NetStar buys Convergent vision

NetStar has acquired Brisbane-based Convergent Communications for an undisclosed sum in an effort to position itself at the forefront of integrated voice and data network channel which it currently sees as being muddied.

Kent Brooks, NetStar's managing director, said folding Convergent "into the NetStar family" would add "tens of millions of dollars" to NetStar's turnover and a raft of new customer opportunities. He would divulge no more financial details about the deal between the two privately owned integration companies.

Brooks said true solutions involving converged voice and data networks were mainly just a "pipe dream" with the "marketing hype touted by vendors" not being matched by a channel with the necessary skills to deliver on the promise.

"Certain vendors may wish voice and data convergence [to] occur dramatically overnight but it ain't going to happen that way," Brooks said. "It is going to be an evolution, not a revolution."

Marrying Convergent's voice network solutions heritage with NetStar's data-based core competencies represented "obvious synergies", according to Brooks.

"The channel as the vendors had it was not ready to go out and start talking about the convergence of voice and data because [the channel] just didn't have the expertise to do it," he said. "We tried some experiments by bringing in some [specialist] voice people but it was not nearly enough.

"The only way we were going to crack this was to bring a whole raft of voice expertise in and approach the solutions from the voice angle."

Convergent Communications has built a strong services-based revenue stream from its new age convergent computer telephony integration work as well as holding a strong traditional PABX and call centre voice solutions background.

Having started in Brisbane, it has now created a Sydney presence based at NetStar's North Ryde premises. Brooks said all staff from Convergent were retained after the acquisition.

Convergent's managing director, Bruce Kirchner, stays on as head of the organisation which, according to Brooks, will retain its name "for at least 12 months". Kirchner becomes general manager of the Convergent division of NetStar.

Brooks was extremely optimistic about the early successes of bids under the new structure, saying NetStar had landed several deals with what he claims to be a unique proposition.

"The partnership has already yielded great benefits with numerous successful bids which neither party could have won separately," he said. "A single point of contact for both data and voice with the level of specialist expertise we can now offer is unique in the market."