Tag Archives: Professional Teledata

Startel and Professional Teledata Successfully Complete HIPAA Assessment

Irvine, CA—June 11, 2018—Startel and Professional Teledata, leading providers of contact center solutions, today announced that the companies successfully completed their Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) assessment. This marks Startel’s fourth and Professional Teledata’s first assessment for HIPAA compliance and reinforces the companies’ commitment to protecting consumer data and privacy.

SecurityMetrics, a global leader in data security and compliance, performed the third-party compliance assessment. Following an evaluation of Startel and Professional Teledata’s office locations, data centers and software solutions, it was determined that the companies implemented policies and procedures to fulfill its obligations under HIPAA and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). Both companies received scores of 100 percent for compliance posture of administrative, physical and technical safeguards as well as organizational requirements.

“We are thrilled with this year’s compliance achievements,” said Startel, Professional Teledata and Alston Tascom President and CEO, Brian Stewart. “HIPAA security and compliance are top priorities for us. We look forward to continuing to deliver contact center solutions and services that help our customers grow their business and safeguard electronic protected health information.”

“Startel and Professional Teledata successfully implemented policies, procedures and safeguards designed to comply with HIPAA,” said Brand Barney, Senior HIPAA Security Analyst at SecurityMetrics. “Throughout the audit, we took into account the size, capabilities, cost and probability of risk when evaluating the security measures implemented by Startel and Professional Teledata.”

The full HIPAA report is available to customers upon request. The companies will also sign Business Associate Agreements with clients who require HIPAA compliance. Next year’s audit will include an assessment of Alston Tascom’s operating environment, data center and solutions.

StartelStartel, Professional Teledata and Alston Tascom are leading providers of unified communications, business process automation, and performance management solutions and services. With a combined ninety plus years of experience, the companies have established a loyal customer base in healthcare, contact centers and a dozen additional industries. Startel, Professional Teledata, and Alston Tascom leverage their unique solutions and industry knowledge to empower organizations to improve agent productivity, reduce operating costs and increase revenues. For more information, call 949.863.8776 or visit www.startel.com.

Startel Announces Unified Product Advisory Board

StartelStartel, Professional Teledata, and Alston Tascom announced the members of the company’s unified product advisory board (PAB). The twelve individuals selected represent each of the company’s three user groups: TeamSNUG, PINetwork, and TUG. Their primary responsibility is to provide input related to the company’s strategic product planning.

Startel, Professional Teledata, and Alston Tascom will work with the unified board to help set future product direction. Feedback generated from the PAB will assist the company in building the next generation of products. The following members will serve on the 2018–020 unified PAB:

  • Ryan Ambs, Ambs Call Center, Jackson, MI
  • Kevin Bachelder, Ansaphone Services, Quincy, MA
  • Luis Bedoya, Answering Service Care, Margate, FL
  • Matt Bogan, King’s Telemessaging, Shreveport, LA
  • Kristal Fye, Ace Answering Service, State College, PA
  • Ken Goldenberg, Direct Line Tele Response, Berkeley, CA
  • Jodi Gregory, Clementine, Harper Woods, MI
  • Peter Gross, Sunshine Communication Services, Inc, Coral Gables, FL
  • April Kasza, Allgood Communications, Inc., Pueblo, CO
  • Ray Shaw, Business & Professional Exchange, Beverly, MA
  • John Vaughn, Honest Answering, LLC, Houston, TX
  • Jeffrey Wood, Contact One Call Center, Tucson, AZ

“Our vision for the PAB is to have customers share how they are using our products in the real world and the three companies to share with PAB members our current plans and future directions,” said Brian Stewart, President and CEO of Startel, Professional Teledata, and Alston Tascom. “We are thrilled with the amount of interest we have had in this program and are very pleased with the members who have been selected to assist us in building our unified contact center platform.”

Overseeing the board is Wayne Scaggs, director of corporate strategy. The unified PAB will meet three times during the next twelve months.

