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E-Business Call Center Application. February 2005. What is a Call Center?. A single location that people can contact to receive a service or product Service may involve many providers Call Center contacts the providers(s) for the caller

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what is a call center
What is a Call Center?
  • A single location that people can contact to receive a service or product
  • Service may involve many providers
  • Call Center contacts the providers(s) for the caller
  • Call center relays to the caller the results of the provider contact
why is it named a call center
Why is it Named a Call Center
  • Before the internet, you had to use the telephone to contact the center
  • The name has stuck even though you can contact them via the WWW for most services
  • The service goals are the same whether calling a human or interacting with a web site interface
the call center application for pennsylvania one call
The Call Center Application for Pennsylvania One Call
  • Contractors and landowners dug up gas lines, electrical lines, telephone lines, cable TV lines, water lines, sewer lines and other buried facilities
  • Cost to the facility owner to repair is high
  • Cost to the contractor or landowner may be with their life in some cases (Gas Explosion)
  • State Law: Anyone who is going to dig anywhere in the State must contact the call center and they notify the facility owners
pennsylvania one call center
Pennsylvania One Call Center
  • Facility Owners mark the location of their facilities at the proposed dig site with flags
  • Emergency calls for ”Smell of Gas”, ”Electrical Line Down”, ”Water Main Break”, and ”Hazardous Material Spill” are also handled by the center.
  • Center knows who has facilities at all locations and who to contact at any time.
what are the parameters of the application
What are the Parameters of the Application?
  • 50,000 contractors
  • 12,000,000 citizens
  • 2,640 Communities
  • 4,500 facility owners (Members)
  • 46,058 square miles Geographical Area
  • 600,000 digups per year
  • 6,000,000 notifications per year
  • 6,000,000 responses to notifications
  • 600,000 responses to contractors
one call system
One Call System

Deliver to Members



Avaya PBX Menu – Ticket or Response


Data Maintenance

Member Facilities




Deliver Responses to Contractor

Take Ticket

DB of Members, Contractors, tickets, etc.

