Online forum to help courts answer technological questions

The soon-to-be-launched Ask IT service will provide a means for courts to discuss technology issues and options.

The image is a graphic on a light blue background with a talking bubble that says Ask It and the words Court IT Leaders Forum at the bottom

The soon-to-be-launched Ask IT service will provide a means for courts to discuss technology issues and options.

Information technology leaders from Ohio’s justice system come together to share ideas and solve IT problems.

The Court IT Leaders Forum is an electronic collaboration space for court staff who manage technology to exchange information and advice.

The Ohio Supreme Court has studied and collected data for years on the technology used in the state court system and has provided the information to courts seeking guidance.

“Virtually any technology you consider implementing in a courthouse was done by someone else,” said Robert Stuart, the Supreme Court’s IT director who coordinates the forum.

The IT Leaders Forum, which has already attracted 180 members, is opening an online channel for technology leaders from Ohio courts to communicate directly with each other, individually or in groups. Participants can ask questions, post answers and circulate documents.

Stuart likens the group to existing associations that link court leaders in different roles, such as judges, magistrates, clerks, court administrators and court reporters.

“The forum will give IT managers a collective voice in the legal community,” he said.

“Ask him” service
Within the next month, the Supreme Court will use the IT Leaders Forum to launch another service called “Ask IT” for Ohio courts. This is a recommendation made last year by the Working Group on Enhancing Court Operations Using Remote Technologyknown as iCOURT.

Not only can forum members submit questions within the group for feedback and answers, but a designated email will generally be set up for courts to generally use when seeking answers on technology . Email is a way for courts that do not have a member on the IT Leaders Forum or have limited technology resources to request answers from forum members and collaborate with them.

Supreme Court IT staff will monitor emails and forward questions to forum members for comment and response. Questions and answers will be collected and posted to the forum’s online archive for future reference by other courts.

Hot topics can be case management systems (CMS), real-world experiences with technology tools, existing software that needs to interface with the CMS, and workflow. Another key area of ​​focus for all courts is cybersecurity, from barriers to solutions.

At the heart of these collaborative services are the benefits associated with crowdsourcing – the best minds working together to brainstorm solutions.

“The more information the courts have about computer issues, the better the outcomes and solutions,” Stuart said.

In the long term, Stuart believes the services will enable courts to evaluate a range of software and other technologies and identify best practices. It is possible to save time and money, while making the courts more accessible and efficient.

For more information about the IT Leaders Forum or Ask IT, contact Randall Drum of the Court’s IT office at [email protected]