BACKGROUND: Cable & Wireless Information Systems Limited markets and supports computer-based solutions in Barbados and throughout the Eastern Caribbean. It is a unit of Cable & Wireless Barbados which is a subsidiary of global IT and telecommunications conglomerate, Cable & Wireless. Cable & Wireless Information Systems works with a variety of partners to provide total IT solutions including hardware, software, systems integration and support. It also acts as an authorized dealer in the region for several major computer manufacturers.

PLATFORMS: We run iEnterprise from Applix, Inc. on Compaq ProLiant 1600 and Windows NT 4.0.

PROBLEM SOLVED: As the year 2000 approached, Cable & Wireless needed to replace their existing service call logging system with a more effective Y2K-compliant solution. The existing solution was VMS based. We wanted to standardize all our systems on Windows NT and protect them from Y2K issues. We were also having some significant customer service difficulties with the old system. It was complicated to use, not accessible to the individual engineers and provided no support for reporting or metrics analysis. There was also no way for engineers to monitor calls assigned to them or for their supervisors to keep track of the status of those calls. The end result was a difficult customer service problem.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Applix iEnterprise (iService module) has introduced more accountability into Cable & Wireless call handling procedures. Now, when calls come into the help desk, the coordinator logs them directly into iService and assigns engineers. Messages are automatically sent to the engineers informing them of assignments and the details of the call. I can also track the performance of individual engineers, look at the service histories of individual clients and quantify dozens of other things that we could never effectively measure before.

STRENGTHS: The most important measure of the success of iService is the customer response. After implementing Applix iService, we began to receive more positive feedback from our customers regarding our customer service. iService provides our engineers with the tools they need to perform with the highest possible degree of professionalism and effectiveness with the automatic escalation rules and the increased consciousness of outstanding issues.

WEAKNESSES: I have not received the level of support I expected from the service center, especially in the early stages when it mattered most.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Cable & Wireless Information Systems needed a solution in a user-friendly Windows NT- based format. Migration ease was also a concern. Since the legacy solution came from a precursor of Applix, migration to a new Applix solution proved easier than migrating to a different vendor's solution. We needed a solution that was scalable, flexible and customizable. There was an existing Applix customer in Barbados. No other vendor's products had implementations in Barbados.

DELIVERABLES: Applix iService also provides Cable & Wireless Information Systems with greater reporting capabilities and more positive control over its operations. By tracking our service call data in detail, I am now better able to associate, anticipate and act on trends. Using iService as the primary desktop, the engineers make notations and detail their actions in the iService call files. If a call is not resolved after a specified period of time, it is automatically and repeatedly escalated to ensure that it has not been dropped.

VENDOR SUPPORT: When implementation began, two Applix application engineers installed and implemented iService and migrated the old account and contact information into the iService Central Incident Database in less than one week. We wanted to run the solution for a few weeks before going live. Cable & Wireless not only wanted to make sure the system worked, but we also wanted some time to evaluate our procedures so that we could fine-tune the solution to our needs. We ran iService in parallel with the old system while we continued to customize our escalation rules and procedures before going live. Pre- and post-implementation was very smooth. The Applix consultant's expertise was impressive. He was able to provide much welcomed support when the service center was unable to help.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation was abundant and clear.

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