The OCCC is a Texas State Agency that works to ensure the non-bank financial services industry that it regulates provides compliant financial and consumer credit products.
It regulates over pawn shop practices, retail store credits, motor vehicle loans, property tax lenders, precious metals transactions, cash advances – approximately 13 business categories in all. The OCCC ensures this multi-billion dollar industry adheres to various laws regulating financial transactions as well as to educate both the financial services providers and consumers alike about the rights, responsibilities and remedies associated with such transactions.
OCCC had been regulating 16,000 establishments across the State of Texas using paper driven processes and a collection of ad hoc and legacy technology that required duplicative data entry and frequently resulted in extended delays in the processing of applicants. The Commissioner of the OCCC wanted to explore how and what technologies could be leveraged to make it easier for citizens and businesses to do business with the OCCC, achieve internal operational excellence, create synergies across other state agencies and incorporate innovative processes.
Sistema Technologies performed a full-scale IT Assessment which included the development of an IT roadmap for making OCCC a state-of-the-art eGovernment agency. The IT roadmap involved building an automated web-based workflow solution that digitized all forms and workflow routing processes, was driven by a robust workflow engine and was in alignment with the myriad of rules stated by the Texas Administrative Code and other agency regulations.
In keeping with the trends of the industry, the system was built to run on a secure cloud platform and also support a vast array of browsers and mobile devices. The system needed to comply with PCI (Payment Card Industry) Standards, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and also included cutting edge security features such as 128-bit encryption, 2-factor authentication and HTTPS protocol.
To achieve this, the entire business processes of the OCCC were mapped along with conducting various stakeholder interviews. Schematics of future state business processes, as well as technical solutions and technologies were developed and delivered, along with a detailed IT roadmap of the effort, costs and rollout timelines.
The key deliverables of the Assessment and Roadmap Phase were:
Based upon Sistema’s thorough understanding of the client’s current environment and desired future state, we were awarded the opportunity to create a new online environment for the OCCC.
Sistema worked on developing and testing this application from April 2013. The new online application, ALECS (Automated Licensing Examination and Compliant System) was released in February 2014. The system’s release was preceded by a month long User Acceptance Testing phase which was performed by OCCC employees along with 24 focus group members representing eight companies across Austin, Houston and Dallas.
The application was well received across the state by business owners and individuals alike and was a resounding success. Within five months of release, 65% of all processed payments by the OCCC were performed as a “self-service” by OCCC customers.
From February 2014 through July 2014, the online application has processed 12,000+ applications. In addition, within these first five months, the OCCC has recuperated approximately 70% of their online application investment in employee time savings. The number of manual applications it took to process over 6 months can now be processed online within two weeks.
For over two decades, the State of Texas has been collecting data to support reporting and policy efforts at both the state and federal level. Statewide systems are in place to store and manage this data; however, these systems were not developed to support the increasing demand for timely, consolidated, dynamic, and actionable data.
Focusing on recent federal compliance reporting requirements, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is creating a district-facing data warehouse that will also meet the expectations of educators and relevant stakeholders. This environment is known as the Texas Student Data System (TSDS)/ Education Data Warehouse (EDW).
The TEA partnered with Sistema Technologies to provide skilled resources to work on the first component of the TSDS initiative. The TSDS Early Childhood Data System (ECDS) initiative focuses on the following benefits:
Modernization of the current data collection process to mitigate existing risks and improve system downtime
Make real-time student performance data available for educators, enabling them to make data-driven decisions to improve student success rates
Consolidation of disparate data collection points to a single platform interface; thereby, creating an easy-to-use application that significantly reduces the burden on districts and charter schools
Sistema Technologies takes pride in being able to directly make a difference in the lives of Texas educators, and ultimately our Texas students.
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), is one of the oldest and largest independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organizations in the United States.
SwRI’s 11 technical divisions offer a wide range of technical expertise and services in such areas as chemistry, space science, nondestructive evaluation, automation, engine design, mechanical engineering, electronics and more.
The Institute occupies more than 1,200 acres and provides more than 2 million square feet of laboratories, test facilities, workshops and offices.
Area of Focus: IT Operations Management (ITOM), Technical Service Desk Support and Governance.
Challenge: Need to provide operations management and service desk support to IT end users to include after hours support and offsite support.
Services Provided: Beginning in 2001 and continuing on today, Sistema Technologies provides ongoing Service Desk support to SwRI through PC Techs, Network Administrators and Service Desk supervisors. The team now manages over 300 end users and supports over 400 computers. In addition, the team supports 137 servers, Windows, UNIX and LINUX operating systems and 5 LINUX clusters.
Invited to be part of the high performance committee, Sistema lowered licensing costs by switching SwRI to open source software, established 200 notes cluster SAN for scalability and reduced computational analysis time for graphics card processing from three weeks to one day. In addition to the teams’ support responsibilities, they also standardized non-proprietary hardware to lower costs, implemented a disaster recovery plan, standardized desktop configurations for easy deployment, and built redundancy into the network core for a more efficient use of VOIP technology.
In regard to installing new desktops, a Sistema team member will meet directly with a SwRI employee to review their hardware requirements. The hardware requirements are usually based on the software being used. Sistema provides a hardware recommendation that allows the SwRI end-user to optimize the use of their software. This eliminates the problem of state-of-the-art software being executed on inadequate hardware devices.
Significantly pleased with the teams’ activities and ongoing support, our Service Desk team was asked to act as Enterprise Architects to define the division’s technology roadmap. Having become fully acculturated within the SwRI culture and with a strong commitment to providing excellent customer service, the Sistema team has a strong sense of loyalty to SwRI.
Sistema’s IT Operations Management and Service Desk Support Activities
Install Software Patches
Software License Management
Assist with the evaluation of new software and hardware technologies
Receive, log and track incoming calls from end-users
Address customer needs and generate reports
Order New Computers
Support Remote Connectivity Issues
Configure VPN clients
Maintain inventory of commonly used parts to minimize downtime
Maintain loaner laptops and desktops for emergency situations
Health and Human Services Commission
This project was aimed at making large scale database and service changes to create a system that allows fraud monitoring and prevention. The scope also included large scale data transformations to create elaborate reports for interagency and intra-agency consumption. During the course of development, Sistema also conducted extensive batch changes, including coordination with outside agencies. Sistema performed this project under its ITSAC contract utilizing four developers.