Monday, 9a.m., New York City, in a publishing house, the phone lines are going crazy. Cindy, a phone operator at the publishing house is stressed. The just released novel of one of their top selling authors keeps book sellers around the world calling in and ordering more.
It’s winter time, 15% of staff in Sales is sick, others busy in meetings. Cindy keeps checking her printed Excel list she prepared last night before leaving home. A list that shows who is attending meetings at what time today, who is sick, etc. Preparing the list took her more than 45 minutes last night, going through every calendar in Outlook.
Monica is calling her on line 4: “Hey Cindy, sorry, but I can’t come to work today, I’ve had high fever all night long and can hardly talk.” “Ok, I’ll let your manager know”, says Cindy, “get better soon, sorry all my lines are ringing”. She hangs up and crosses out Monica for the day on her list.
Having to talk to customers on the phone and at the same time keep checking the clock, her Excel list, to see who is available to transfer calls to is very stressful and inefficient. Plus, ad-hoc meetings that staff didn’t plan yesterday are not showing on her printed Excel list, which makes transferring calls a nightmare, as people who should be available according to her list are not answering the phone.
Exhausted, she asks Paul, the IT guy, at lunch-break if there really isn’t an easier way to see where people are and who is available. He tells her “Not that I know of, but I’ll check if there is a third party tool that would do the job”.
Paul googles and finds AgendaX, the “web-based group calendaring solution for Microsoft Exchange and Outlook”. He launches the Online Demo and finds the “who is where?” view, a view that shows only meetings currently in place. “Wow, that’s exactly what Cindy needs” he thinks. A menu drop down lets him also select departments, to show only people in Sales for example, and a wealth of other views like weekly and monthly views is available as well. Paul thinks that the whole company could benefit from a tool like AgendaX, because it makes it real simple to see who is available at what time to schedule meetings. He clicks on the ‘Holiday’ category filter in the yearly view and immediately sees a holiday calendar of a department.
Two weeks later, AgendaX is in place at the publishing house. It automatically reads the Outlook calendars of company staff and publishes easy to read overviews of when people are busy or out of the office.
Cindy has trashed her Excel availability sheets and now relies on the “Who is Where?” view of AgendaX. She sees at a glance who is in a meeting, sick, out of office, or otherwise unavailable and can transfer calls immediately to people that are available.
When people call in sick, she simply clicks on the users calendar in AgendaX and books him an all-day event, categorized as “Sick”, so that everyone in the whole company knows that person is not in the office for the day. She can even do this without having write- permission to all of the calendars in the company. Thanks to AgendaX, the all-day event is synchronized with Outlook and also people not using AgendaX can see the changed free/busy information when they schedule a meeting in Outlook.
AgendaX brings many benefits to organizations, including:
- Saves time booking meetings.
- Allows employees to be quickly located at any point in time.
- Helps use expensive resources, such as meeting rooms, more efficiently.
- Leverages the organization’s investment in Outlook.
- Aids team working and resource allocation to improve customer service.