Shortly after the company was started, OCC began work on its first software project. The ONCE (One-call Notification Center for Excavation) System was completed in time for the award of three additional one-call center contracts. ONCE was written to run on Data General’s pioneering line of 32-bit mainframe computers and made extensive use of key-accessed databases.
Among the unique features that were available to call centers using ONCE was its advanced communications software. ONCE took advantage of the then-emerging technology of dial-up data transmission. Sending tickets via “dial-up” created substantial savings in communications costs for OCC customers. ONCE sent tickets through the public telephone system instead of the then more commonly used and comparatively far more expensive private line networks employed by most one-call centers.
By 1987, OCC had established its own Systems Division. A staff of several programmers, some of who had written the ONCE system, performed a variety of tasks. Among them were performing remedial work, implementing bug fixes and developing new code. Perhaps their most important task was to perform the necessary modifications and customizations to prepare ONCE for installation in new states.