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Star Solutions: A Hugely Compelling Proposition Across Technology, Marketing, and Data

Star Solutions: A Hugely Compelling Proposition Across Technology, Marketing, and Data Kareem Qureshi, MD & Sharada Balagopalan, Managing Partner “Amidst contrasting trends in the CRM market, Star Solutions comes under the spotlight with its unique amalgamation of technology, marketing, and data.” The market for CRM is growing ever rapidly with a greater need for sophistication and attention to detail. The CRM vendor landscape has many different players competing for share of wallet. Technology companies providing CRM solutions do not necessarily have marketing, loyalty, data or analytic skills. Similarly, advertising companies offering CRM solutions do not always meet technology, data and analytic requirements. Consulting firms that are great with strategy and process don’t always have in-house CRM software solutions in place. Amidst such contrasting trends, Star Solutions comes under the spotlight with its cutting-edge proposition across technology, marketing, and data. Thus, landing them a place as one of the Top 25 CRM specialists in Asia-Pacific. “At Star Solutions, our DNA combines marketing, data, and technology. We bring this full skill set under one roof!” says Kareem Qureshi, Founder and Managing Director of Star Solutions. Kareem, “a technology guru” in the CRM industry along with Sharada Balagopalan, “a marketing guru,” who is also the co-founder and Managing Partner of Star Solutions strengthen the company with their 48 years of combined experience across technology, data, loyalty and analytics. At the heart of their proposition is STARDriver® CRM software, fully powered by Oracle. STARDriver® CRM software offers modules for multi-channel campaign management, loyalty management, mobile apps, help desk, outbound telemarketing and sales management. The proposition is further strengthened by offering complementary services in loyalty management, data and analytics and telemarketing services. Star Solutions has worked with over 30 blue-chip clients and has an 18- year proven track recording helping large global and local companies to acquire, retain, grow and win-back their customers. “Ultimately, the success of our business comes down to our people. Recognizing our team and saying thank you is very important to us,” says Kareem, highlighting the informal, fun, and slightly geeky work culture which is the backbone of Star Solutions. The company has innovative initiatives such as, “Pat My Back” to recognize employees for their contributions. In addition, the company also provides great benefits to its employees such as free breakfast and lunch, medical insurance and travel perks, amongst a few. “We have an amazing team from the 3 worlds of marketing, data and technology, all coming from diverse backgrounds and cultures. As a diverse group of individuals, we ALL share ONE common ambition: and that is our passion for achieving results for our Clients and making a difference to their business.” says Sharada. The company is not award-centric. Instead, their driving force is the value they generate for their Clients and the Client testimonials they receive. One such client, a large FMCG company—that has over 50,000 retailers and 400 sales personnel on ground, needed a means to troubleshoot retail issues on the ground, to the right people at the right time, driving rapid closure of issues. Star Solutions implemented a synthesis of STARDriver® CRM Engine with the former to report ground issues and the latter to process large chunks of data. STARDriver® Dashboard governed the entire operation by tracking and highlighting key statistics in real time. The results were exactly what the client wanted: significant reduction in on-ground retail issues. In another instance, for another client, (an American multinational conglomerate) Star Solutions have put together three of its innovative CRM solutions to construct a ROI-generating loyalty platform that will aggregate and report real-time statistics from six different APAC markets the client operates in. Any business’s success can be calculated based on the degree of satisfaction of its clients, and Sharada puts forth a bold proposition—the firm’s clients will vouch for its work. Just a quick glance at its clientele which comprises of names such as Japan Tobacco International, Heineken, Shell, Maxis, Juniper Networks, Telekom Malaysia, Astro, CIMB, Malaysian Institute of Accountants amongst others.But, an enviable clientele is not something that puts the brakes on the innovation wheel at Star Solutions. “We will be extending our expertise in the areas of marketing automation, big data, and machine learning, continually making our clients’ customer interactions as sophisticated as possible,” concludes Kareem.