Call Center Vendors Launch Marketing Resources Center

Startel, Professional Teledata, and Alston Tascom launched their new marketing resources center, making custom-branded promotional materials available to their customers. The marketing resources center is a web-based repository housing a variety of promotional videos, flyers, infographics, and user guides that can be branded for use by the companies’ clients to promote the solutions and services provided by their telephone answering service, call center, or contact center.

The digital collateral is designed to assist with promoting the key features and benefits of stand-alone solutions such as Secure Messaging Plus, Secure Messaging Gateway, IntelliSite Web Portal, The Payment Portal, and more. “We are excited to offer this needed and value-added service to our customers,” said Startel, Professional Teledata, and Alston Tascom president and CEO, Brian Stewart. “One of the requests that I have personally heard from our customers is for us to help them sell their services and to provide them with tools to assist them in doing so.” The marketing resources center can be accessed directly by visiting shop.startel.com.

StartelFor more information, call 949-863-8776 or visit www.startel.com

Startel, Professional Teledata, & Alston Tascom Unify Brand; Revamp Website

Startel, Professional Teledata, and Alston Tascom revealed their new unified brand to users of all three of the companies’ software platforms at their first combined user group conference in Denver, Colorado.

The new branding follows the 2015 merger of Startel and Professional Teledata and the subsequent September 2017 merger with Alston Tascom. These moves further expand the companies’ product offerings, broaden markets, and enhance technical resources and expertise.

The new brand is visually represented by uniting all three company logos and includes the addition of “Powered by Startel” to the Professional Teledata and Alston Tascom logos.

In conjunction with the new visual branding, content previously found on the three separate company websites is now located on a revamped and unified site, startel.com. The website includes all company product information, a timeline of the combined company history, an overview of the three user groups, and a newsroom of compiled press releases and news features.

The website also includes access to a new self-service customer portal called The Customer Spot, allowing clients of all three companies to open and track cases, access a knowledge base of product information, and order co-branded marketing resources.

Startel“We were thrilled to reveal the new branding to our clients at our first ever combined user group conference,” said Startel, Professional Teledata, and Alston Tascom President and CEO, Brian Stewart. “We have been making great strides working together as a unified company to enhance the user experience and improve our product offerings and services. This new look will go a long way to reinforce and communicate our efforts.”

Alan Hartmann Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Alan Hartmann, director of software development for Professional Teledata, received the Maryann Wetmore Lifetime Achievement Award. Hartmann was presented with the award on June 29 during the awards dinner gala at the Association of Teleservices International (ATSI) 2017 Annual Conference.

The Maryann Wetmore Lifetime Achievement Award, developed in 2014, is the highest-ranking award from ATSI. Named in honor of industry leader, Maryann Wetmore, this award is presented to individuals who make significant industry contributions.

“Alan is a relentless advocate for our industry,” said ATSI president Doug Robbins. “His receipt of the Maryann Wetmore Lifetime Achievement Award is well deserved, and we thank him for his contributions.” Hartmann has forty years of software engineering experience. He oversees all product development of the Professional Teledata product line.

“Being honored with this award is deeply meaningful to me. I have been fortunate to have spent so many years working in a business and industry that I love,” said Hartmann. “To receive this recognition from my peers who share a common passion and commitment and to be included among esteemed past recipients that I greatly admire and respect, is quite humbling.”

Professional Teledata Announces New Online Payment Processing Solution

Professional Teledata launched ThePaymentPortal.com, its new payment processing option for its Total Billing Solution 3 (TBS3) software. The solution was unveiled earlier this month during the annual PINetwork User Group Meeting in Miami, Florida.

