Dallas County Seeks Software Licensing Savings

Dallas County commissioners hope to save more than $473,000 by expediting the licensing of new software to manage court cases, software the county helped develop.The savings would come on top of millions of dollars - as much as $1.3 million this fiscal year - that the county expects to earn from licensing fees.The county has been working with Tarrant and Travis counties on a $16.7 million project to develop a top-shelf court case management system that can be sold and used in any trial court in Texas. AMCAD, a private software vendor, also has been involved in the effort.Acquiring an "enterprise" license - which includes the software's source code and entitles the holder to collect future license fees - was expected to cost the three counties $6.6 million. They were planning to make that payment to AMCAD in fiscal 2015.But the software vendor is offering the counties a $1 million discount if they act this fiscal year. That means the Dallas County portion would be $2.6 million rather than $3.1 million.The commissioners will vote on the first step of the accelerated timeline next week. On Tuesday, during a briefing, all five commissioners expressed support."The offer on the table is a no-brainer," said Commissioner John Wiley Price.The three counties are sharing the cost of developing the software, based on population. So Dallas County's portion of the $16.7 million price tag, which includes the enterprise license, is about $7.9 million.Officials said they hoped to recoup some of that investment by licensing the software to others. They mentioned several cities and counties - from Webb County to El Paso - that are considering the software.Projected revenue beyond the first year weren't calculated. Still, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said, the potential to license the software to others is "a real long-term plus."Price and Commissioner Elba Garcia, both Democrats, expressed some reservations about the contract's relatively low minority participation. An official with the Texas Conference of Urban Counties, which coordinates the technology-sharing program, said that was being addressed.Garcia agreed with Price that the cost savings seemed too good to pass up."The investment will pay off," she said.  Continue reading...

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