The US Federal Courts (the “Third Branch” of government) operates 13 appeals circuits and 94 districts throught the territory of the United States, along with a number of special pupose courts in Washington DC. There are over 400 court locations in the system, whose IT infrastructure is funded by the Courts’ Administrative Office (AO), based in Washington. The funds each court receives are determined by an allotment formula maintained by the AO. This is intended to fairly distribute a pool of funds among all of the courts using a model (called the “allotment formula”) that calculates a given court’s annual IT infrastructure expenses, taking both operation expenses and annualized capital needs into account.
By late 2012, The allotment formula had not been updated for nearly a decade and contained no provisions for funding technologies such as tablets and smartphones, WiFi, cloud services, and so-on, had been made. Furthermore, the existing formula did not take pricing trends, or changes to the staffing levels required to operate the court system into account, and as a result, the formula’s output was diverging rapidly from the actual infrastructure needs of the courts.
The AO needed to modernize its allotment formula and a competitive bidding process was begun to select a qualified external vendor. After reviewing the available options, the AO decided to stop the competitive selection process and awarded Quantellia the sole-source contract, based the company’s unique technology and qualifications.
The project consisted of the following phases:
Not just any survey/data acquisition tool
The first stage of the project, data acquisition, required that close to 400 courts be sent a link to an on-line survey tool. The survey tool had a number of unique requirements:
Previous attempts to implement these requirements by generating and distributing PDF files had not delivered success. Quantellia’s World Modeler platform was able to statisfy the above needs, thanks to its underlying modeling engine, and data binding layer. The application was delivered to the US Courts on time and on budget, and deployed to about 1500 users. The data collected during the first six months of operation (along with only one help desk query), was subsequently analyzed as described below.
Data Analysis and Model Building
A set of classifiers was also developed that divided the entire court system into five groups, each of which had particular characteristics that affected their allotment formula. A distinct formula was developed for each of the groups, leading to the dramatic improvemements the accuracy of the final result.
Quantellia Helps US Federal Courts Reduce IT Infrastructure Budget By 15%
“This problem is making my head explode“
– Vendor consultant responding to US Courts RFP.
The IT budgeting process used by the US Federal Courts was lagging behind and not allotting funds for new technologies. A sophisticated data acquistion and analytics program was established to update the allotment formula.
After winning sole-source selection, Quantellia delivered a data acquisition interface to 1500 users and analyzed the data collected from this, along with other sources. The result was a modernized allotment formula that was aligned to within 1% of actual spending, and reformed the budget to deliver the same outcomes at 15% lower cost.