Unified communications vendor TouchStar has launched a channel onslaught backed up with $1 million in marketing and incentives funding.

The company, which started life in 1998 as a predictive dialer vendor, has made three acquisitions over the past three years, DigiSoft Computers, Sigmaworx and Data-Tel Info Solutions, which has enabled it to expand its product line and channel.

Brian Smits, global director of Marketing at TouchStar, said the firm has concentrated mainly on the small and midsize business market. "We are now moving up into the enterprise with our new call center system, which will be priced aggressively," he said. "With our acquisitions we have all the technology of the big three in our market—Avaya, Nortel and Cisco—but with more attractive price points, so it is the right time for us to reach out to the channel."

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Smits said TouchStar has a three-tiered channel program and has added more resources to its channel support. "We are backing this up with just under $1 million to stimulate the channel and do things such as joint marketing with partners."

Smits said the vendor is on a recruitment drive for VARs to sell its SMB products: the IP PBX, CallGenX and Unify. Unify is TouchStar’s browser-based unified communications application server, which is installed on-site at the user’s location and supports multiple offices in multiple locations.
The system can also support multiple phone systems and communications devices, and gather information from multiple databases on the back end. Smits admitted that the system does not yet contain a CRM (customer relationship management) element, but he said this was currently underway.

Unify is also a module in the call center system, TouchStar 2008, a new enterprise product. Smits said TouchStar would sell the enterprise product direct to end users in the United States, while its channel focus would be on the SMB sector. "We are not saying VARs in the United States cannot sell the enterprise product, and we only have 20 direct salespeople, so it is very manageable if the channel has enterprise deals."