StarBlue, the combination of Star2Star Communications and Blueface, offers UC platforms in two flavors: StarCloud and StarCloud+.
The former is strictly cloud-based while the latter combines cloud and hybrid capabilities, and offers voice-optimized SD-WAN devices for the network edge. Of course, that is a simplified overview of everything each version features, due in part to the wide range of needs StarBlue can meet. StarBlue tailors its options to fit a variety of enterprises, from those with few employees to those with many across the globe. The vendor knows that every enterprise is unique, and accommodates this reality through custom deployments. Further, thanks to the 2018 merger with Dublin-based UCaaS provider Blueface, StarBlue (which was Star2Star) now serves four major world regions.
StarBlue seeks to help end users make the most of their existing line-of-business applications while future-proofing their UC technology as much as possible. To that point, it will integrate those applications with its platform so the enterprise makes the most of all workflows – think email, calendaring, customer relationship management and so on. And while this report does not explore technical aspects of UC too deeply, analysts are taken with StarBlue’s automatic bursting capabilities. Say an enterprise has 20 people but only wants to pay for 10 voice paths because rarely will all employees be on the phone at once. However, for those atypical instances when everyone is on a call at the same time, StarBlue’s technology allows the user to temporarily go above its plan threshold. The enterprise pays an overage fee but that still costs less than paying for 20 voice paths all the time. Such flexibility is critical in a UC platform.
Importantly, StarBlue only sells through channel partners. Therefore, if its solutions appeal to an enterprise, the telecom/mobility/IT management group must reach out for the names of resellers, managed services providers or other partners who sell StarBlue solutions. While that may seem a little daunting at first, consider that StarBlue provides its partners’ customers – read: enterprises – with a one-stop-shop UC solution, meaning that the enterprise will not have to source multiple providers.
With StarBlue’s help, channel partners offer the consultation and expertise vital to assessing an end users’ needs, then they customize the StarBlue platform around those requirements. As one example, if a business wants UC to act as a contact center as well, StarBlue obliges. This flexibility is key to helping enterprises use UC to achieve strategic objectives such as increasing customer satisfaction and, as a result, revenue. StarBlue handles all provisioning and calls on its partner and professional services divisions, as well as technical support teams, as necessary.
Another StarBlue differentiator relates to its emphasis on metrics. Deploying technology makes little sense, or return on investment, if not done with complete understanding of what a business stands to gain. Knowing this, StarBlue r’s UC platforms offer a variety of analytics that give enterprises the essential data for showing the value of the UC solution to executives and other leaders. AOTMP Research, which for years has touted the importance of KPIs for proving technology’s worth, applauds this focus.
Perhaps one of the best illustrations of StarBlue’s ability to help enterprises solve business problems comes in the form of a customer case study. A very large national retailer with more than 14,000 locations was relying on old POTS lines, and many rural locations struggled with voice quality. In addition, the retailer was spending millions of dollars every year on long-distance calling and struggling to keep track of all stores’ billing. StarBlue addressed each area of concern. It standardized the company’s equipment, optimized voice paths through traffic prioritization, crafted free on-network calling through the UC system and streamlined billing into one invoice. As a result, the retailer saved more than $10 million in the first year.
StarBlue says end users maintain their contracts for seven to nine years, on average. AOTMP Research sees that as evidence of StarBlue’s proficiency and attention to quality. Overall, analysts view StarBlue as a key player in the unified communications sector, and one enterprises should consider.
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