GIS Data

End of day Summary

Queue for Delivery



Deliver to Members

Member Response

Legal Data



Web Server 1

Web Server 2



Server 2


SQL Server

Map Info

Server 1


SQL Server

Map Info


Avaya IVR

SQL Server



reliability issues
Reliability Issues
  • Liability issues require high reliability
  • Database Replication
  • Duplicate Systems
  • Redundant Network (dual connections)
  • Automatic Failover
  • Queuing Ticket data to workstation files until database update complete
  • Ensuring Delivery is successful
  • Event Log
reliability issues11
Reliability Issues
  • Delivery Reliability
    • Fax (response tells the truth)
    • Voice (Human verification)
    • Computer to Computer (Protocol tells some of the truth)
    • Computer to Computer (Verification application at member end tells the rest of the truth)
    • End of Day Summary validation
    • E-Mail (inherently unreliable but attempt several layers of checking)
      • Does server exist and is it running
      • Does user account exist
      • Did we get any error after sending
availability issues
Availability Issues
  • Creating a Ticket
    • Call the Center
    • Access the Center Web Page
    • Fax in Ticket Information
  • Getting Ticket and Response Information
    • Delivery by Center for all Tickets
    • Call the Center
    • Access the Web Page
    • Use the Avaya Interactive Voice Response
    • Automatic Response Fax to Contractors
member and contractor data correctness
Member and Contractor Data Correctness
  • Correct Delivery Addresses
    • Open Hours
    • Closed Hours
    • Holidays
  • Correct Billing Address
  • Correct Fax Protocol
  • Correct Telephone numbers
  • Correct E-Mail Address
  • Correct IP Address
correct facility and gis data
Correct Facility and GIS Data
  • Map data of areas of the state must be correct
  • Street and Landmark data must be correct
  • Facility Locations must be correct
  • Map data Latitude and Longitude are at 5 second intervals for the entire state
  • Thus, the state is represented as a grid of rectanges at 5 seconds of a degree
  • 40 million GIS records
dig location and facility intersections
Dig Location and Facility Intersections
  • When a dig location is identified on a map as a rectangular area, it includes hundreds of the 5 second rectanglar grid elements.
  • These are used to search the member facilities GIS database for matches
  • If a match is found, then that member must be notified
  • If a member is notified, they must respond using a standard form with legal responses, Marked, Scheduled for Mark, No Facilities at Site, etc.
  • Members who are notified are billed on a monthly basis
why do they want an e business approach
Why do they want an e-business Approach?
  • Put the members and Contractors (Customers) in more control
  • Reduce Human Labor Cost
  • Reduce contractor wait time (Queues)
  • Reduce Liability
  • Add Flexibility
  • Add Reliability (Multiple entry points)
  • Create a ”We Are With It” image
what is an e business
What is an e-business?
  • A way of conducting business electronically, leveraging technology initiatives such as e-commerce, electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic funds transfer (EFT), POSA, database servers, etc..
  • Electronic storefronts, self-service Web applications, and Web-based supply chain integration are a few examples of new e-business opportunities.
e business how does it work
E-business: How does it work?
  • An e-business combines the resources of traditional information systems with the reach of an electronic medium such as the Internet (including the World Wide Web, intranets, and extranets);
  • It connects critical business systems directly to critical business constituencies--customers, employees, and suppliers.
  • The key to becoming an e-business is building a transaction-based Web site in which all core business processes (especially all processes that require a dynamic and interactive flow of information) are put online to improve service, cut costs, and sell products or services.
how did e business get started
How did e-business get started?
  • E-business was preceded by the growth of the Internet in two phases: the Communication Phase and the Information Phase.
  • The Communication Phase (1993 to 1997) can be defined by the rapid adoption of e-mail. This marked a period where e-mail and Internet awareness spread rapidly, revolutionizing how people and business communicated.
  • The Information Phase. "Brochureware" — websites that provided primarily organization and contact information — was the hallmark of the Information Phase.
  • To help us navigate through the rapid growth of websites came the search engines. Yahoo!, Infoseek, Lycos, Hotbot, etc.
  • Brochureware gave way to Web tools and software solutions that made information sharing two-way.
  • From surveys to shopping carts, e-mail lists and chat services, websites became a way to interact with site visitors.
b2c lessons
B2C Lessons
  • E-business solutions ultimately succeed when they relieve pain points for the customer.
  • Channel integration was a hard lesson to learn. Bottom line: To succeed on line, you must integrate the website fully into the business.
  • Among the successful integration tales are online banking, online travel booking, much improved holiday retail sales support, and bill paying services.
  • Traditionally these services were a chore and inconvenience for the customer
  • Customers now have control, while companies are able to cut costs and concentrate on process improvement and service enhancement.
  • The lesson here is put the customer in the driver seat, remove a pain point, make some money.
b2b lessons
B2B Lessons
  • B2C lessons carry over into B2B applications.
  • Programmers began developing workarounds in the form of robust open source code.
  • The introduction of Apache Web servers and Linux Operating Systems, made industry stalwarts take notice. These solutions now offer affordable, reliable options for budget-conscious entrepreneurs, businesses, governments and non-profits.
  • EDI , formerly reserved for proprietary solutions, can now be tied to Web interfaces via XML and Web Services, connecting back-office systems to front-end Web applications. The goal is to integrate systems and deploy solutions that can respond rapidly to changing market conditions.
  • The combination of robust open source code, skilled personnel and affordable, transaction-based models that Application Service Providers (ASPs) are adopting, allow companies to better serve their customers.
