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One form to rule them all....

By Andrew Pollack on 07/16/2008 at 10:29 PM EDT

I've just completed a major piece of automation work for Second Signal. When I add a new department, there are quite a few things that have to get set up. Asterisk has to be configured with connection information for the remote software. Access groups have to be created. Time zone information looked up and entered in. Scripts for managing audio files need to be updated. Directories on the Linux file system have to be created, telephone numbers have to be linked to the right audio data locations. Pager message labels have to be tied to the department registration forms.

Forgetting any of those pieces will delay the launch of a new department.

As of this afternoon, I'm able to do absolutely all of the configuration for Domino and Asterisk by filling in a single Lotus Notes based form. The right groups are created, login ID's are generated for the software and set up in Domino and in Asterisk, telephone numbers are linked to directories of audio data, all the directories needed are created, all the bash script files are updated, and essentially the site is ready to launch.

Steps to launch a new department on Second Signal:

1. (5 minutes work) Trade paperwork (customer agreement form)

2. (5 minutes work) Assign Telephone number (via my service provider's web site)

3. (5 minutes work) Fill out configuration form in Lotus Notes.

4. (1 hour work) Help on site person configure the relay software (or send a preconfigured thin client PC if they've ordered one from me)

5. (5 minutes work) Distribute "welcome kit" with instructions for the user base.

This level of automation is critical to what I'm trying to do with Second Signal, and while it could be done with other tools, its really Lotus Domino as a server platform that gives me the combination of power and functionality to really make it mesh perfectly.

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