S tar2Star didn’t waste any time responding to the situation, transitioning to a remote work- force in early March and com- pleting the process within just 24-hours. The company is still operating remotely, except for a small on-site shipping and distribution team which is adhering to strict social distancing guidelines as rec- ommended by the CDC. “Our number one priority throughout COVID-19 has been ensuring every- one’s safety and well-being,” explained Star2Star chief marketing officer David Portnowitz. “At the same time, we are committed to helping our employees and partners adjust to the process of working from home.” After the migration was complete, Star2Star hit the ground running by ex- panding its remote work solution and announcing special cost reductions and incentives to help customers and partners cope with COVID-19. Thanks to Star2Star’s new and enhanced cloud communication capability, customers can access numerous communications chan- nels — including mobile apps, desktop softphones, chat messaging, and busi- ness SMS — through the cloud, and at a reduced price. New customers also can receive $10,000 toward their system to cover early termination fees with other providers and up to five months of free service, as well as free business phones. Payment deferment programs are now available for current customers in certain industries. Star2Star is also helping customers establish remote workspaces and providing free con- cierge services. “We have really been very flexible about keeping our customers up and running,” Portnowitz continued. “We certainly don’t want to shut off any service, and we haven’t had to. We’ll give our customers all of the options necessary.” Of course, with every crisis comes an opportunity. For many companies, COVID-19 has served as a catalyst for accelerating digital transformation, and Star2Star was well prepared to step in and help. In April, Star2Star released four new bundled offerings that enable both digital transformation and remote work. They included the Professional bundle with end-to-end business essen- tials for SMEs, the Collaboration bundle with enhanced collaboration tools and digital fax support, the Customer Ser- vice bundle with tools such as CRM integration and service insight solu- tions, and the Contact Center bundle for enhanced contact center capabilities. “Our team spent the last year look- ing at what’s in the industry, evaluating what our competitors are doing and an- alyzing how the marketplace is shaping up,” Portnowitz said. “We’ve also been listening to our partners and customers to determine what they are looking for, and what they really want. All of that planning went into the new bundles that we released this spring.” One of the biggest selling points for Star2Star’s new bundled offerings are the low prices. “Our bundles are in some cases up to 220 percent less expensive than our competitors like RingCentral and 8x8, and you’re basically getting the same features,” Portnowitz said. It’s a new era at Star2Star, with the company moving deeper into re- mote collaboration. Take a look at its logo, and you’ll see that Star2Star has dropped the “Communications” tag from its name. Yet, while Star2Star may be changing its strategy slightly, customers and partners can still ex- pect the same level of support and commitment to excellence. “We feel like we’re a bit more than just a communications company,” Portnowitz concluded. “We’re really a full-fledged, enterprise-grade, cloud- native collaboration company. Anything you want to do to collaborate, com- municate and keep in touch with your customers, you can do using Star2Star. Plus, we’re the only UCaaS company that’s Citrix ready. Our products are application agnostic, highly flexible and adaptable to any environment.” o Star2Star has managed to remain stable throughout the pandemic, thanks to timely decision making, customer- and partner-centric policies and flexible new product bundles By Gerald Baldino CHANNEL MANAGEMENT Star2StarTakes Swift Action in Face of Pandemic 40 CHANNEL VISION | July - August, 2020