Star2Star Snags ScanSource Channel Vet, Accelerates Partner Strategy

Last year, Star2Star initiated a new professional relationship with Citrix.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

January 24, 2020

9 Min Read

Star2Star is kicking its channel strategy into high gear by pursuing new channels and creating new opportunities for sales growth.


Star2Star’s Rich Long

Rich Long, previously Alert Logic’s vice president of channels, this week started his new role as Star2Star’s senior vice president of channel development, working through alliances/distributors and larger partnerships. Before Alert Logic, he was ScanSource’s North America president.

In addition, Star2Star hired Mick Miralis, previously with Citrix, as executive vice president of channel sales. He is working with larger MSPs and Citrix service providers who traditionally have never sold a communications/collaboration product. At Citrix, he was director of Citrix service provider sales for the Americas.

Last year, Star2Star initiated a new professional relationship with Citrix as the only Citrix Ready UCaaS partner. This opened up a new channel for partners of both companies to sell Star2Star’s enhanced virtual desktop solution.


Star2Star’s Mick Miralis

Star2Star also announced that its Application Framework and StarPhone for Desktop products are Citrix Ready after passing a series of performance tests.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Long and Miralis talk about their work with Star2Star and their goals for the year ahead. 

Channel Partners: Why did you want to join Star2Star?

We recently compiled a list of 20 top UCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners.

Rich Long: I was looking to return to the communication space and started some dialogue with the leadership team, and really it unfolded pretty fast. I already trusted the product; it’s always had a great reputation for being reliable, and a full and complete portfolio, and the thing that really interested me is Star2Star is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this evolution of communication partnering, this convergence of different partnering models. Star2Star was built from the beginning to cater to multiple different types of models and in particular the models where the partners can play a role in the implementation, the support, the pre- and post-sales delivery — and so it’s kind of the best of both worlds. The partners can participate if they want a resale or wholesale model and still keep the same lines of service business that they had, and the same supporting model to their clients that they are used to, including participating on the billing side, which is really critical. That opportunity for me was really key and the timing was another thing, because there are a couple of different partnering models and communities, and they’re all very strong and powerful, and have their own values. The master agent-agent model is a very powerful engine and we use that partnering model very efficiently, too. We have a lot of agents and we use a couple of master agents to deliver our solution and find new opportunities for us, but we are probably built more, from the beginning, to cater to those resell models where the delivery of the product is still a hosted cloud solution. But the partners can play a role in delivering and implementing the hardware, as well as the service and installation on the back side, and take part in the topline revenue, too, on a resell model.

CP: What’s your role in Star2Star’s channel?

RL: I’m on a mission with some colleagues to …

… go evangelize that story, and while that is a big piece of our business, the resale-wholesale model, there’s a story to be told to a lot of typical UC VARs that have sold more premises-based, IPX-based solutions, and each of them have probably adopted some of the cloud suppliers by now, but are looking to participate in a deeper service role than they are today. So that’s an opportunity we want to capitalize on because we’ve got a really solid story there and I’m excited to amplify that story as part of my role.

CP: What types of partnerships will you be involved in?

RL: It’s not limited to distributors or other alliances like that, but I think that those will be key markets for us to exploit or take advantage of, or put more focus on. I will be working also with the master agents and agents, and trying to help accelerate the effort there, but also using the UC reseller base that we all know and going out to them individually, ones that I know through other alliances and of course, taking part in all the upcoming shows.

CP: What’s the status of the channel strategy/program you’ve been pursuing?

Mick Miralis: There’s a strong strategic relationship between Star2Star and Citrix, and the opportunity arose for me to come over to Star2Star and build this business. I’m now responsible for accelerating our midmarket and enterprise growth from a partner perspective. I’m focused on building a channel team that is laser-focused on identifying those partners and going to market with those partners that are all about the midmarket and enterprise. We’ve already got an existing team, but I’m bringing in some new people with experience in the financial vertical, in the health care vertical and bringing MSPs to market, and our go-to-market approach is engaging with partners and enabling them to develop a go-to-market strategy. We develop a go-to-market plan with our partners around their perspective verticals and … help them go to market from a marketing-demand generation perspective, solution perspective. Our channel reps work directly with those partners all the way through to their end customer to enable and assist them. On the flip side, we are developing an ecosystem of partners that creates new market opportunity for our channel partners. Citrix is an excellent example. Citrix is a phenomenal solution … they’re all about the intelligent workspace and that represents major opportunity for our channel partners who historically may not have sold or engaged in the Citrix or virtual desktop space. So by us partnering with Citrix and working very closely with their development team, we’re taking our integrated communications platform and integrating it all the way through to virtualized applications, and that enables our partners now to go to a higher end of the financial sector or the health care segment, the Fortune 500, they all use Citrix, and that creates new market opportunities for them. So we’re focused on how they market, brand and penetrate those markets, accelerating them, but also delivering value to our strategic partnerships such as Citrix.

CP: What’s at the top of your to-do list?

RL: Aside from getting my calendaring down and booking flights to shows, it’s really doing the outreach to the partners that I know and worked with in the past, and starting to evangelize this story, and by that I mean it’s not a technology story to tell these UC partners in particular; they know UC in and out. It’s a bit different from the story Mick was telling; it’s a big more about …

… how they can participate in the revenue service streams and how deep the product goes, and how wide the portfolio goes. So mine will be very early and often evangelizing this story to the UC partners that I know, and striking new alliances and partnerships.

CP: How will these strategies that you’re pursuing impact Star2Star and give it a competitive advantage?

MM: Let’s frame this in terms of the market. The enterprise market is about 2% – maybe 3% – penetration in terms of the UC solutions. The midmarket is in the range of about 12%, if I remember some data that we’ve looked at. Our solution is a simplified SaaS cloud-based solution, which is all about the enterprise in the midmarket. I think our ability to execute in those markets through the channel partners, and the relationships that we’re currently launching and building will provide us a competitive advantage. When you combine our technology set with our retention rate and customer satisfaction, and the channel model that we provide to our channel partners in terms of revenue growth margin and value proposition relative to their end customers, I think we have a distinct competitive advantage relative to our competition.

Today, we’re growing in the high 20-30% range and this is all about accelerating into market space that we’re already in, but putting on the throttle and going from second gear to third or fourth gear. It allows us to claim that much broader market and it takes us more aggressively into verticals that we’ve already been in; we just haven’t tapped them aggressively as much as we can. We’ve got a distinct advantage, and all it really means is accelerated growth for both our channel partners and the programs were putting in place with them, and of course, expanding our business.

RL:  One thing to add would be around the flexibility of the partnering models and then the second thing would be around the actual support and enablement of those partners … how we get them trained, how we work with them on delivering and creating leads and demand, and then are side by side with them through the whole implementation process to get our partners up and going. I’ve really not seen anything quite like it, so that’s another distinction we have.

CP: What do you hope to have accomplished by the end of this year?

RL: We will add partners this year, no doubt. We will build partnerships and strike more alliances, and will add to the partner portfolio. But we’ve got a great opportunity with the hundreds of partners that we already have to go in and amplify and continue to grow our enablement with them, and we’re looking forward to rekindling some of those partnerships and really amplifying those. There’s a big market out there and there are a lot of partners that are already doing communications business and they need to hear this story.

MM: I want to expand the ecosystem of partners that we have beyond not only our channel partners, but also expand our relationships with some key technology partners in the areas of IoT and integration, and AI. Obviously, we want to continue expanding what’s happening in the virtual desktop space. It’s important because it creates incrementally more value for our customers [and] it creates more market opportunity for our channel partners.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like