CRM Software UK

Star Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd honored as CRM Cloud Vendor of the Year at the 2018 Malaysia Excellence Awards

Star Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd honored as CRM Cloud Vendor of the Year at the 2018 Malaysia Excellence Awards KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug. 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Star Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd was named the CRM Cloud Vendor of the Year at the annual Frost & Sullivan Malaysia Excellence Awards banquet, held at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur on 26 June. Mr. Nishchal Khorana, Director, Digital Transformation, Frost & Sullivan noted that the company has continually focused on meeting the unmet needs of large Malaysian SMEs and enterprises by offering a broader set of functionalities as well as a richer set of CRM software modules and services compared to local CRM players. This has led to it helping to drive significant business growth in the process whilst providing value for its clients and partners. “Star Solutions is focusing on addressing the needs of Malaysian enterprise and SMEs through its proprietary CRM engine that provides a broad spectrum of traditional functionalities and also leverages new, emerging technologies like Blockchain. The company demonstrated emphasis on quality deliverables and customer centricity. Star Solution’s product innovation focus and marketing initiatives have enabled it to continuously grow impressively,” he added. “We are extremely proud to be presented with the 2018 Frost & Sullivan Malaysia CRM Cloud Vendor of the Year award. Ultimately, regardless of what industry you’re in, it all boils down to the relationship with your customers and how you manage it. We have 12 cutting-edge products and services designed to do just that. Our CRM software and services give our Clients all the ammunition they need to engage with their customers efficiently and effectively. We are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology to make our solutions more intelligent and sophisticated in terms of interaction and engagement with customers. We are currently in the process of enhancing some of our solutions using AI and blockchain technology…we are very excited about this. Watch this space!” said Kareem Qureshi, Managing Director at Star Solutions. The recipients of the annual Frost & Sullivan Malaysia Excellence Awards were identified based on an in-depth research conducted by Frost & Sullivan’s analysts. The award categories offered each year are carefully reviewed and evaluated to reflect the current market landscape and include new emerging trends. The short-listed companies were evaluated on a variety of actual market performance indicators which include revenue growth; market share and growth in market share; leadership in product innovation; marketing strategy and business development strategy. About Frost & Sullivan Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants.  For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organization prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies? About Star Solutions (Known as Star CRM from the 1st of August 2018) Star Solutions is a leading provider of CRM software and services in the Asia-Pacific region with a 20-year proven track record in helping large global and local companies to implement CRM platforms. We have cutting-edge CRM software solutions to manage sales, marketing, loyalty, customer service, outbound telemarketing complemented by services across loyalty, data, analytics, digital marketing and telemarketing. Our powerful hybrid combination of CRM software and services provides our Clients with all the ammunition they need to engage with their customers efficiently and effectively. Our Client portfolio includes Japan Tobacco International, Shell, Honeywell, Pfizer, Dutch Lady, Malaysia Institute of Accountants, Axa Insurance, iFast Financial Services, Juniper Networks, Maxis, Astro, CIMB, Telekom Malaysia, Microsoft, Maybank, RHB, DHL, Kurnia Insurans, Fonterra, P&G, Ritz-Carlton, Pan-Pacific Hotels, Lexus, Palm, Philips, FedEx, Adobe, Petronas, Malaysia Airlines, MASKargo, OctaFX and Trade 12. Moving forward, Star Solutions will be known as Star CRM from the 1st of August 2018. Related Links SOURCE Frost & Sullivan

CRM Software UK

Star CRM moves from AWS to OCI, scales new markets, while improving developer productivity by 40%