e business a disruptive business model
E-business: a disruptive business model
  • By its nature, e-business is a disruptive business model. It cannot be fully embraced without altering business as we know it.
  • Organizations that develop flexible, adaptable resources, both physical and human, will succeed.
  • Process development does not go away, but in fact becomes the critical factor of successful system implementations and adaptations.
  • The new e-business organization, which includes its partners, must be globally aware, system-oriented, and customer sensitive.
  • To succeed, the organization has to become a moving target: constantly differentiating itself by absorbing customer feedback and developing products and services that create loyalty.
e business security
E-business Security
  • Visa unveiled its "Digital Dozen," a list of security requirements calling for firewalls, encryption, testing and access policies that its service providers and merchants must have as a condition of doing business with Visa.
  • That's right—if a bank or merchant can't play by these rules, they don't play with Visa.
b2b security
B2B Security
  • In most B2B relationships, partners grant limited authority to pass into each other's systems and access critical information.
  • If your partner is using proprietary applications that touch your system, security must be built into that application.
  • Make sure the application doesn't turn off or ignore other security controls, like encryption, associated with the [B2B] system
b2b access control
B2B Access Control
  • To avoid tampering, companies should require partners to maintain strong, active password programs.
  • Measures should include requirements to change passwords frequently, monitoring and logging of password usage, tools to detect easily guessed passwords and a central authority to set access policies.
  • You should forbid your partner to set up departmental passwords if the partner accesses your systems through its network..
  • Experts and practitioners say companies should require their partners to use encryption for any sensitive information.
  • Staples CIO Paul Gaffney requires B2B partners to encrypt all Internet transmissions but not transmissions sent over private networks. "That would be overkill," he says.
  • Included are Information such as —customer data, marketing strategy, labor relations and unreleased financials—transmitted over the Internet.
segmentation of networks
Segmentation of Networks
  • Security analysts advocate "segmenting" enterprise architectures into smaller networks, all behind separate firewalls.
  • That way, if one part of the network is compromised, the rest remains safe.
  • Bethesda, Md.-based defense contractor Lockheed-Martin does that—and looks for it in its partners too.
call center requirements
Call Center Requirements
  • 24 x 7 operations
  • High degree of Accuracy of input data about the dig or emergency site
    • Location
    • Description
    • Dates and Times
  • High degree of reliability – never down
  • High degree of security
  • Speed of notification
  • Speed of responses
  • Liability issues – verification of delivery
why use the e business approach
Why use the e-business Approach?
  • Reduce the human capital involved
    • Fewer CSRs to cover 7x24
  • Transfer some liability to the contractor
    • Responsible for accurate data
  • Reduce Voice communication costs
    • Multiple T1 lines are costly
  • Improve Response Time to Contractors
  • Add Flexibility and Reliability
  • WEB interface must authenticate that the user is a legitimate user
  • WEB interface must provide a tutorial for the user on how to use the system
  • WEB interface must treat a first time user differently by not updating the database for delivery until ticket data entered has been approved by a CSR.
web interface
Web Interface
  • Interface must replace the CSR’s knowledge about dig sites, locations, map reading, member data requirements, spelling, etc.
  • Interface must check the integrity of the data
  • Interface must guide the user through the right set of questions for a specific type of ticket (Design, Emergency, Dig up, Normal, etc.)
in take of ticket data
In-take of Ticket Data
  • CSRs are highly trained in how to get the information from a contractor
  • CSRs are trained in providing responses to contractors
  • CSRs are trained in dealing with member’s who have a problem with a ticket
  • Can a WEB based system get the same results?
the business side of the service
The Business Side of the Service
  • Call Center Billing
    • Create an invoice each month
    • Based on a complex algorithm of ins and outs of a dig site area
    • Lots of billing questions
how do we make it an e business application
How do we make it an e-business Application?
  • Create the WEB interface(s) – look and feel
  • Create the interfaces for a first time user
  • Create the interfaces for an experienced user
  • Create user authentication methods and encrypted database tables on outside of Firewall
  • Create intermediate database tables for web entered tickets on the outside of the firewall
the web application
The WEB Application
  • Create a demon to process and validate WEB entered tickets and add them to the production database, queue them for delivery, or alert a CSR of a QA failure
  • Create Ticket Response Entry Interfaces, procedures and database tables on outside of Firewall
  • Create demon to synchronize response data between web database and production database
  • Create search interfaces to search ticket and response archives in WEB database
  • Create alert system for tickets that have exceeded delivery time constraints
the web application36
The WEB Application
  • Create Invoice building interface and procedures
  • Create contacts and discussion interfaces
  • Create Reports Generation Interfaces and procedures
  • Create Data Maintenance Interfaces for Members and Contractors
web application
WEB Application







Response Entry

Ticket Entry

Response Demon

Ticket Demon

Database of Tickets, Member Data, Contractor Data, Responses, Archives, etc.

Database of GIS entities, facilities, etc.

QA Alert

Production Database


  • 25% of Tickets now entered by contractors
  • 30% of member data updates now done by members
  • Reduced billing questions by 40%
  • 20% of Contractor data now done by the contractor
  • Calls reduced for all reasons by 28%