Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Transformation of Call Accounting Software

Call accounting software is a system that records, translates and reports on telephone call activity. The software is used by most corporations to control expenses, allocate cost and increase productivity. Call accounting generally recieves Station Message Detail Records (SMDR) or Call Detail Records (CDR) from a telephone system through any of various protocls including serial, IP and file transfer.

SMDR is a feature that is available for most telephone systems and IP PBXs. The data is generally a system log of call traffic which includes call direction, date and time of the call, length of call, extension and trunk or line. There are various other pieces of information such as authorization code and account code that may be optionally available depending on the capability of the hardware. The raw or unprocessed SMDR output of the telephone system is often too volumous and difficult to read.

A call accounting software packages utilizes SMDR data and translate the information into a simplified database format for further analysis. The data is often presented in graphical, detailed or summary reports by extension, departments or other corporate levels.

The cost of a telephone call has been steadily decreasing with the introduction of peer to peer free calling, flat rate plans and bundled services. One dimensional call accounting software packages that historically focused on telephone tracking and expense management have transformed themselves into comprehensive browser based communication management systems (CMS). These systems include extension, line, operator, auto attendant, ACD, IVR, voice mail and other facility traffic.The ability to track call duration, call distribution, ring time, hold time and call queues has allowed leading communication management systems to analyze and measure productivity.

Toll fraud analysis remains a component of most major CMS systems. However, there now exist new threats in bandwidth hacking which can result in poor performance for VoIP traffic, security breach and network shutdown. New CMS systems pinpoint irregularities, bottlenecks and network overflows and suggest recommended corrective action.

Many organizations are taking steps in migrating their old analog equipment to modern day VoIP services. Call accounting software is a key component in wading through difficult implementation decisions by analyzing concrete historical data. Call accounting software will remain at the forefront for many years to come as adoption of VoIP facilities and services continues to explode(see The Legacy PBX).

According to Infonetics Research, annual revenue in the combined PBX market is forecast to grow to $11.4 billion in 2009, driven by strong IP PBX sales worldwide as more organizations move to voice over IP. Between 2005 and 2009, IP PBX revenue is forecast to jump 82% while TDM revenue plunges 88%.

Rito Salomone is President of Resource Software International Ltd. (RSI). To contact the author, please email

RSI is recognized as an industry leader in the field of communication management. The communication management product portfolio includes tailored integration to the most popular switching and network manufactures. RSI has been granted Nortel Developer Partner status with recognition for its core portfolio as Compatible Products. RSI is a Cisco Technology Partner, Siemens HiPath Ready Standard certified, Avaya DeveloperConnect Member, Mitel MiSN Member, Adtran Complementary Solutions Provider, NEC Univerge Partner and Alcatel Applications Partner.

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