Star CRM moves from AWS to OCI, scales new markets, while improving developer productivity by 40% “Oracle APEX on OCI has allowed us to reduce development time and costs. This has increased our development team’s productivity by 40%.” Kareem Qureshi, Founder and CEO, Star CRM The Star CRM team is comprised of 30 passionate, talented, results-oriented individuals from three diverse worlds—technology, marketing, and data brought together for a singular aim of delivering world-class CRM software and services at a fair and reasonable price. Named the Best CRM Cloud Vendor in 2018 by Frost & Sullivan in Malaysia, the company ranked as one of the top 25 most promising CRM vendors in Asia-Pacific by CIO Outlook Magazine. Among others, Star CRM’s client portfolio includes but is not limited to Pfizer, AXA, Japan Tobacco International, Honeywell, CIMB, Telekom Malaysia, Microsoft, DHL, Fonterra, P&G, Ritz-Carlton, and more. Initially focused solely on enterprise clients, over the last five years, Star CRM’s target market has evolved to include small businesses and SME customers, leading to the need for rapid solution scaling and availability—motivating their move to the cloud. Also, Star CRM realized that it would be challenging to deliver and sustain its solutions for this new market without a cost-effective cloud. Previously hosted on AWS, Star CRM faced several challenges around database management, performance, cloud provider support, and licensing complexity, impacting both resources and productivity. Eventually, migrating fully onto OCI resulted in 30% in productivity gains and cost savings of over 25%, among other benefits. The Move to OCI Star CRM solutions caters to enterprise and SME customers, with options for both customization and ready plug-and-play deployment. Their SaaS offerings are 70% out-of-the-box, requiring only 30% customization and configuration, which means short lead times for go-lives. Star CRM choose to migrate their entire suite of CRM solutions to create development and deployment efficiencies by overcoming following challenges: Database Management: The manual configuration and maintenance of essential functions such as back-ups on AWS proved to be administratively taxing and expensive. Along with databases replication limitations for development and UAT environments. This limitation further hindered the software development process due to complicated set-up of development, test and UAT environments. Causing development delays and increasing workload for Star CRM’s DBA team to set-up and manage these environments. Performance: Lack of ability to autoscale memory and CPU for peak periods on AWS created performance issues. Cloud provider support: Support on AWS cloud was limited to a standard ticketing and with no access to Star CRM’s database environment, meant slower and delayed resolutions. Licensing: Primary due confusing AWS licensing model and because of the way licensing works on third-party cloud providers, Star CRM was unable to scale its hardware without changing the licensing and was stuck with a maximum instance size and RAM size. The licensing policy on AWS wasn’t favorable for the business as it created administrative overheads and not sustainable for their SaaS offerings. The Suite of Oracle Products Used Star CRM’s entire suite of CRM software solutions known as STARDriver® is developed on Oracle APEX. The following list includes the OCI services that Star CRM have used in their deployment: Oracle Object Storage: OCI Object Storage service enables Star CRM to securely store any type of data in its native format. With built-in redundancy, Object Storage is ideal for building applications that require scale and flexibility. The service can consolidate multiple data sources for analytics, backup, or archive purposes. Star CRM is efficiently utilizing this service to back up all environments, including images of each virtual machine (VM). Compute Service: Oracle offers secure and elastic compute options in the cloud that range from flexible virtual machines (flex VMs) and bare metal servers at a lower cost. Customers can choose processors from Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, and Arm. Star CRM’s cloud deployment used AMD E3, E4, and E2 processors. Oracle Cloud Compute: OCI provides fast, flexible, and affordable compute capacity to fit any workload need from performant bare metal servers and virtual machines (VMs) to lightweight containers. OCI Compute provides uniquely flexible VM and bare metal instances for optimal price-performance. Oracle Database Services: Oracle Database Service has enabled Star CRM IT team to create and manage full-featured Oracle Database instances in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). the IT team was able to provision databases on virtual machines with block storage volumes providing cost-efficient cloud database services. Block Volumes: Star CRM utilized highly reliable, performant block volume storage from Oracle. With built-in redundancy, Block Volumes are persistent and durable beyond the lifespan of a virtual machine and can scale to 1 PB per Compute instance. Block Volumes were perfect for the Star CRM use case because it let them expand and scale storage while offering persistent and durable storage. Star CRM uses Block Volume Standard with up to 25K IOPS for web servers and applications servers and Block Volume Higher Performance with up to 50K IOPS for database servers. Oracle Email Delivery: helps Star CRM reach their customers and users with ability to send bulk email with high rates of successful inbox placement. Virtual cloud network (VCN): Star CRM uses a virtual private network (VPN) that is set up in Oracle data centers. It closely resembles a traditional network with firewall rules and specific types of communication gateways that Star CRM has chosen to use. OCI Cloud Guard: Oracle Cloud Guard helps Star CRM to detects misconfigured resources and insecure activity across tenants and provides security administrators with the visibility to triage and resolve cloud security issues. Oracle APEX: Star CRM team has developed entire stack of CRM application in less time and with minimal coding, reducing costs on Oracle APEX. The self-service database provisioning and automated lifecycle management allowed developers to easily deploy and manage databases. Migration Path The Star CRM team spent 3 months on a POC before feeling confident to migrate their production environment. Star CRM started by migrating one of their development environments to a VM Database instance with the goal of testing specific functionality relating connectivity with external systems. Star CRM development

