Published July 18, 2006
Volume 14, Number 7

Echopass Expands Partnership with Microsoft
Company first to provide hosting capability for Microsoft CRM 3.0 software

By Scott Eldredge
Special to NETWORK

Echopass Corporation of 5075 Hopyard Road, a provider of hosted call center and contact center solutions, has expanded its partnership with Microsoft Corporation by becoming the first Managed Service Partner providing hosted CRM services for customers of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0.

Microsoft's CRM (customer relationship management) software provides sales, marketing, and customer service modules that integrate easily with its popular Microsoft Office and Outlook. Echopass has integrated the latest version of Microsoft's product with its own EchoSystem™ service integration platform.

The EchoSystem platform combines Echopass services with solutions from the company's strategic partners, which include Genesys, Microsoft, salesforce.com, RightNow Technologies, Sprint-Nextel, and XO Communications. The integration enables Echopass to meet complex CRM/contact center requirements such as inbound call handling combined with CRM-based outbound calling; interactions involving email, chat, and web collaboration; and services that combine interactive voice response with added functionality such as web call-backs and skill-based routing of voicemails and faxes.

In the last few years Echopass has seen an increasing adoption of its hosted or on-demand solutions by larger enterprise customers in areas such as financial services, hospitality, transportation, health/medical, government, and retail, as well as outsourcers.

"Investments in hosted technology allow businesses to adapt and change as their business and customer needs change, " says Vincent Deschamps, Echopass CEO. "Typically, a hosting partner can make modifications in service on the fly, and the customer isn’t faced with scrapping or updating an entire system."

Customers have come to understand the benefits of outsourcing CRM applications and are depending on hosting partners like Echopass to lower their maintenance costs and eliminate major infrastructure expenditures—a compelling alternative to hardware-based call centers that require extensive development, maintenance and system integration. Additionally, the growth of centers employing work-at-home agents, who can be located anywhere, would not be possible without the flexibility made possible by hosted services.

"As an early leader in hosted contact center and CRM solutions, Echopass has seen the demands of enterprise clients evolve," says Deschamps. "Our customers require full integration with their CRM and other back office solutions. That’s why we’ve chosen to support Microsoft CRM as a core component within our EchoSystem. VARs [resellers] looking to offer Microsoft CRM to their customers will work with Echopass to deliver an on-demand call center that is hosted and integrated with telephony for the work-at-home or centrally located call center agent.”

Echopass, a privately held company, was one of the first providers of on-demand, IP-based contact center services, starting in 1998 as part of an outsourcing business in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2000 Echopass became an independent company funded by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories (a division of Alcatel), and two venture capital firms—Canaan Partners and New Enterprise Associates, both of whom have continued to invest in the company. In 2005 the company headquarters moved to Pleasanton. Its network operations center remains in Salt Lake City.


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