Gauteng Business News

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Business: ER24's R2m Call Centre Upgrade


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Says Elaine Boardman, Contact Centre Manager at ER24: "ER24's primary value proposition is its capability to ensure the efficient and timeous dispatch of emergency service vehicles where and when they are needed, and to give expert medical advice. Fast response times and being able to record all the calls we receive are critical components of our service. They ensure we meet our service promise to clients and that we can verify that the correct procedures were followed when a client needs information regarding a call, as well as provide them with physical recordings of the interaction.

"With a significant volume of calls being handled by the call centre, integration of the telephony and recording system is thus critical to enable us to search for, quickly identify and access recordings. The challenge we faced, however, was that our existing telephony system was not flexible enough, was limited in terms of its ability to integrate with our recording systems and did not provide the sophisticated reporting functionality werequired."

"To optimise Contact Centre efficiencies, improve performance and be able to give our clients accurate operational stats and management reports containing basic statistics such as accurate call-answer times and 'time to resolution' of calls, we needed to put the right information systems and processes in place. And with the renewal of a strategic contract close at hand - an emergency response contact service for a cellular network's subscribers - and contractual obligations to meet, we needed to act fast."

Spescom DataFusion was approached and within a week the two companies had defined a suitable solution. Planning commenced, with ER24 deciding to first go live with its own 084 124 Contact Centre, then the new 112 Centre. Within three weeks the stage was set: a deployment plan which detailed the roll-out - i.e., the scope of work, customer and Spescom requirements, risks, project resources, project schedule, training requirements, operational impact, dependencies and roles and responsibilities -- was accepted and approved by ER24.

What followed in the next 72 hours - the installation and commissioning of a new Avaya telephony platform, the upgrade and tight integration of Spescom DataVoice recorders to the system, the creation and deployment of the

necessary management reports, and training of staff -- was a testament to the expertise, capability and professionalism of the Spescom DataFusion and ER24 teams assigned to the project.

Says Boardman: "I have been in the Contact Centre industry for just over seven years and have been involved in setting up two independent Contact Centres as well as the relocation of others. In light of these experiences,

I have no words to explain how impressed I am. We got exactly what we were sold. No grey areas; no excuses. What we wanted we have, from an efficient and effective telephony platform that will allow us to scale and grow the business, to superfast search and access of recorded calls, and detailed reports - in record time."

Due to the success of the 084 124 implementation, the new 112 Centre was enabled on the new platform ahead of schedule. Says Boardman: "Our non-negotiable go-live date was 1 May, 2009, and Spescom DataFusion met this

with confidence and ease. This solution ensures our Contact Centre operation, which lies at the core of our entire business offering, functions off a stable, reliable state-of-the-art platform. This will not only ensure

we can continue to improve our performance, but that our response times and, ultimately, our ability to save lives are exponentially enhanced."

Notes Paul Fick, MD of Spescom DataFusion: "This project has taken considerable teamwork and dedicated effort from everyone - the client, our suppliers and contractors, and of course the Spescom DataFusion project

leaders and technicians. The expertise and industry experience of Spescom DataFusion served to ensure the project successfully met and surpassed customer expectations from supply to commissioning. However, everyone played a role.

"Avaya got the kit to us in time, our contractors pulled out all the stops to fulfill their obligations in terms of hardware installation, and the Spescom DataFusion technical and project management teams worked through the

night to support and assist outsourced specialists in a collaborative effort to meet ER24's requirements."

Says Bridget Kelly who heads up Avaya in South Africa: The remarkable success of this project is an example of what can be done with the right combination of expertise, technology and experience. The Avaya technology

has a long and highly respected track record with regard to the enablement of Emergency Services operations. Coupled with the considerable technology and integration expertise of Spescom DataFusion, a company that has for the past 20 years serviced the telephony enablement requirements of enterprises, call centres and public sector organisations in South Africa, it's a recipe for sure success."

The solution

The Avaya Contact Centre Platform solution comprised Avaya Communication Manager 5, IP telephony software which features call processing capabilities, advanced workforce productivity and mobility features, built-in conferencing and contact centre applications which includes the automation of call distribution; the Avaya Call Management System which enables advanced reporting; 71 digital phones; and CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) enablement of the recorders. ER24's existing Spescom DataVoice Recording Solution was augmented with Libra E60 recording software and the implementation of a recording controller platform. ER24 has also signed a 24x7 Gold support and maintenance agreement with Spescom DataFusion.

About Spescom

Spescom Ltd is a JSE listed company operating in the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) sector. Founded in 1977, this South African Company has developed and delivered a number of world first technologies, as

well as innovative products and services to local and global markets. Spescom's core focus is the delivery of integrated business communication solutions that leverage voice, video and data technologies to enhance the

way businesses communicate with their customers. The deep technical expertise and considerable industry know-how housed in its five divisions - Spescom DataFusion; Spescom DataVoice; Spescom Telecommunications, Spescom

Media IT and Spescom Mobile Solutions - combine to deliver world-class solutions, including integrated contact centre platforms and applications, a range of voice application technologies, telecommunications and broadcast

solutions. 'Smart People. Clever Solutions' reflects who we are and why we are positioned to leverage current and future technology trends and developments to meet the dynamically shifting requirements of our customers and ensure their continued competitiveness. The company has a staff complement of 290 with offices located in

Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and London (UK). For more information about Spescom visit


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