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Lifeline upgrades call centre, aims to increase capacity by 250,000 calls per year

The 24-month project removes legacy systems, reforms DR and overhauls back-end systems
Lifeline CIO, Chris Hardy

Lifeline CIO, Chris Hardy

Lifeline has gone live with its call centre upgrade, with the system set to enable the not-for-profit to increase its call capacity by 250,000 per year.

Lifeline’s CIO of nine months, Chris Hardy, spoke exclusively to CIO Australia about the upgrade, saying that the project has been two years in the making.

“We’ve upgraded and overhauled our entire infrastructure so that our system has better reliability, robustness and we’ve moved to a new provider,” Hardy said.

“We’ve upgraded our legacy environment to provide us with better call quality and better reliability around that.”

The removal of Lifeline’s legacy systems, installation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and platform standardisation has allowed the suicide prevention and mental health support service to provide better information to its telephone crisis staff members, with Hardy saying a new disaster recovery (DR) initiative has also been implemented.

“We’ve implemented a major DR environment which is off network, so is totally divorced from our production environment which is based on virtual contact centre technology,” he said.

“I think the most exciting part is that we’ve made this plan of virtual contact centre technology that would lead us in the next four to five years to provide better mobility of our workforce and it also provides us with a communication channel.”

Hardy said the advantages of the project have included greater reliability, better call quality and a more robust system.

“I think it’s nice to go to an environment as a volunteer or a paid employee where the systems just work,” he said. “We have this target within the next 24 months to be taking 700,000 calls per year, which from the current 450,000 that we currently get and I think that technology will play a major role in that.”

Completing the project with zero downtime, Hardy said the IT team at Lifeline has a big 2012 to look forward to.

“The back-end systems are also being overhauled to bring up to a portable kind of mechanisms, which is also quite exciting,” he said.

“In the last couple of months, we’ve seen an increase in our calls and for us to stay up with that demand, we constantly have to improve and better improve our IT environment around mobility so that volunteers can work from wherever they want to.”

Hardy also spoke to CIO Australia earlier this year, outlining details of Lifeline's business plan.

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