ASP Specializing in Customer Service Applications

PLEASANTON, CALIF. (04/12/2000) - Startup eConvergent is offering customer relationship management (CRM) services designed to help companies adopt e-mail management, Web collaboration and voice-over-IP technologies more quickly and easily than they could on their own.

The application service provider's offerings are based on software from Octane Software, E.piphany Inc., Kana Communications, Interactive Intelligence and Webline Communications, an e-commerce company acquired by Cisco Systems Inc..

The services are offered in such a way that customers can pick and choose among the applications.

According to Aberdeen Group Inc., a consultancy in Boston, eConvergent maintains a round-the-clock network operation center in Pleasanton, California, with back-up and disaster recovery systems. EConvergent is said to have installed more than $2 million in equipment, with 20 dedicated employees to test and deploy product combinations for its customers.

Active.com, a recreational sports portal used by sports administrators at universities, parks and private clubs to organize events, is signing on with eConvergent to do a better job of answering questions about events or credit card payments from its Web site visitors.

"In a few weeks, our customer representatives will be able to do 'cobrowsing' with a customer, to guide them on the Web site, and all the interaction will be recorded in our customer database at eConvergent," says Matt McAdams, chief product officer at Active.com.

The eConvergent three-tiered pricing plan starts with a $95,000 setup charge and a cost of $1,000 per agent seat if the e-business is limited to e-mail and Web collaboration. For a $150,000 fee, the online business could venture into IP telephony communications with customers.

The CRM software industry is changing rapidly, with many vendors buying competitors to gain new capabilities or customers. A good example is E.piphany, which sells the E.4 System data repository used for data mining of enterprise resource planning systems. In January, E.piphany bought RightPoint for its Web personalization software. E.piphany is also in the process of buying Octane.

Although in the past you would have needed a systems integrator to get the E.piphany and RightPoint products to work together, E.piphany says it has now merged the two into a $250,000 package called E.piphany Realtime Personalization, running on Windows NT or Solaris.

CRM vendors are also striving to extend their software, as Q-Link Technologies has done by adding an auto- response and real-time chat module to its CRM software suite. The Java-based software, which starts at $75,000, was originally designed to route Web forms or customer e-mail through the corporate intranet in a workflow process.

EConvergent: www.econvergent.com.

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