CRM Software UK

Star CRM lifts productivity by 40% and reduces costs by 30%

Star CRM lifts productivity by 40% and reduces costs by 30% The Singapore-based CRM solution provider solves its cloud infrastructure woes and cuts costs by 30% with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Oracle APEX. “In terms of cost, we’ve definitely noticed savings of anywhere between 25% to 30% without any impact on speed or performance moving Oracle APEX to Oracle Database Cloud.” Sharada Qureshi, COO, Star CRM Business challenges Star CRM, a leading provider of CRM software and services in the Asia Pacific region, has 14 different products and services across sales management, customer service, contact center, campaign management, analytics, loyalty management, and employee engagement. All of them help its clients create and deliver superior customer engagements. Headquartered in Singapore, the company was initially focused solely on enterprise clients. However, about five years ago, it started targeting SMEs and now intends to scale that business very rapidly in the next 24 months. Star CRM realized that without a cost-effective cloud it’s very difficult to deliver its solutions to smaller clients. Hence, the company moved its workloads from local data centers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Amazon EC2. However, the company discovered that it was very confusing for clients to understand the entire licensing model on AWS. Besides, because of the way licensing works on third-party cloud providers, Star CRM was unable to scale its hardware without changing the licensing, and was stuck with a maximum instance size and RAM size. When it comes to maintenance like software upgrades and patching, performance monitoring, and ensuring secure configurations and management of SSL certificates, the company needed specialized database administrators, a skill that was becoming difficult for Star CRM to attract and retain. As an alternative to AWS, the company tried Oracle and APEX on managed third-party APEX hosting providers. While these had the advantage of not requiring DBA skills, they had several limitations and were not very cost-effective. Once these services were scaled, the price was very hard to justify. Star CRM had to make sure that its cloud infrastructure costs did not go through the roof. It quickly needed a solution to address the ability to scale. “Oracle APEX on OCI has allowed us to reduce development time and costs. This has increased our development team’s productivity by 40%.” Kareem Qureshi, Founder and CEO, Star CRM Why Star CRM Chose Oracle Star CRM moved its APEX workloads on-premises to Oracle Database Cloud Service on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), to have the latest APEX and ORDS installed, managed, and upgraded by Oracle. Because the service is patched and upgraded automatically by Oracle, and the installation is configured securely and is optimized for performance, Star CRM had confidence in its decision to migrate to OCI. Another reason Star CRM turned to OCI was the autonomous database as another deployment option for Oracle APEX, and its ability to autoscale CPU and memory depending on load. Results Moving to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has enabled Star CRM to save 25% to 30% in costs without any impact on speed or the performance of its solutions. It has eliminated many business issues associated with licensing and scalability on AWS and third-party APEX hosting providers. Also, the company has saved about 30% in costs associated with monitoring, patching, upgrading, and managing the database. The features and functionalities provided by Oracle APEX on OCI have allowed Star CRM to complete more complex projects for clients, besides reducing development time and costs. This has increased the development team’s productivity by as much as 40%. Star CRM has also been able to simplify the annual testing of BCP capabilities for its clients because Oracle Database can be cloned easily across regions. The company is now able to provide a level of performance with scalable costs. It pays for additional CPU only when needed.

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