Crazy stories from CTI troubleshooting


Granted, many CTI professionals have wild stories about their implementations which may closely resemble those stories from any IT worker. But I must say that in the world of CTI where computing and telecom collide, the stories may just seem a tad bit wilder (or weirder).

Here are some things I’d run into in the past:

  • I’d created a simple VisualBasic application to facilitate a screen-pop on a Windows platform. During the first day of production, the client complained about some desktops taking forever to get a screen-pop. We’re talking about maybe two PCs out of a hundred in the contact center. Being the open-minded programmer that I am, I checked against the version of my VB app — all was well. Then I looked at the CTI parameters — no problems there. Now grasping straws, I wandered into the telephony environment — nothing suspicious. So being almost of out ideas, I requested a PC to be re-imaged in order to start from a clean slate and get a baseline working system. The IT administrator was cooperative and spent half a day re-installing the OS, loading applications, and applying latest patches. The re-imaged PC,  loaded with the screen-pop app, worked flawlessly. But before I demanded the problem PCs to be re-imaged as well, I resorted to a final “stare and compare” of a problem system vs. a working system. As it turned out, the problem systems were all behind on the Microsoft Outlook patches, whereas the rest of the working PCs had Outlook patched up-to-date. (And no, my app did not have any dependency to Outlook. To this day I’m still baffled. That’s why I use a Mac!)
  • This particular health insurance client was close to going berserk because the IVR would randomly crap out (yes, that’s a technical term). My team and I worked countless hours perusing log files and optimizing the application and monitoring the platform resources in hopes to determine the root cause. After a couple of weeks without any breakthrough, I was dispatched to the client site to get a better grasp of the situation. Luckily the client was somewhat happier that a body was on-site to fix the problem. Unfortunately, as I entered the server room — and I use that term loosely — I immediately realized a theory: it’s friggin’ hot in here! The room felt like a sauna and the client had situated the IVR in a push cart without proper ventilation. The system was randomly shutting down because it’d gotten too hot for the CPU to operate!
  • Our project team was going about our normal IVR and CTI development tasks one day when all of a sudden a team member alerted everyone that his test calls suddenly stopped working. And as consultants that meant we’d better triple-check our end of things before pointing fingers because in this business you’re guilty until proven innocent. As I was checking some prerequisite configuration files for the IVR, I noticed them disappearing from my Explorer window right before my eyes. Quickly we opened a conference bridge to get the client staff and ourselves together to troubleshoot this phenomena. We were able to find a login ID as the culprit who was deleting these files — an ID belonging to a client member. He embarrassingly admitted that he deleted the files in the mapped folder because he’d gotten an internal IT email alerting him of being over his file storage quota and had mistaken the mapped folder as his own. Mystery solved and thankfully, we had good backups of these configuration files.

I’m sure there are a few more that I just cannot remember at the moment. Maybe for another post in the future. In the meantime, do you have any to share?

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