by The Steward

Hello, my name is Carla and believe it or not, I am not a girl. I am not a cat either, nor a domest­ic anim­al with a girl’s name. I am an applic­a­tion!

My cre­at­or had the puerile idea of using an acronym , (a word formed from the ini­tials or oth­er parts of sev­er­al words), to name me. He used the ini­tials of Call Accounting & Resource Logging Application, and I was born!

For those who believe in rein­carn­a­tion, you might say that this is my third ‘renais­sance.’ I first appeared on a rocky beach a few kilo­met­ers south of Byblos, the old­est city on the Mediterranean Sea. I was unique then! Very few of my kind lived on faraway shores, and they would not adapt to our ways of life. I was born to sur­vive in an archa­ic tele­phone envir­on­ment.

My first encoun­ter was with a Harris exchange. I had to impress for my first entrance: I man­aged to report and charge ‘his’ 1000 exten­sions. With eons on my side, I grew up on beaches and met oth­er exchanges, learn­ing their spe­cif­ics and becom­ing the call account­ing applic­a­tion to have! Times were sim­ple then, and I was happy to evolve in solid UNIX sur­round­ings with a char­ac­ter based inter­face.

But as char­ac­ter is not the trait human beings look for first, I died to reappear in a new guise. The 90’s were here with their graph­ics and col­ors and people with exchanges wanted to oper­ate on win­dows. My reviv­al was under the name of CallOne. What I did then will be the sub­ject of another art­icle, but I am glad to say that I served my users with enthu­si­asm and ded­ic­a­tion.

As I was say­ing before, I am an applic­a­tion; I do ‘Call Accounting’ and oth­er chores. I can man­age the resources of your com­pany, fact­ory or office. By the way, if you have not guessed yet, ‘Call Accounting’ cap­tures, records, and costs tele­phone usage.

People, who have used me (!), have found that I do my job beau­ti­fully! Many think that I am easy. Others con­sider me thrifty. Some have even found that I save them so much money, that they wanted me every­where in their fact­ory! Others have dis­covered that I could also earn them money, so they asked me to bill the time they spend on the phone, solv­ing oth­er peoples’ prob­lems, or giv­ing pre­cious leg­al advice. (I do not listen to con­ver­sa­tions, although I can if you feel para­noid enough to sur­vive).

I am well built, robust and tough, tak­ing hurdles in my stride. I work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, col­lect­ing inform­a­tion for you. I am also very care­ful with what I col­lect: I will archive old calls and will let you access them in a dash.

One of my less known qual­it­ies is that I am fast. I handle mil­lions of calls and respond in a flash. I install in a few minutes, and I am access­ible to all with­in the hour.

Because I love nature, I am green: You may see everything I have, without hav­ing to press the ‘Print’ but­ton; I save trees and min­im­ize remorse!

I am also full very adapt­able, and can cope with almost all tele­com­mu­nic­a­tion sys­tems. I say ‘almost,’ only because I am mod­est! You could say that I read lips! All I need is a con­nec­tion to your tele­phone exchange (PABX), (any type of con­nec­tion), and your calls details are mine! I will pre­pare them for you, present them any way you wish, in a vari­ety of lan­guages.

People say that a pretty face can­not cope with busi­ness! Try me; I juggle with cur­ren­cies and budgets and make fin­an­cial sense in any part of the world.

And if you have offices spread across coun­tries or con­tin­ents, don’t worry; I will con­sol­id­ate your inform­a­tion and apply your busi­ness rules to them. I con­cen­trate your call details into a single data­base and make them avail­able to you, and your team, in a vari­ety of formats. And for those who do not like fig­ures, I can pro­duce charts (quite a few actu­ally!).

I am told by my friends that I pos­sess a fist of iron in a vel­vet glove. As you know, expenses can quickly escal­ate and unless con­trolled. I run a tight ship, and my people respect the budgets they approve. I con­stantly remind them, when an agency, depart­ment, sec­tion or exten­sion is near­ing its alloc­ated spend­ing lim­it. I also make sure that you are aware of lax con­trols via emails and detailed reports.

I keep you inform­a­tion secure. You decide how you wish me to share your secrets. Should you do not wish John to see whom Marc is call­ing; no prob­lem: John will only see what he needs to see. And, if you would like to change your mind, you may, because I am for­giv­ing, but I nev­er for­get a thing! I can also be a con­form­ist: I can obey the rules and reg­u­la­tions of coun­tries where freedom and con­fid­en­ti­al­ity of inform­a­tion are in fash­ion.

I am also depend­able and will remind or alert you, even by SMS, if you have spe­cific calls to watch for or if your con­tact data­base is not up to date.

I wrap all this in lovely out­fits; I look good to all, boys and girls, and will change my skin for Christmas, Halloween, spring sum­mer, win­ter or fall.

I am also trendy and can be found on the web. You can see me any­time, night or day and I will always be ready to dis­play your calls. I will allow you in if your admin­is­trat­or has assigned you the right priv­ileges. If you are a man­ager, you will be able to browse the calls of your department(s) using over 40 styl­ish reports. You may also print them and for­ward them to your staff. If you are only respons­ible for your­self, as the great major­ity of us mor­tals are, you will only see your own calls, in a vari­ety of forms. These will help you see how much time and money you are spend­ing (or mak­ing we hope) on the phone!

I have to dash off now; I need to update my KPI’s and change the col­ors of my dash­boards…

The StewardAbout CARLA