British Telecom needed IT solutions in various areas. The projects featured Business Intelligence and during the years 1999-2003, Cody Middlebrook worked on four projects for British Telecom. In an interview, Cody Middlebrook discusses with Rajen Jani about the four projects of British Telecom.
FIRST PROJECT (1999)
British Telecom needed an Advanced Call Data Billing Analysis.
Cody worked on the solution starting from conception to development to implementation.
RJ: Right from the very beginning to the last stage, you were involved in this project.
RJ: Which technologies did you use for this solution?
CM: A detailed analytical system was developed in Visual Basic 6, Access 97 and Object orientated billing solution that integrated Attachmate Extra emulation and DDE.
RJ: It was an award-winning solution?
CM: Yes, it got an award. It became one of the most used desktop applications for bill comparisons, saving BT customers hundreds of pounds in having incorrect calling plans.
British Telecom, due to the efforts of Cody Middlebrook was benefited by obtaining an award-winning solution that fulfilled their need, of an advanced call data billing analysis. The incorrect calling plans were identified and this saved them a large sum of money.
SECOND PROJECT (2000)
British Telecom needed a Customer Service Queuing & Reporting System.
Cody developed an Oracle Web DB solution for BT Intranet and Customer Services.
RJ: What were the technologies you used for this project?
RJ: How was the queuing and reporting done?
CM: The solution was used to log BT complaints and to have these complaints queued for Customer Service to sort. The system took advantage of the Oracle workflow element and email facilities.
British Telecom benefited by obtaining a Web based solution which solved their need for a customer service queuing & reporting system.
THIRD PROJECT (2001-2003)
Compliance is very strict in the telecommunications industry, as non-compliant accounts revoke the telecommunication license. British Telecom needed a Compliance software that would address this issue and ensure that no non-compliant accounts were in their system.
Cody developed a compliance software that did not allow any non-compliant accounts. This software was so effective that it won Cody an award for it.
RJ: How did this project begin?
CM: At that time I was a Mainframe screen scraper and wrote robotic scrapers to identify non compliant accounts. I discovered a flaw in their system and found non-complaint accounts. I then automated the capture of these accounts everyday and put them into a new system called Juliette. A team was formed to oversee this system and was called the Juliette Compliance Team. I was the founder of the project. This system went on to save the company its license and won myself an award.
RJ: Great! Can you tell more about the Juliette Compliance Team?
CM: Well, This was a full project and a Juliette Compliance Team was built for managing the software and its findings. The findings were mainly with the volume of errors. This was unexpected. But BT had a very complex billing and product system. This was the reason they had so many non-compliant accounts.
RJ: Can you recollect any error?
CM: As an example, they had a product called Friends and Family. This allowed you to nominate a set of regularly called numbers to get a discount. You could have this product and another product that conflicted in the rules causing one not to work. So you would not get your discount on the nominated numbers, causing a non-compliant account. There were many different product combinations that could go wrong. OFCOM, the regulatory authority would audit the accounts and call data records and calculate the bill randomly. If they found that BT’s calculations were wrong they would revoke BT’s license. Due to this solution, no non-compliant account was found.
RJ: How did you find leading the Juliette Compliance Team?
CM: I led a team of Juliette users and software developers. C#, ASP, .NET developers and perl script writers for mainframe data extractions. I found the amount of accounts to get through tough. The volumes were large and we had limited time to fix them. The system was smart enough to identify if the account came back the next day after being fixed. This would indicate the user had issues fixing the account and could need extra training on the software. I could also mine the data to find trends in offending user entry. These accounts could be non-complaint because of a training issue and not a software flaw.
RJ: That’s excellent. The management must be very pleased with your efforts.
CM: Yes, I got an award.
RJ: And a certainly well deserved one. Which technologies did you use to develop the system?
CM: The system was developed in ASP and SQL Server 2000 DTS packages to import mainframe extracts and warehouse. I used Advanced T-SQL and business logic was used to distribute the data to different areas of BT. Also, robotic emulation solutions were developed using VB.NET with complex business rules, to take control of Attachmate extra to fix non-compliant accounts quickly. The business objects were written into DLLs using VB6 and COM+ was used to manage these objects. I used Crystal Reports and Middle Tier Development with VB, .NET, COM+. Other technologies used were SQL Server 2000, SQL DTS, VB .NET, ASP, VB Script, and Data Warehousing.
The outstanding efforts of Cody Middlebrook created a highly efficient compliance software for British Telecom. All the non-compliant accounts in the British Telecom system were identified and appropriately addressed. The award winning compliance system saved the company a large sum, in manpower costs and non-compliant account fees being lost.
FOURTH PROJECT (2003)
British Telecom needed an intranet solution that would nationally recognise fraud and vandalism.
A solution called “Sherlock” was developed by the British Telecom Security Department.
RJ: How the solution developed?
CM: I worked within the BT Security Department and developed a system called Sherlock that identified patterns of fraud nationally. The system would pin point hotspots within the UK from fraud to vandalism and criminal damage.
RJ: Which technologies did you use?
CM: Technologies used were Crystal Reports, C#.NET, ASP.NET, SQL Server 2000, SQL DTS, VB6, UNIX, and Data Warehousing. The system was designed to automatically upload multiple feeds from different platforms including UNIX with DTS packages, in order to distribute the fraud and vandalism cases into queues. The graphic designs for logos etc. were produced in Adobe Photoshop 7. The fraud reports where developed using Crystal Reports. Middle Tier Development was with C#, COM+.
RJ: So, your association with British Telecom was for a long period and you undertook four projects for them. It must have been a very satisfying experience.
CM: Yes, it was great.
RJ: Well, thank you so much Cody for giving your precious time. It was a pleasure to interview you.
CM: Thank you Rajen.
An intranet solution “Sherlock” that would nationally recognise fraud and vandalism, was developed by the British Telecom Security Department. The contribution of Cody Middlebrook was highly applauded.
For images, technical drawings and further information:
1. Cody Middlebrook (email@example.com)