ThePaymentPortal.com is a hosted, online, secure e-commerce site that customers’ clients can log into at their convenience to manage their account. Through a partnership with QOS Merchant Solutions, Professional Teledata offers this optional feature to users wanting to view account statements, invoices, and traffic history and to pay bills online. ThePaymentPortal.com incorporates several features designed to optimize the user experience: A secure and simple way for clients’ end users to manage account and pay bills online. Click To Tweet

  • Easy Account Management: End users can access and download invoices and view traffic statistics from their account. Users now maintain the administration of their accounts, including registration and passwords.
  • Custom Branding: Accounts can be branded with company logo, colors, and contact information.
  • Strong Encryption: Communication with the website and data at rest is strongly encrypted to resist any potential data breaches.
  • Flexible Payment Options: Payments can be made via credit card or electronic check, depending on TBS3 users’ preferred merchant account configuration.

Professional Teledata staff monitor and maintain the web server, saving users from having to dedicate in-house IT resources.

“ThePaymentPortal.com provides a secure and simple way for our clients’ end users to manage their accounts and pay bills online,” said Alan Hartmann, director of software development for Professional Teledata. “We are excited to offer the marketplace with our new payment solution and a more convenient way to do business.”

ThePaymentPortal.com will be available in July 2017; Professional Teledata is taking pre-orders now for installation in July. To place an order, or for pricing or system requirement information, contact Sales at sales@proteledata.com.

Ruminations on Cloud-Based Contact Center Technologies

By William Lane

There has been much press about Amazon Connect, a self-service cloud-based contact center solution offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). There was a huge protest on various industry listservs about how this might affect the various business models of vendors and users within the telephone answering service (TAS), contact center, and related industries. When considering new information, it is best to take a deep breath, step back, and consider a broader view of the situation to evaluate the impact.

The purpose of this article is not to analyze Amazon Connect or other online cloud-based services currently available from other vendors, but instead to present some observations I believe are applicable to determine if this new offering, or any other much-touted cloud-based contact center service, is relevant to you and your business. I will ask pertinent questions to focus on what you may or may not need from your chosen technology vendor. To do so, I am going to assume you are in the business of servicing your customers’ clients from a TAS or contact center perspective.

First, does speed matter when interacting with your customers’ clients? This question is key to understand whether a particular cloud-based solution suits your business needs. Amazon Connect and many other cloud-based services utilize WebRTC exclusively. With WebRTC, the effective solution is completely browser-based. A solely browser-based solution means that the provider has implemented a mouse-driven versus a keyboard-driven business model. While this may be acceptable for many businesses, the impact is no shortcut keys or macros, resulting in a loss of efficiency and speed for agent-client interactions.

Second, is your business transaction-heavy? In a browser-based environment, the transactional logic resides on the cloud-based server. If your business model calls for intensive usage of message-scripting transactions, the agent is going to initiate commands via the Internet to a database server located at another destination numerous times per client contact. Even if there is an acceptable level of latencywhich often there is not due to Internet connectivity issues—efficiency will suffer. This may be why few cloud-based solutions include message-scripting functionality.

Third, does your company have in-house professional services staff? If not, who will develop the necessary third-party integrations and additional features and functionality you need to differentiate yourself from your competition? Amazon Connect, and many other cloud-based contact center solutions, provide only self-service solutions. They may or may not offer tools you can use to build unique offerings for your customers. Therefore, it will be necessary for someone to utilize the provided tools to create the solutions that will attract customers to you as opposed to your competitors. Does utilizing a one-size-fits-all cloud-based solution, where price may be the only differentiator available to you in a global market, square with your business model? Does speed matter when interacting with your customers’ clients? Click To Tweet

Fourth, would your business model tolerate multiple hours of periodic downtime? It is no secret that AWS, the backbone for the new Amazon Connect service, has gone down several times over the last twelve months. The February 28, 2017, outage affected some customers for nearly eight hours. Many cloudbased providers make no guarantees of uptime in their service level agreements (SLAs). It is simply not an imperative element of their self-service business model.

Fifth, does your business model require validated HIPAA compliance? Many cloud-based solutions, including Amazon Connect, do not address HIPAA compliance. They do not provide proof of annual HIPAA assessments, audits, and the resultant scores provided by third-party auditing firms. Many cloud-based solutions leave all compliance adherence to the user and absolve themselves from any regulatory responsibility by claiming they are merely conduits providing a service, thus leaving you to fight the regulatory battles.

