Innovation: Ready for the number crunch

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The Independent Online
FACED with the chore of changing all the telephone numbers in its databases in preparation for Phoneday, the telemarketing company Printware has devised an automatic number conversion program, writes Nuala Moran.

In case the advertising blitz has passed you by, all dialling codes in the UK have changed, and from 16 April next year the previous codes will no longer function.

The change has been sold as a simple matter of putting a 1 after the 0 of the area code. In reality some cities, including Sheffield, Leeds and Bristol, have completely new codes, and international numbers have changed from 010 to 00. Mobile phone numbers and 79 special telephone services, such as Freefone and information lines, stay the same.

'We manage a number of telemarketing databases and realised there was no way in which we could even hope to manually change all the numbers we store,' said Kevin Jones, managing director of Printware in Southsea.

The company is now selling its Phoneday software package for pounds 199.

Phoneday can process 1,000 records per second and is compatible with popular database systems such as Dbase, Paradox, Access, Clipper and Telemagic.

It will clean up databases by listing invalid numbers. This will help companies that never caught up with the last code change, when London prefixes became 071 and 081.