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On-call rotation phone service
November 17, 2010 9:10 AM   Subscribe

I work on a group of 11 developers. Our operations folks work 24/7, and occasionally servers go down or things break and a developer needs to be on-call to support these things. We have an 800 number that forwards to the on-call engineer's cell phone (rotated weekly semi-predictably) and has a centralized voicemail for missed calls. Unfortunately, our current service is a pain to configure and only supports a maximum of 10 forwarding numbers. Do you guys know of any services out there that would do something like what we're doing? I'm not sure what we're paying now, but it's probably under $100 a month.
posted by Plutor to Work & Money (9 answers total)
 
Google Voice number that forwards to whoever's phone? You can set schedules as to when certain phones will ring or not ring, there's a voicemail component that can forward to email when it comes in, and it's free.
posted by deezil at 9:21 AM on November 17, 2010


We investigated Google Voice, but the scheduling is really simple. It looks like for each number, you can just set what times it will ring between. I don't think we can rotate weekly without going in every week and changing the forwarding number.
posted by Plutor at 9:40 AM on November 17, 2010


Have you investigated competitors to your current service? Maybe one of them is just as difficult to configure but allows up to 20 numbers.
posted by rhizome at 10:00 AM on November 17, 2010


That's true, Plutor. I (wrongly) assumed that the rotation was set for the same times every week for the same people. Apologies.
posted by deezil at 11:07 AM on November 17, 2010


You could script this up pretty easily (and cheaply) with Twilio.
posted by jenkinsEar at 11:30 AM on November 17, 2010


Do you have your own PBX or ACD lines aside from the 800#? You might be able to set up call forwarding that way.
posted by boo_radley at 2:39 PM on November 17, 2010


I work on a 14-person service desk, and we have an on-call bag that gets passed to whoever is on duty. The bag has a cell phone and charger, laptop, and a binder that includes a call log and some instructions for resolving the most common problems. The bag is handed off each Monday at work.

This works for us because we don't have to mess around with the call forwarding and it allows us to trade on-call weeks with each other as needed. All we have to worry about is getting the bag to the right person. We aren't issued laptops -- because we have to do a physical hand-off of the computer anyways, it's easiest for us to just have a dedicated on-call cell phone in the same bag.
posted by scarnato at 8:01 PM on November 17, 2010


You're devs. Write a script to log onto google voice once a week and change the forward number.
posted by markr at 3:23 AM on November 18, 2010


jenkinsEar: "You could script this up pretty easily (and cheaply) with Twilio."
markr: "You're devs. Write a script to log onto google voice once a week and change the forward number."

That's a possibility, but we're not big fans of NIH. If we can find a service that's better than our current one, then we'd rather let other people handle the hard part. The same reason we use Zimbra and Jira and so forth. We could have written our own..

boo_radley: "Do you have your own PBX or ACD lines aside from the 800#? You might be able to set up call forwarding that way."

The PBX is ancient. There are plans to include an upgrade on the 2012 budget (we'll be hitting the upper limit of what our current hardware can handle), but until then, I need to login every couple of weeks and juggle the phone numbers.

rhizome: "Have you investigated competitors to your current service? Maybe one of them is just as difficult to configure but allows up to 20 numbers."

Yup, this is basically what the question was. I found a couple on my own, but I was wondering if anyone had experience with any in particular. I guess the answer's no.
posted by Plutor at 6:00 AM on November 19, 2010


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