version by Oracle.

In March of 2021, as per the bi-annual schedule PeopleSoft Financial System was upgraded to the latest delivered version of PeopleTools 8.58 and PUM 37 along with an upgrade of both the infrastructure and database.. As always, this upgrade was achieved completely by in-house staff and was completed on time, went without a hitch. User departments – Auditor and GSA were integral in a smooth deployment and users encountered no issues after upgrade.

In August of 2021 we will be upgrading our PeopleSoft HR and Payroll system to the latest delivered version of PeopleTools 8.58 and PUM 36. New upgrade system will be current with the latest delivered version by Oracle.

 

Emergency Tracking System

County of Alameda played a significant role in helping battle the October 2017 destructive wildfires that occurred in Northern California. Various county agencies were involved in providing staff and coordination for Fire and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Emergency, Public Health and Medical Mutual Aid services. ITD created this cross-collaboration tool, which allowed agencies to add resources, time, and cost information for services provided to tackle destructive and widespread wildfires in Napa and Sonoma Counties. This summary information could then be easily reviewed by Department Heads, CAO and the Board of supervisors.

Implemented in October 2017.

 

New Acgov.org Website

The County has adopted a “mobile first” design philosophy and is applying it to all new websites including the redesigned ACGOV.org, allowing the site to be viewed on any desktop or mobile device. Using a minimalist approach, the usual navigation bars were removed and the search bar emphasized. The search functionality provides various filters and suggested keywords to aid locating the content faster. For those users who still like to click through a site, key links were added through out to help the user locate important and highly visited pages. This new search-centric implementation provides the public the opportunity to easily locate County services and information without the need in understanding government hierarchy. ITD will continue to improve and enhance the site with the user experience in mind.

 

Central Collections Electronic Statements

Saving the County the costs of producing Central Collection Statements on paper and the associated costs of mailing, is the goal of this project. Clients will be able to opt in to receive a monthly email instead of receiving a paper statement in the mail. The email to the client will contain a link to the County website for credit card payment or payment by check. If check is preferred a payment stub can be printed from the website to include with the clients payment.

Implemented March 2015.

 

Implement the Countywide Efficiency Initiative

The initiative seeks to improve the County's efficiency through process re-engineering and implementing new technologies.

For 2016: ITD is continuing to build new imaging applications to reduce paper and improve workflow. We will also be implementing an enterprise eSignature and eForms solution as a tool in reducing paper and streamlining business processes. And we are promoting the use of video conferencing supporting the Climate Initiative.

 

COVID-19 Chatbot

As the pandemic started, nearly all the County’s communication channels were bombarded with several questions, reports, and concerns regarding the pandemic and how to stay safe. With an influx of questions, Healthcare agency needed an immediate solution to help alleviate the stress on our communications channels and free up the staff to focus on more complex issues.

The project started with multi-department collaboration between four Healthcare departments, CAO, and ITD with limited scope and focused solely on handling COVID-19 related questions. Through agile planning and development cycle, the technology was locked down as Azure, the branding and functionality decided upon, and a working prototype was up in a matter of days.

Through internal testing and continuous learning on what our constituents were commonly asking about, we continued to develop the chatbot features to take advantage of multiple knowledge bases as well as different ways of interacting with the chatbot. This multi-lingual chatbot takes in content from both the CDC and the Public Health, as well as other county resources. It accepts typed-in questions and supports a menu tree system for those that want a guided path to the answers they seek.

The chatbot was launched on May 8th and recorded 5000+ questions soon after. Two more chatbots were created for IT HelpDesk and another for Probation. This new emerging technology implementation provides a blueprint for future chatbot developments. The existing chatbots continue learn and provide service to our constituents for years to come.