Ensuring that your business model matches your chosen vendor’s business model is imperative to achieving business success. If HIPAA compliance, platform reliability and robustness, third-party integrations, customized features and functionality, and agent speed are important to your business model, then many of the oft-hyped cloud-based contact center solutions available may not be for you.

William Lane has nearly forty years of experience in customer service and software development. He is president and CEO of Startel and Professional Teledata.

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John Freire Recognized with Allen Kalik Award

John Freire of Direct Line Tele Response received the 2016 Allen Kalik Award. The announcement was made during the annual PINetwork User Group Meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire. The Allen Kalik Award was implemented in 2011 after the passing of industry leader and Professional Teledata’s late president, Allen Kalik. Honoring Allen, this award recognizes individuals whose unselfish dedication and leadership have led to the advancement of PIN.

“It was a personal honor and pleasure to be able to present the Allen Kalik award to John Freire,” said Phyllis Shaw, education committee chair of the PINetwork User Group. “John gives so much of his time to our group and is always available to share his knowledge with us. He is someone who thinks outside the box, and pushes us all to the next level.”

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Freire. “Allen was always giving back to PIN and eager to share his expertise and knowledge with anyone who was interested in learning.” Freire is the IT director at Direct Line Tele Response.

Professional Teledata Announces Commercial Grade SMS Solution

Professional Teledata announced the launch of its enhanced short message service solution, PInnacle cloud SMS. The new, cloud-based text messaging solution is commercial grade, developed specifically for the high volume, high availability usage requirements demanded by customers.

The PInnacle cloud SMS solution enables users to communicate with clients faster, and with higher throughput, via text messaging. Throughput and availability are achieved by maintaining direct connections to major wireless carriers that are not subject to rate limits, monthly usage thresholds, or cell towers. Now, PInnacle Cloud SMS users can easily and reliably exchange messages each month without worrying about service interruptions or rate limiting. Key features of the PInnacle cloud SMS solution include: 100 percent software-based, fully redundant system, built-in disaster recovery, and comprehensive reporting.

“Since installing the PInnacle cloud SMS solution, we have had no service interruptions for our customers,” said Ken Goldenberg, president of Direct Line Tele Response. “The process to move customers to the new system was seamless and simple. The tight integration with our existing PInnacle system was well executed and we are now experiencing much faster delivery times and delivery responses.”

“We are thrilled to offer our customers with an enhanced, commercial grade SMS solution,” said Jim Graham, director of special operations for Professional Teledata. “By leveraging Startel’s current SMS infrastructure, we are able to provide our PInnacle customers with a more robust text messaging solution that meets their clients’ expanding needs and enables them to focus on growing their business.”

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for Connections Magazine, a contact center publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

Angelo Celesia Receives the 2015 Allen Kalik Award

Professional Teledata announced Angelo Celesia as the 2015 Allen Kalik Award recipient. The announcement was made during the annual PIN user group meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Allen Kalik Award was implemented in 2011 after the passing of industry leader and Professional Teledata’s late president, Allen Kalik. Honoring Allen for his tremendous contributions to the telecommunications industry and the PINetwork Group, this award recognizes individuals whose unselfish dedication and leadership have led to the advancement of the PINetwork group.

“We are thrilled to recognize Angelo with the 2015 Allen Kalik Award,” said Pat Kalik, director of customer relations for Professional Teledata. “Angelo truly embodies the award, and everything that it stands for. We thank him for his time, dedication, and continuing commitment to our organization.”

“It is an honor to receive this award,” said Angelo. “Allen tirelessly devoted himself the TAS industry and the PINetwork. I am humbled to be included among such esteemed company.” In 2013, Angelo served as president of the PINetwork board of directors. Angelo is also an avid runner and coaches cross-country running for a local middle school.

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for Connections Magazine, a contact center publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]