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Call centre saves big by switching to Linux

By   |  June 21, 2005

A Johannesburg-based call centre has switched from Windows to Linux and saved as much as R2000 per machine in the process. The Benefit Recovery Services (BRS) 60-seat call centre was migrated by local Linux service provider Synaq.

David Jacobson, technical director at Synaq, said the migration was \”painless. We created a customised kick-start CD called ShrinkWrap that automatically configured each terminal at the 60-seat call centre with a custom Linux installation providing each agent with only the necessary tools and eliminating the need for human intervention.\”

The customised Linux system used for the BRS centre was based on Red Hat, said Jacobson. He says that once the CD had been prepared the actual install on each machine took just a few minutes. \”The other benefit of this was that the system could be installed on a range of hardware, even older machines like early Celerons and PIIs.\”

Ian Lewin, executive director at BRS, said “Microsoft licensing was prohibitive to our growth. We opted to go the Linux route in order to prevent any downtime when we re-wrote our Windows-based recording software to that of a Linux system. The results have been phenomenal – not a single machine has been down since installation and we have quite literally saved in the region of R2 000 per machine.\”

Each agent machine is installed with a copy of Linux and a KDE interface with a limited set of icons. Jacobson says that each machine includes the Firefox browser for interacting with the backend systems, a notepad type application and the required call logging software.

He says the was no significant learning curve in switching users to Linux and most of the agents quickly adapted to the new system.

BRS is owned by a consortium of shareholders and was established to identify and recover unclaimed monies that lie in financial service companies, find untraced beneficiaries to ensure appropriate distribution and assist pension and provident fund trustees, fund administrators and former members.

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