It all started with a few bugs! But not with the system, of course. If you have had the pleasure of meeting the former owner and president of Professional Teleda, Allen Kalik, there's a good chance that you have heard the "Ban the Bug" story that was the catalyst for what has grown to be the Professional Teledata product lineup. As the owner of one of the largest answering services in New England, Allen wasn't about to pass up an opportunity for new business. But he had one big challenge: his new business opportunities demanded the ability to grow significantly and quickly and his existing system prevented him from doing that. When the good folks with Ban the Bug (an order entry account that sold bracelets intended to ward off pesky mosquitoes) asked if he could handle their account, Allen decided that his current software just wasn't going to cut it any more. This simple order entry account inspired the creation of PI-2000 which changed the TAS business model of North America.
When Allen realized that there was no system on the market that could truly perform the way he needed in order effectively run his business, he turned to Jim Graham for help programming the first logical scripting software, to Dale Schafer, former vice president of professional teledata, for his telephony experience and to Pat Kalik for her vast business experience to assist in the development of the product. PI-2000 was born from this dynamic team.
The result? Easy as PI!
PI-2000 was a trendsetter using a simple philosophy that, whenever possible, next actions should be automatically performed for agents rather than the system simply giving instructions on what to do next. This philosophy applied through this new system introduced a variety of new and improved feature for Executive Exchange to operate more efficiently and, more importantly, more profitably.
Although the product was initially built for Executive Exchange, other TAS owners and operators urged Allen and his team to make the product commercially available. The first PI-2000 system was delivered soon after and Professional Inbound was born. The product was introduced to a waiting public at the 1993 ATSI Convention in Chicago where it made an instant impact on the TAS industry.
Within a few years, more than one hundred PI-2000 systems comprised of over 2,000 workstations could be found across North America. Allen continued to expand his own answering service, growing to over 100 PI-2000 workstations and more than 400 employees before he sold the business in 1998. Meanwhile, the PI-2000 system rapidly progressed and became the industry standard for order entry with "screen-pop" interfaces written for every major TAS equipment manufacturer. The Professional Inbound team quickly became known for their great product, and for the tasty pies they always had on hand.
While Allen Kalik and his team were busy operating their answering service and developing the earliest versions of the PI-2000 product, Alan Hartmann was concurrently developing the B/CS billing program with his team at Tele-Data Systems. The B/CS billing program, predecessor to today's Total Billing System (TBS), was designed to run on the earliest microcomputers and quickly filled the need of TAS owners across North America.
In addition to developing the billing system, Tele-Data Systems also created waves in the industry in the early 1990's with the introduction of the Fax Message Delivery System (FMDS). This system was revolutionary to the business, because it introduced unheard-of automated delivery of messages to TAS clients via fax, freeing operators to do what they do best. In the years that followed, more than 400 billing systems and over 600 FMDS systems were installed in TAS operations across four continents.
Professional Inbound & Tele-Data Systems...
... A Lot in Common!
As two industry leaders, Allen Kalik and Alan Hartmann had a lot more in common than the same first name. The two Allen/Alan's first met in 1985 when Executive Exchange purchased one of the first B/CS systemsand participated in the early testing of the FMDS, ultimately acquiring several systems. Over the years, in their respective roles of developer/supplier and tester/user, they developed an efficient professional relationship that quickly became one of friendship.
With a shared sense of direction, corporate philosophy and products that complimented one another, the merger of the two companies was natural. Both companies were driven by the desire to improve efficiencies across the TAS industry. Both companies were committed to both their employees and their clients and to continuously improve the products and services that they offered. And while Professional Inbound handled the scripting software, Tele-Data Systems offered the billing and message delivery suite. Combined, they would quite simply offer the best software solution in the industry.
In 1997 the two companies merged, combining forces to create Professional Teledata.
Easier than PI and far more enriching
As the combined efforts took root, Professional Teledata quickly became an unrivaled technological innovator and built the reputation to support it. With no hesitation for customization, enhancements, improvements and upgrades the PI-2000 product continued to lead the industry as the premiere scripting software. The B/CS product grew to what is now known as the Total Billing Solution, providing an innovative Windows based application that was easier for users. And FMDS grew to deliver messages in a variety of other formats other than just faxing.
But the team was cooking up something new.
They wanted peak performance and a suite of products that would provide a turnkey solution for their clients.
The PInnacle Telemessaging System was soon born. PInnacle incorporated the scripting and order entry program developed as PI-2000. The team then added TAS messaging and dispatch features, the military-grade eOn digital switch, and uncommon flexibility as a database oriented system. And they topped it off by significantly reducing agent training time from months to as little as three days. Pair that with the rest of the Professional Teledata lineup and you've got a SWEET suite of products from the leading vendor in the industry.
Professional Teledata & Startel...
On September 2, 2015, Professional Teledata and Startel Corporation announced that the two companies had merged. While the news of the merger may have come as a surprise to the telephone answering service industry, it was a natural fit for two of the industry’s leading providers who shared many strengths and very similar philosophies and cultures. In addition, the companies have a relationship that dates back more than 30 years, serving the telephone answering service (TAS) industry and many of the same customers.
The synergy of joining forces expands our product offerings and allows the combined company to go after broader markets and better challenge our competitors in the TAS and contact center industries. The merger also expands our North American presence. Both offices, located in Manchester, New Hampshire and Irvine, CA will remain open with no plans to close. Combining companies also adds a breadth of knowledge and experience to our Senior Management Team, which has collectively over 117 years of experience in the TAS/contact center industry!