Testing, Testing, Testing . . . and password reset requests:

In 1915, in his General Theory of Relativity, Einstein basically said that the combined speed of an object's motion through space and time is always exactly equal to the speed of light. In other words, as you travel faster, time "slows down" for you. At the speed of light, time stops.

In 1971, Haefele and Keating flew caesium beam atomic clocks around the world on a commercial jet. When they compared the clocks to identical stationary clocks on the ground, they found that less time had elapsed on the flying clocks - precisely in accordance with Einstein's discoveries from 56 years earlier! Yes, it took that long, and there was a hell of a lot of testing in - between.

There's an important analogy here: In software development, as in quantum physics, theories are wonderful and can be very exciting, but it is only through the rigors of testing that we can determine the facts and capabilities of our product. How much testing have you done on your latest creation? When I was involved in a jointly - funded banking middleware project with Microsoft, I spent several weeks at their testing labs, "learning the ropes." I can tell you categorically that it was a real eye-opener. The staff there is incredibly knowledgeable and professional.

In the most recent MS TechNet Flash newsletter, there is an interesting blurb about password reset requests. I quote:

Help Desk Institute:
Nearly 30 percent of help-desk calls are password related. They are time-consuming for the help desk and thus extremely costly to the company in lost productivity.

Password resets are the second most common reason workers call help desks, accounting for about one in four help desk requests.
At an average cost of $22 per call, that adds up fast, especially for large-scale and midsize organizations.

Giga Information Group:
Consider that each call to the help desk to reset a user's password costs an average of US$15 to $20 and takes an average of 10 minutes. Implementing a speech-enabled, self-service password reset application reduces the cost per call to less than $0.50 and reduces the time needed to complete the call to less than one minute.
Enterprises with more than 5,000 employees most likely will earn a favorable return on their investment in IVR and voice authentication in less than six months.
Consider this scenario: If your support organization (supporting around 20,000 employees) receives an average of 3,000 calls per month, 30 percent of 3,000 is 900 calls per month or 10,800 per year just on password resets. With each password reset incident costing the company $32.50 to $57.50, the yearly grand total is $351,000 to $621,000 for forgotten password requests.

You can learn more about speech-enabled password reset applications for Microsoft Speech Server and test out demo applications here