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All you need is COBOL

A computer manufacturers call center in California had a reporting problem and an IT deficiency. After months of trying, the IT department couldn't process the amount of data generated by their phone switch in a manner that lent itself to the generation of the daily reports required by the call center managers.  The departmental separation between IT managers and call center managers meant that nobody was really being held accountable.  The only recourse the call center managers had was to assign 2 phone workers to the generation of the daily reports.  That was 2 man-days to process 24 hours of phone switch records which were then delivered 48 hours after the data was collected.

Investigating a solution to this problem, a single onsite system was found to have a capable data processing language - but that language was COBOL - the programming language invented by Grace Hopper in 1959 - that COBOL. This was a call center after all, and they didn't do much data processing outside of a spreadsheet now and then.

After planning the process, an application was written to retrieve and process the phone switch data every 15 minutes, generating a report that was not only timely - but could also yield information helpful to the call center volume today, where it's impossible to be proactive using a report about what happened two days ago.  On top of that, 2 employees were once again productive on the phones.  Paying the equivalent of 80 man-hours once saved them 4,096 man-hours annually, and 5,000% annual is one heck of an ROI.

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